BLURB: “Darrell’s last term at Malory Towers promises to be as exciting as ever. There’s a new girl, Amanda, a stubborn sports star set on swimming in the dangerous sea -with or without permission. And there’s spoilt Jo, only happy when she gets her own way”
REVIEW: This is the final novel in Enid Blyton’s Malory Towers series, and provides a heartwarming and satisfying ending to Darrell’s story. One of the major threads that runs throughout the novel is finally tied up in this book; that of Gwendoline, who throughout her time at Malory Towers has failed to reform her ways, and when the book opens she is bragging of having bullied her father into sending her to a fancy finishing school in Switzerland. When her father falls fatally ill, however, Gwendoline is finally forced to change her ways and her future plans, leaving Malory Towers and taking up a job as this is the only way she can support her family. Although a sad ending to Gwendoline’s tale, the reader is at least comforted by the fact that it proves that Gwendoline can change and be a better person. However, there are two new girls in this novel that prove to be almost as difficult as Gwendoline; the spoilt Jo, who has been raised by her brash American parents to be disobedient and eventually ends up stealing money and leading astray a pliable young first-former, Deidre, persuading her to run away in the dead of night; and Amanda, a bold and domineering girl who looks down on Malory Towers and is focused only on her ambitions to enter the next Olympic games. Both of these girls are taught a lesson, however – Amanda when a dangerous swim in the sea leads to her receiving injuries that she may never recover from, and Jo when her thieving is discovered and she is expelled, the first girl this has happened to throughout the series. What with all these goings on, Darrell and her friends find little time to enjoy their final year at Malory Towers, but we do at least get to enjoy with them a final trick, played by Darrell’s sister Felicity and some other mischevious younger students on the sixth formers’ behalf. The series is tied up nicely, with Darrell and many of our other favourite characters going on to attend Saint Andrew’s University, or following professional paths – Bill and Clarissa, for example, are to set up a riding school – and therefore concludes with just as heartwarming an ending as the rest of the series. I have thoroughly enjoyed re-reading them, and would highly recommend that any others who enjoyed these books in childhood should also return to them!