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The Maitlands: All Change at Cuckly Place

The Maitlands: All Change at Cuckly Place was first published in 1979. It is now out of print.


Story | Connections to Other Books | Thoughts | Editions and Availability

Story

The Maitlands: All Change at Cuckly Place begins five years after the end of Meet the Maitlands. Following the death of the Squire, both of David's elder brothers resign from the army. Colonel Tom Maitland, who has inherited Cuckley Place, moves in with his wife, Emma, and children Henry, Fanny and George. Then Major Timothy Maitland writes to ask whether he and his family (wife Kitty, and daughters Angela, Sylvia and Ruth) can move into empty rooms in Cuckly Place, at least initially, when they return to England from India.

Miss Dinage is getting married, and had planned to give up the governess position at the Rectory; but with nine children now needing educating (the elder boys being sent to school), an arrangement is made for her to teach them all at the Place. While these changes are happening at Cuckly, Violet has graduated from her Grammar School and won a scholarship at Oxford. She has also become involved in the women's sufferage movement.

For some years, Chloe has been attending dancing classes, and - without her parents' knowlege - has progressed from baby skipping and ballroom dancing into toe dancing and ballet. Angela does piano lessons at a private school, and one day, while she is waiting for her lesson, she is convinced to join a Greek dancing performance, filling in for a girl who has broken her wrist. The school is impressed with her dancing, and offers her free piano and Greek dancing lessons, and a place as a weekly boarder, in return for acting as a demonstrator when their head dancing teacher gave lectures. Chloe is furious when she finds out, and as a result of this David withdraws her from her dancing classes. She and Selina are sent to a finishing school in France, but Chloe is determined that nothing will stand in the way of her learning to dance. John comes to realise that he wants to be ordained: traditionally the youngest son of the family has become rector, but Andrew has made it quite clear that he intends to go into the Navy.

Connections to Other Books

The Maitlands: All Change at Cuckly Place is a direct sequel to Meet the Maitlands. It seems likely that Noel had originally intended to write further books about the Maitland family.

Thoughts

(This section contains "spoilers" for those who have not read the book.)

The Maitlands: All Change at Cuckly Place is, if anything, even more disappointing than Meet the Maitlands. For some reason, Noel chose to more than double the number of characters, meaning that the lack of focus of Meet the Maitlands is even more apparent here.

One can only speculate as to what would have happened to the Maitland family if Noel had written further books in the series. It seems likely that Chloe would have succeeded, in the face of parental opposition, in becoming a dancer. Some of the boys would have certainly died in the First World War. In particular, John's similarities to Baruch Churston of Parson's Nine suggest that he would not have survived unscathed, if he survived at all, and that this would have had a very serious effect on Selina. In Parson's Nine, Baruch commits suicide rather than go to war, and much of the latter half of the book focuses on the impact this has on his twin sister, Susanna, who is similar in personality to Selina. As the Maitlands series is aimed at children, suicide seems unlikely, as does a repetition of the extreme reactions of Susanna. Nevertheless, the last line ofThe Maitlands: All Change at Cuckly Place ("John will, of course, be a soldier") does not bode well for John and Selina.

Editions and Availability

UK Editions

The Maitlands: All Change at Cuckly Place was first published in 1979, by W. H. Allen. It was illustrated by Antony Maitland. It does not appear to have been reissued at any stage.

US Editions

There does not seem to have been a US edition of The Maitlands: All Change at Cuckly Place.

Out of Print

The Maitlands: All Change at Cuckly Place is now out of print, and the lack of paperback editions mean that there are relatively few copies available on the second-hand market. In February 2004, second hand copies through online booksellers start in price at 18. (Source: Addall Used and Out of Print Book Search.)

 

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