Far to Go was first published in 1976, with a US edition
the same year. A UK edition is still available, but is out of
print in the US.
Story | Thoughts
| Editions and Availability
Far to Go begins a few months after Thursday's
Child ended. Sarah Beamish, who is in charge of wardrobe
for the Fortescue Theatre, sees an advertisement for a "clever
girl to appear eleven" at the Dolphin Theatre in London.
Without telling the rest of the company, Sarah takes Margaret
Thursday to London for an audition, and Margaret gets a principal
role in a play called The Little Queen.
Rather than going to school in London, Margaret does lessons
with Katie Teaser, the daughter of Sir John Teaser who owns the
Dolphin Theatre. Katie also wishes to be an actress, but her mother
(who had, herself, been an actress before marrying Sir John) wants
a different life for her daughter. Margaret is ahead of Katie
in ordinary lessons, but Katie has read far more books and plays.
When the play opens, Margaret gets excellent reviews. Lavinia,
Peter and Horatio are brought over from Ireland by their grandfather
to see it, and they have tea with Margaret and Katie. Lavinia
gives Margaret a frightening piece of news: before the performance
she saw Matron from the orphanage outside the theatre. Matron
had looked almost mad, and she had been muttering "I'll get
her. You wait and see, I'll get her" (Far to Go,
In spite of the care that is taken, one foggy night Margaret
is kidnapped by Matron.
Connections to Other
Far to Go is a direct sequel to Thursday's
(This section contains "spoilers" for those who have
not read the book.)
Far to Go contains a fascinating picture of theatrical
life at the turn of the century. There is also the opportunity
to tell an enjoyable story about Katie's desire to act, and her
mother's determination that she will not.
Unfortunately, much of this potential is sublimated under the
thriller style tale of Margaret's kidnapping by Matron - who has
become a much more caricatured villain than she was in Thursday's
Child. In particular, Katie's story is concluded in a
very perfunctory manner, with her mother unexpectedly changing
her mind. The rationale that this is because of meeting Margaret
and seeing that "Nobody can say being on stage and taking
a big part had spoiled that child, so why should it spoil little
Katie?" (Far to Go, 1976:157) seems rather unconvincing,
and somewhat at odds with her original reasoning that she didn't
want Katie to undergo the hardships of a life in the theatre.
Given Noel's skill at writing stories about the minutae of everyday
life, she could certainly have given Katie's story a much more
detailed and interesting development, and a more convincing conclusion.
it is somewhat disappointing that she chose to set this aside
in favour of the excitement of Margaret's kidnapping.
Matron remains at large at the end of Far to Go. It
is possible that Noel was holding her in reserve, in case she
wished to write another Margaret Thursday story. Perhaps it is
a good thing that she did not - yet another tale of Margaret escaping
Matron's clutches would stretch credibility even further than
Far to Go.
Editions and Availability
Far to Go was first published in 1976 by
Collins, with Charles Mozley illustrations. A second impression
came out in 1977.
In 1978 a Lion paperback edition was released.
This was reprinted at least twice in the 1980s.
It was released in the United States in 1976,
by Dell, and reprinted in 1986.
A paperback was released in 1986 by Dell Yearling/Bantam
As I have not read the US editions, I do not know
if the text was in any way amended.
Still in Print
Far to Go is
out of print in the US.
In the UK, Collins
released a paperback edition in 1999.
Publishers Ltd. © 1976 Noel Streatfeild