The Backlist: The Flambards Series (1967-1981)

The spirited girl arrives to her uncle’s decaying estate, Flambards. It’s 1908, Britain. In six years, things will change worldwide, but for 13-year-old Christina Parsons, everything in her world has changed already. She steps into the shuttered finery of her uncle, her deceased mother’s half-brother, and the brittle, charged zeal for horses and hunting.

Her parents dead since she was five, she is an heiress—and an orphan on par with Anne of Green Gables.

Christina’s arrival also alters the household of cloistered men: Uncle Russell whose fall during a hunt broke his back and confines him to a wheelchair and port; Mark, the playboy who equals his father’s zeal for horses and hounds, and then Will, the youngest, whose ideas about equality and aeroplanes sends him—and Christina into flight’s first efforts.

K. M. Peyton, a beloved children’s and YA British author, carried Christina’s story—and England’s—into an award-winning trilogy: Flambards (1967), The Edge of the Clouds (1969) and Flambards in Summer (1969) with well-known artist Victor G. Ambrus as illustrator. The second novel, The Edge of the Clouds, won Peyton the impressive Carnegie Medal from the Library Association (CLIP) while the series won the Guardian.

A decade later, Flambards aired as a 13-episode TV-series, arriving a year later to America where I watched and watched, transfixed as wide-eyed Christina.

Then in a rare act—and what became controversial—Peyton added a fourth book, Flambards Divided. The controversy? Twelve years later she added it. And she reversed the love story.

Peyton was a prolific novelist with several other stories translated to screen. Her work also spawned a pony series and boys’ adventure novels. Her own great passions were sailing and horses.

The Flambards Series. These historical novels with its spirited protagonist is delightful—a good read.

A series worth remembering.

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