Published in 1945 but set in July through August of 1932, A30_Two Joans at the Abbey takes us into the Second Generation titles. While it is not one of my favorite titles, it is satisfactorily constructed with a nice balance of adventure and folk dancing.
There is an enormous difference in the experience of reading the Abbey Girls series in Publication Order, which is how Stella Waring and Sheila Ray organized their Island to Abbey analysis, in Reading Order, which is how this series of posts is organized, or in Random Order, which is how I (along with, I suspect, many other readers) first encountered Oxenham’s works. We don’t really need to discuss Random Order, which was confusing and sometimes frustrating, but also fun to try to puzzle out the characters and relationships. This puzzlement was not aided by Elsie’s fondness for repeating certain names: take Cecily/Cicely/Cecilia, Rosamund/Rosalind, Marjorie/Maidlin/Maribel, Joan/Janice/Jehane/Littlejan/Joan-Two/Jansy/Jean/Jen, for instance. Who are all these people?
In Reading Order, we dealt with the seven titles that form the Retrospective Titles, A4 through A10, long, long ago—way back in July of 2020. These titles focus on the exploits of young Jen Robins and her pal Jacky and the still teenaged Joan and Joy Shirley as they uncover the many secrets of the Abbey: Lady Jehane’s jewels, the Monk’s Path, and other treasures hidden by Ambrose, the lay brother who loved Jehane and who became a saintly emblem—a Guardian as it were, and I don’t use that word carelessly—of both the secrets of the Abbey and its spiritual heritage. You’ve forgotten about them, right? I know I have. [Read more…]