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Our book arrived yesterday in tip top condition, thank you and thank you for the flyer about you. One day I will get to UK and visit you, with an empty suitcase! R.A. (Australia), Mar. 2014

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Dorita Fairlie Bruce.

Dimsie Among The Prefects I first remember seeing the name 'Dorita Fairlie Bruce' on a Dimsie title in my local library. At the time that I was devouring everything from Enid Blyton's Famous Five, Alfred Hitchcock's The Three Investigators to Elinor M. Brent-Dyer's Chalet School books. Now seeing the Dimsie titles on a fairly regular basis, I realized that I did not know anything about the author of the Dimsie books, so here is a little of the information that I discovered:

Dorita Fairlie Bruce (or her full name Dorothy Morris Fairlie Bruce), was born in Spain on May 20th 1885, where her father was working as a civil engineer. However, much of her early childhood was spent in Scotland. As with many writers, Dorita showed promise from an early age - even winning a poetry competition when she was six years old.

In around 1895 the family moved to Ealing in London. Due to her parents spending much time abroad, Dorita was sent to boarding school at Clarence House in Roehampton, but she spent many holidays with family members in Ayrshire, Scotland, or with her aunt in Ealing.

The experiences and lifestyle that Dorita became accustomed to at Clarence House is obviously what would inspire many of her different series of school stories for girls. The Dimsie series starts with Dimsie, aged 10, on her first day at boarding school, and follows her throughout her schooldays into adult life. This is a change from some of the same genre of books which focus just on the girls' school life.

Nancy returns to St. BridesDorita's first novel (following some poems and short stories), was 'The Senior Prefect', published in 1921 which was later republished as 'Dimsie Goes to School'. In total there were nine titles in the Dimsie series. Another series is the 'Nancy' books, sometimes referred to as 'St. Bride's' or 'Maudsley' books. There are again nine titles in this series, eight of them featuring Nancy, a character we first meet in the Dimsie books. Many of the author's series of books are interconnected this way, through characters appearing in different titles across different series.

Throughout the Second World War, Dorita cared for her parents in Ealing. During her time in Ealing, Dorita also dedicated time to one of her interests, the Girl's Guildry, and was Guardian of an Ealing Company. However, in 1949 she made a permanent move to Scotland - an area that is reflected in many of her writings and where she appeared to move away from writing so much for younger girls with tales of boarding school life. Instead her novels concentrated more on older characters in their late teens and early twenties. Throughout her life, as well as writing stories for girls, she also wrote historical and other novels.

Dorita Fairlie Bruce died, in Scotland, in 1970.

Serendipity Shop



Thinking back to the few Dimsie books that I read, in the late 1980's and early 1990's - it is amazing to think that they were originally published around 60 years previously and were about a time that I really knew little about. However, the likeable, but realistic characters in these books still made them appealing and enjoyable to me. This is I think a testament to the author who wrote about what she knew well.

If you have never read a Dorita Fairlie Bruce title, please check our stock here and I hope you enjoy them, as I did.

 

Contributed by Joanne Hill.

 


A selection of Dorita Fairlie Bruce books in stock

THE BRITISH GIRL'S ANNUAL
Wood, Eric & Bruce, Dorita Fairlie & Wynne, May & Talbot, Ethel & et al,. Illustrated by Brock, H.M. & Brock, C.E. & Evans, Treyer & et al.,. Stock no. 1107535
Cassell & Company Ltd. Circa. 1924. Very good condition in a very good dustwrapper. Edited by Wood. Includes "To A Dreamer" by D.F.Bruce and "The Adventures of Avice" a complete story by May Wynne. Blue cloth, gilt titles, pictorial onlay to front. B/w illustrations and photos and some colour plates. A little fading to spine. Light bumping to corners. Some foxing and a few grubby margin marks. Wrapper is torn with 1" loss to base of spine and a couple of smaller pieces of loss to corners. [R]
Price: £22.00
THE BEST HOUSE IN THE SCHOOL
Bruce, Dorita Fairlie. No illustrator listed. Stock no. 1107109
Oxford University Press, Geoffrey Cumberlege. 1951. Good condition with no wrapper. Green cloth covers, black title to spine. 256 pages. Covers are marked and grubby with damp staining. Some foxing to pages internally, but generally very good inside. [R]
Price: £7.50
DIMSIE GROWS UP
Bruce, Dorita Fairlie. No illustrator listed. Stock no. 1307538
Oxford University Press. 1949. Almost very good condition in an almost very good dustwrapper. Blue boards, silver title to spine. 288 pages. 7.5 x 5". Spine and corners bumped and worn. Small puncture hole to front edge of spine. Prize-plate mostly removed from front endpaper. Foxing to outer page edges. Dustwrapper is price-cut and is edge worn/torn with large section missing to top edge of rear panel. [R]
Price: £14.00
THE BEST HOUSE IN THE SCHOOL
Bruce, Dorita Fairlie. No illustrator listed. Stock no. 1306944
Spring Books. Almost very good condition in a good dustwrapper. Yellow cloth with blue title to spine. Colour frontis. 4 b/w illustrations. 254 pages. Spine slightly bumped. Foxing to covers. Ink address stamp to front endpaper. Page browning and foxing else contents clean. Dustwrapper is edge worn and torn with some loss, small hole to centre of rear panel. [R]
Price: £12.00
DIMSIE INTERVENES
Bruce, Dorita Fairlie. Illustrated by Johnston, M.D.. Stock no. 1306629
Oxford University Press, Humphrey Milford. 1st. 1937. Fair condition with no wrapper. Cream cloth covers with blue titles and vignettes to front cover. 286 pages. Colour frontis and 6 b/w illustrations. Spine rebacked with matching cream cloth and retaining original title-strip. Covers are grubby with wear to corners. Book binders sticker (small) to front pastedown. Inscription in blue biro to front endpaper. Foxing and fingering throughout. A good reading copy of the first edition. [R]
Price: £30.00
THAT BOARDING-SCHOOL GIRL
Bruce, Dorita Fairlie. Illustrated by Brock, R.H.. Stock no. 1306622
Oxford University Press, Humphrey Milford. 1935. Almost very good condition with no wrapper. Embossed red cloth covers, black title to spine. Colour frontis, 4 b/w illustrations. 190 pages. Spine and corners bumped, a couple of small dents to cover edges. Front cover is unevenly faded. Book leans to one side a little. Inscription in ink to front endpaper. Foxing and fingering to contents but generally clean. [R]
Price: £24.00


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