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The Third School by the Sea Novel
ISBN: 9780063141810
March 2023

Cornwall, England - Present Day

Maggie Adair is heading home to Glasgow at the end of the summer term at Downey House girls boarding school in Cornwall. She loves her job as an English teacher, mostly loves her students, and should be heading home to marry her fiancé, Stan. But, as she sits on the train as it prepares to leave, her heart isn't into a future with Stan, it's with David McDonald, the English teacher at the Downey boys' school. As if it isn't difficult enough, the girl that David says he's engaged to is also on the train. But everything goes a bit wild when, as the train begins to leave, Maggie sees David leaping over the barrier and racing towards her carriage! And before she can think clearly, Maggie pulls the cord to stop the train.

The results of the frantic behavior by David and Maggie wasn't pleasant. David lost his job at the boys' school, and Maggie only held onto her position when the headmistress, Dr. Deveral, made it clear that Maggie cannot ever call or email David. Afterwards, of course, Maggie had to go home, and that meant telling her family, and Stan, that the wedding is off, and she's very sorry. Everyone there thinks that her job at the posh girls' school changed her, and made her think she's better than anyone at home. So, it's not a great school break by any means.

Upon returning to Cornwall, Maggie sets into working with the girls she's teaching, including a new scholarship girl, Isme, from London who isn't settling in well. The three other girls in Isme's room are as different as she is. Simone is another scholarship student who is determined to succeed despite not fitting in completely. Felicity (Fliss) and Alice are girls from wealthy families, and occasionally Alice can be a bit over the top about that. So Maggie has her work cut out trying to get Isme to fit in, even though it's pretty apparent that Isme isn't that concerned about making friends. 

Sadly, David, although well-loved by his former students, has had to take a position at the Phillip Dean Comprehensive Secondary School in a not so delightful part of town. The students are less than thrilled to be there, and go out of their way to make David know that. David, on the other hand, takes this as a challenge. But will that attitude work on these down on their luck kids?

LESSONS AT THE SCHOOL BY THE SEA is the third book in this series. Maggie and David are the central characters, but the stories about others are layered into the tale and are entertaining, and sometimes poignant. Jenny Colgan always brings the people in her novels to life in oh so realistic ways. Maggie has, in fact, changed since starting her new career at Downey Girls' School. She's enthusiastic about her students, and works her lessons to keep their interest. David is a kind, concerned teacher who desperately misses his former job, but has taken on the challenge of trying to get his present students to appreciate what an education can do for them. 

Humor, tears, and everyday life abound in Colgan novels, and LESSONS AT THE SCHOOL BY THE SEA won't disappoint. 

Jani Brooks

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