This summer I have re-read some of my all-time favourite children's books to discover whether I enjoy them just as much decades later. After the epic The Letter to the King by Tonke Dragt, I revisited my love for Enid Blyton by reading one of the St. Clare's novels for the Nostalgic Summer Re-Read challenge. This review was originally published here on Novelicious.
When I was about six years old I received what is still one of the best presents I've ever had: my mum's old Enid Blyton collection. It consisted of the St. Clare's books, Malory Towers, and a small selection of Famous Five, Five Find-Outers, and Adventure-series titles. From that moment onwards I was hooked on reading and for nearly 10 years I re-read at least the boarding school series several times a year. I also started to expand upon my collection of Enid Blyton titles at every possible flea market and second-hand bookshop occasion, and there were a lot of these during my childhood as I'm now the proud owner of several hundreds of her books; all the old versions that were translated into Dutch, with some titles in different languages too, and all still stored at my parents' place in the Netherlands – sorry mum!
Despite my obsession with the St. Clare's books in particular, and Enid Blyton in general as I read every possible book on her I could find (this was before the Internet existed) – I was mighty impressed by not only the wealth of books she wrote but also all her other ventures including producing a club magazine, writing short stories and doing a lot of good for children – I haven't actually read any of her books in about 15 years. So when the Novelicious Nostalgic Summer Re-Read was announced I knew it was the perfect opportunity to revisit one of my favourites.
Unfortunately I don't have access to my vast Enid Blyton collection here in the UK and I've just moved house so don't have a card to the local library yet either but, coincidentally enough, a few months ago I won a small Enid Blyton book collection and one of the titles included was The O'Sullivan Twins, the second St. Clare's title. I did contemplate for a bit if I should try to get my hands on the first book somehow first, especially as I hadn't read these stories in English before and so thought that with different character names I might get confused, but I tried a chapter and I needn't have worried, it felt as familiar as if I last read the books 15 weeks ago, and not 15 years!