A Blindefellows Chronicle by Auriel Roe #BookReview #BlogTour

 At midday on 31st August, Sedgewick, the new history master, arrives at Blindefellows, former charity school for poor, blind boys, now a second division private school for anyone who can pay. The naive newcomer is quickly taken under the wing of the rumbustious, philandering Japes, master of physics, who soon becomes something of a mentor, though not in an academic sense. A Blindefellows Chronicle follows the adventures of Sedgewick, Japes and a handful of other unmarried faculty at an obscure West Country boarding school including the closeted headmaster, Reverend Hareton, stalwart Matron Ridgeway and loathsome librarian, Fairchild.

It's my pleasure to be hosting the blog tour for A Blindefellows Chronicle by Auriel Roe today. Many thanks to the author and to Anne Cater of Random Things Tours for inviting me and for my ecopy of the novel.
A Blindefellows Chronicle begins in 1974 with the arrival of a new history master, Charles Sedgewick. He is joining a venerable old institution - Blindefellows School was formed in 1584 as a charitable institution for blind boys before converting to a public school in the 1900s. By the 1970s, it is something of an anachronism, a male-only environment which is struggling to attract pupils particularly in the rise of modern comprehensives.
The book follows the changes that occur in Blindefellows over the next thirty years and takes the form of separate short stories that are linked by the school setting and the staff that work in it. So it is that we follow the adventures of the rather staid but honourable Sedgewick, his mentor, great friend and inveterate philanderer, Japes, Bunny Hareton, the headmaster and Marion Ridgeway who creates quite a furore as the first woman permitted into the hallowed Oak Room.
A library siege, cheese-making, an environmental protest, school plays, accidental proposals, petty feuds and sweet little victories ensue in this charming book. Although obviously set in a different era, it reminded me a little of Goodbye, Mr Chips as it depicts the changes that occur in a minor public school during Sedgewick's time teaching there. Sedgewick isn't the novel's sole main character however, and in some of the escapades plays a far lesser role. The passage of time also means there are some surprisingly moving, poignant moments but it never becomes maudlin and the humour is retained throughout. There's something delightfully Wodehousian about A Blindefellows Chronicle, with its unlikely comic situations and eccentric cast of characters. There may not be a pig but there are the Blindefellows sheep - the unfortunately piano-toothed West Country Pygmy Bearded Blacks who have roamed the grounds for generations.
 A Blindefellows Chronicle is an assured debut, it is a gently subversive, affectionate and witty book, that will appeal to anybody raised on boarding school stories, I thoroughly enjoyed it.

A Blindefellows Chronicles is published by Unbound and can be purchased here.

Don't miss the other stops on the blog tour, details are below.

About the Author

 Blindefellows is my first published novel and is the result of a few years' worth of quirky scribblings in a stack of notebooks. I wrote the novel I always wanted to read but couldn't find, partially inspired by my favourite authors, Stella Gibbons, PG Wodehouse and Evelyn Waugh. 

In addition to my writing, I am also an artist, from ram-sized pugs to sedate still life. I add a small observation and image to my blog on a daily basis which can be found on my website; https://aurielroe.wixsite.com/aurielroe
Twitter; @AurielRoe


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