The O'Sullivan Twins
By Enid Blyton
Methuen, 1942

The O'Sullivan Twins is the second book of the St. Clare's School series, six books following the adventures of girls at a boarding school. If you are going to read the other books it is best to read them in order, but this book does work just fine as a stand alone novel.

Isabel and Pat O'Sullivan are back for the second half of their first term at St. Clare's. To some extent, this is the first book all over again, but this time there are three new stuck-up girls who need to be taught how to be good friends and good students, and now the twins are model (well, modelish) students, who help do the teaching. One of the new arrivals is their cousin, Alison, who is stuck-up, complains a lot, and can't keep her mouth shut. But it's a trick! This book is hardly about Alison at all.

In The Twins at St. Clare's the novel was almost a collection of short stories; this adventure had, that problem solved, another lesson learned. This time, we have two big arcs, two terrible girls who Must Be Saved. Margery is dour and asocial, and no one likes her (but she's good at sports, so you know she's a good person, really); Erica is a sneak and a tattle (and that's the worst thing you can be). But if they can be reformed, St. Clare's is just the place to do it!

Oh, also, there is a real adventure! Not that midnight feasts aren't adventurous, but there is also a large fire, daring heroinism, concussions and broken limbs! (Well, one limb.) This is hardly going to be the sort of thing to expect from St. Clare's, but I have noticed that of all the St. Clare's books, this one seems to be the easiest one to find. I suspect that it was more popular than the others, probably because of this.

Despite the more solid plot points, despite the adventure, and despite having a well-developed setting and cast of characters already set up, this is not really a better novel than The Twins at St. Clare's. The adventure and dramatic denoument are somewhat spoiled by two other sub-plots that drag on a bit, and the end of the book is not the salvation and/or disposal of the various characters of interest, but the French teacher's mental breakdown (much less interesting than it sounds). This is another fun read, but not one of Blyton's best.

The St. Clare's School series:

  1. The Twins at St. Clare's (1941)
  2. The O'Sullivan Twins (1942)
  3. Summer Term at St. Clare's (1943)
  4. Second Form at St. Clare's (1944)
  5. Claudine at St. Clare's (1944)
  6. Fifth Formers at St. Clare's (1945)

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