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Twelve year old Christina is sent to live with her uncle and his two sons in the decaying country house, Flambards. Her uncle dominates the household with his sudden rages and callous cruelty, and her cousins Mark and Will could not be more different. Christina finds in stable-lad Dick a sympathetic friend to help steer her through the emotional undercurrents and discord which divide the Russell household. This is the first of four Flambards novels which are being reissued in the Oxford Children's Modern Classics series. It has been a best-seller since it first appeared in 1967, and has been successfully televised. This book is intended for age: 11+show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 208 pages
  • 130 x 210mm | 305g
  • Oxford University Press
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • New edition
  • New edition
  • 0192717839
  • 9780192717832

Review Text

Take an orphan of twelve with no present but great future expectations; inject her into a distantly related, declining household (as an infusion of new funds?); offer her two antithetical cousins, brazen Mark and shrinking Will; overwhelm them all with crippled Uncle Russell and his passion for horses and hunting. What you have is an irresistible if hardly novel mise en scene; what follows is often surprising. Will has a passion of his own, for airplanes and flying (events span 1908-12), and his resolve matches his father's: to escape the hated (and feared) horseback riding, he prevents his injured leg from healing properly and gets to be left largely alone. Christina sympathizes, meanwhile discovers to her astonishment that she has the family predilection for riding; she also senses acutely the contrast between the quiet and order in the stables, the chaotic slovenliness in the house. Equally an attractant is groom Dick, whose tight lips only once reveal his affection. Whereas Mark goes from bad to worse, finally banishing Dick (and dooming his dependent family) for helping Christina save a favorite horse from being sold as dog food. Meanwhile Will has become a man in his own way, and a man of the future; in a very funny finale he pilots a recalcitrant plane into a steeplechase crowd, creating havoc and infuriating Mark and his father, then carries Christina off to London in a purring, powerful Rolls. It's easy to be patronizing about this, impossible to put it down - as a girl-getter it has everything going for it. (Kirkus Reviews)show more