I have just finished reading “Gentlemen and Players” by Joanne Harris.
The blurb reads:
“For generations, privileged young men have attended St. Oswald’s Grammar School for Boys, groomed for success by the likes of Roy Straitley, the eccentric Classics teacher who has been a fixture there for more than thirty years. This year, however, the wind of unwelcome change is blowing, and Straitley is finally, reluctantly, contemplating retirement. As the new term gets under way, a number of incidents befall students and faculty alike, beginning as small annoyances but soon escalating in both number and consequence. St. Oswald’s is unraveling, and only Straitley stands in the way of its ruin. But he faces a formidable opponent with a bitter grudge and a master strategy that has been meticulously planned to the final, deadly move.”
It’s a great book with many twists and it keeps you guessing for ages!
It follows a young lad who becomes obsessed with St Oswald’s Grammar School for Boys and enters this world so different to what lies outside. The reader also get to see the school from the viewpoint of the teacher, Roy Straitley, who knows the workings of the school better than anyone, and who prides himself on knowing the things that make the staff and boys tick.
As the novel progresses, it is clear that what started as a innocent desire for something different has turned into something dangerous and more disturbing than anything else that has happened in the school. It jumps back and forth through time, which makes it a little bit confusing at times but simply adds to the mystery and the tension!
You feel an empathy with the youngster who wants a life that is beyond his reach, and who wants to break the rules. You also feel sorry for Straitley, who just wants to reach his century of teaching at the school but faces so much opposition when unfortunate events start to occur.
I love how this book keeps you wondering who is the person causing all the incidents and scandals to happen, and questioning who could have such a strong motive for wanting to harm the school, its reputation, and the staff and pupils inside. You have to keep reading because there are so many little hints and little details which are important to keep track of. The ending is pure brilliance! I’m not going to spoil it, but there’s a great plot twist!
I love this book, and give it 8/10 because it’s so gripping and the characters are so fascinatingly ordinary! You might think a book about a boy’s school would be boring but it’s the everyday normality which makes this novel so interesting, especially when things start going wrong! It’s worth a read, especially if you like suspense and mystery, and love Joanne Harris!