331. The Two Linties by Clare Mallory

The Two Linties by Clare Mallory. Introduction by Bettina Vine (Worldwide)

Pages: 220
Ages: 10+
Finished: Dec. 9, 2012
First Published: 1950, (reprint, 2012)
Publisher: Margin Notes Books
Genre: Children, Boarding School Fiction
Rating: 4/5

First sentence: "Lintie's adventure began in the orphanage kitchen."

Publisher's Summary:  “We feel sure that the young people of Hillingdon will welcome a new feature in our columns, devoted exclusively to their interests. To-day we launch a children’s page, and we want it to be reader-written. The first issues cannot be, but as soon as possible the results of literary competitions will provide the greater part of the material used. We are convinced that there is sufficient talent in this city to fill a weekly page with stories, poems, articles, and sketches of good standard. Prizes will be generous, and every encouragement given to the young writers and artists. Cousin Rosemary will be a friend to all of them, and she will, we know, receive a very warm welcome. All success to her and her Hillingdon Club!”

These are tempting words to an imaginative orphan and ones that inspire her to create a new identity for herself. Lintie Oliver, the most mischievous resident of St Anne’s Orphanage, reinvents herself as Lynette Hope, prize-winning writer. Submitting stories, articles and plays under a nom de plume result in colour and excitement flooding into her drab life. The Two Linties is the story of her double life as she grapples with unhoped-for success and the chance to change her own life and help her friends realise their dreams. Out of print since the 1950s, Clare Mallory’s rare novel is a gentle tale of childhood life in New Zealand.

Acquired: Received a review copy from the publisher, Margin Notes Books.

Reason for Reading: I love children's literature from the first half of the 20th century and like many women/girls have a fondness for both the orphan and boarding school story.  When the two are combined with an orphan living in an orphanage, it's always a selling point to me!

What an adorable book!  I've never heard of the author before and the fact that she is a 'kiwi' and the story is set in New Zealand adds a unique flavour to this book.  In actual fact, there is not much that directly sets the story in NZ as opposed to England but there are a few references here and there that don't let you forget the "exotic" location.  Lintie is an adorable character and I took to her right away.  A good-natured, sweet-tempered girl but one who is often referred to as "mischievous" as she likes to break the rules and often finds herself in hot water.  This is not because she is outright disobedient but because the rules are too strict for her do the things she wants to do, which are all either charitable or self-improving of her station in life.  Lintie wants things for herself, for her future, but the needs of her friends always take precedence over her own without her thinking twice.  Of course, this makes Lintie sound ever so too good to be true, but she's not.  While being a "good" person she is also a typical child and her adventures and dilemnas will delight girls and women who enjoy old-fashioned boarding school or orphan stories.

All the characters are a delight, even the stern matrons of the orphanage are perfect in their parts.  I was very taken with this book and while the outcome was predictable and happy-feel-good it was a joy to read.  This particular edition is an exact reprint with a few revisions to grammar and typos made as specifically noted at the end of the book.  Quite a few have been missed though, for example Lintie is known as both Lintie and Lyn to various people and on a couple of occasions the wrong people called her by the wrong name and, a bit annoying, the word "had" was almost always written as "bad".  There was another word that changed the "h" to a "b", but I've forgotten what it is.  If a second print is run, this should be taken care of.  Otherwise, I am quite looking forward to reading more of this new-to-me vintage children's author.  I should mention I also delight in this paperback re-print's cover which is a scan of a slightly worn/torn vintage dustjacket and it adds a certain appeal to the book's charm. Altogether, a lovely gem I'm glad to have read.


  1. Is this a reissue? Did they keep the original cover? The book sounds delightful to me!

  2. Yes, this is a reissue. According to the publisher. This is the first time back in print since the fifties and the cover is a copy of the original dj, since this is a trade pb. It truly is delightful!


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