Book Review: Welcome to the School by the Sea by Jenny Colgan

Posted March 19, 2022 by WendyW in Book Review, bookblogger, Uncategorized / 37 Comments

Welcome to the School by the Sea
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Series: Little School by the Sea #1
by Jenny Colgan
Publication Date March 29, 2022
Published by HarperCollins
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Genres: Fiction / Coming of Age, Fiction / Friendship, Fiction / Women
Pages: 304
Format: ARC

The first book of Jenny Colgan’s delightful new four-part series, set at a charming English boarding school on the sea.

Maggie went to the window and opened it wide, inhaling the lovely salt air off the sea. Why had she never lived by the sea before? Why had she always looked out on housing estates and not the little white hulls of trawlers bobbing off in the distance?

It’s gloriously sunny in Cornwall as the school year starts at the little boarding school by the sea. Maggie, the newest teacher at Downey House, is determined to make her mark. She’s delighted by her new teaching job, but will it come at the expense of her relationship with her safe, dependable boyfriend Stan?

Simone is excited and nervous: she’s won a scholarship to the prestigious boarding school and wants to make her parents proud. Forced to share a room with the glossy, posh girls of Downey House, she needs to find a friend, fast.

Fliss is furious. She’s never wanted to go to boarding school and hates being sent away from her home. As Simone tries desperately to fit in, Fliss tries desperately to get out.

Over the course of one year, friendships will bloom and lives will be changed forever. Life at the Little School by the Sea is never dull…

Welcome to the School by the Sea by Jenny Colgan was previously published using a pen name, Jane Beaton.  It is her first book in her Maggie Adair series.  I really enjoyed this book set in a boarding school on the coast of Cornwall.  

Maggie Adair is a schoolteacher, working in an inner-city school in Glasgow where she grew up.  She’s increasingly frustrated with the school, and her boyfriend she’s had since they were both in school together.  She decides that it might be her last chance to get out of there and she applies to an elite boarding school in Cornwall to be an English teacher for girls. 

When she is accepted at the school, she’s eager for a change, but her family and her boyfriend are not so enthusiastic. She’s in charge of a bunch of girls who test her limits, but nothing as unruly as the children in her previous school.  

We also see the school through the eyes of Fliss, Simone, and Alice all get up to some trouble as they navigate their first year at boarding school.  

I enjoyed this sweet story about the boarding school and I liked that it was from the perspective of a new teacher, two of the students, and the headmistress.  The book covered one school year and finished when everyone left for summer break.  I can’t wait to read the next book and see what happens to these characters in their next year at the school  

The author does a fabulous job of describing the school and the grounds and I felt like I was there with the students.  The characters are interesting and realistic, each with enough flaws to make them feel real without making them unappealing. 

I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys women’s fiction.  I received a complimentary copy of this book.  The opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

Previous version:

Welcome to the School by the Sea was previously published in 2008, under Jenny Colgan’s pen name, Jane Beaton with the title Class.

About Jenny Colgan

Jenny Colgan was born in Scotland and has lived in London, the Netherlands, the U.S. and France. She eventually settled on the wettest of all of these places, and currently lives just North of Edinburgh with her husband Andrew, her dog Nevil Shute, and her three children: Wallace, who is 11 and likes pretending to be 19 and not knowing what this embarrassing ‘family’ thing is that keeps following him about; Michael-Francis, who is 9 and likes making new friends on aeroplanes, and Delphine who is 7 and is mostly raccoon as far as we can tell so far.

Things Jenny likes include: cakes, far too much Doctor Who, wearing Converse trainers every day so her feet are now just gigantic big flat pans; baths only slightly cooler than the surface of the sun and very very long books, the longer the better.

37 responses to “Book Review: Welcome to the School by the Sea by Jenny Colgan

  1. Nice review Wendy. Being a retired teacher, I tend to shy away from books about schools. Glad you enjoyed this one.

  2. I adore Jenny Colgan but haven’t come across this one before! It sounds wonderful and definitely a series I need to start.

  3. I think if I were the boyfriend I wouldn’t be too thrilled either. Who wants a long distance relationship? The coast of Cornwall sounds beautiful, though. I love Doc Martin and I think it’s filmed somewhere over there.

  4. You know that a story on the coast… any and all coasts… instantly captures my interest. And this story sounds absolutely delightful. Excellent review, Wendy!

  5. This sounds like a charming book. I have this on my TBR and I’m really excited to read this now. I didn’t realize that Jenny Colgan and Jane Beaton were the same author. I always like learning new things about the authors.

    • In the forward, Jenny says that she wrote under the name Jane Beaton, but her book sales were slow, so she’s re-releasing them under Jenny Colgan.

  6. This sounds wonderful. I loved Enid Blyton’s Malory Towers books which are also set in Cornwall but what’s appealing in this one is the perspective of both students and teachers. Definitely going to check these out. Lovely review Wendy🙂🙂

  7. Jenny+McClinton

    I really like the sound this one, I love that it shows the point of view of the teacher too, great review 😊

  8. This sounds like a good series. I particularly like that there will be four books following the girls through high school–good plan! The move from inner city school to posh boarding school is a good one. All kids have issues, but inner city students have more and many of them stem from poverty. I think I would like this book.

    • I think you would like this one, Linda. She has a lot to say about the differences in education for the wealthy and the poor in the UK.

  9. Whoa! I didn’t know Jenny Colgan used to publish under a different name. I haven’t read any of her books, but they are on my TBR. I’ll get around to one of them some day.