Monday, July 27, 2020

The Beverly Gray College Books

I decided to read the Beverly Gray series again.  I have read the complete set, except for World's Fair, four times.  I have read World's Fair twice.

Note:  I didn't get very far.  The pandemic has affected me, and I lost interest during Beverly Gray's Romance.  I wrote only three Beverly Gray posts, quitting at World's Fair.  Beverly Gray is my second favorite series after Nancy Drew, but I am just not in the mood for vintage series books at this time.

The original name of the series was "The Beverly Gray College Mystery Series."  Fortunately, the series eventually became so much more than that.

The first four books are titled:

1.  Beverly Gray, Freshman
2.  Beverly Gray, Sophomore
3.  Beverly Gray, Junior
4.  Beverly Gray, Senior

In these books, Beverly Gray attends Vernon College.  Beverly rooms with Shirley Parker and later becomes friendly with her.  Beverly's other college friends are Lenora Whitehill, Lois Mason, Rosalie Arnold, and Anne White.  This group of girls becomes the Alpha Deltas.  Beverly meets reporter Charlie Blaine and aviator Larry Owens.

Beverly makes periodic trips home for holidays, where she spends time with the Lucky Circle, a large group of friends who are hard to appreciate.  Anne White is also a member of the Lucky Circle.

The Beverly Gray series has one significant flaw, which is that it has way too many characters.  The Lucky Circle group bores me.  The Alpha Deltas are better, since most of that group play an important role in the majority of the books in the series.  I don't get much out of the Lucky Circle group.

The only member of the Lucky Circle that matters at all (aside from Beverly and Anne) is Jim Stanton, who will play a role in many of the books.

I have always known that Clair Blank was influenced by early series books such as Marjorie Dean.  When I previously read the Beverly Gray series, I had not read Marjorie Dean.  Since I have now done so, I can easily see where Clair Blank structured the first four books to be like the Marjorie Dean books.

Beverly's mother, Helen Chadwick, is the most beloved former student of Vernon College.  Helen is basically Marjorie Dean.  So I consider Beverly Gray to be Marjorie Dean's daughter, for all practical purposes.

Parts of the first four books are slow in places, in particular the passages with the Lucky Circle.  I struggle to tolerate scenes that have an excessive number of named characters.  I have mentioned before that many authors make a big mistake when they include too many named characters in their books.  Focusing on a small number of characters is always better.

I skimmed all of the scenes with the Lucky Circle.  I also found the banter between Lenora and Lois to be unbearable and skimmed that as well.  I typically love Lenora and her interactions with the other characters, but on this reading, I did not care for the teasing between Lenora and Lois.  I found it obnoxious and not fun during the college books.

The first four books are like the prequel to the Beverly Gray series.  I mention this because other people have been turned off from reading the Beverly Gray series based on the college books.  The rest of the Beverly Gray series is a bit different.

1 comment:

Lauren said...

I have only read the entire Beverly Grey series once. I dislike re-reading books too frequently because I have a very good memory and will remember elements about the plot once I start reading and then lose interest in the books. I usually need to wait at least 15-20 years to re-read something.

Beverly Grey is also one of my favorite series. I actually like the series best because of the college books. I was in a sorority in college and enjoyed hearing about how Beverly and her friends formed their sorority, etc. I also really enjoyed the books immediately after the college years. I always felt like the premise of Beverly Grey's Career was such a contemporary story. Four young women who were recent grads moving to NYC to room together and to start their careers. Even the careers that they chose. It felt very Sex and the City in a way.

I have never read Marjorie Dean but your review made me check it out. Turns out I had already downloaded free versions of the books on my Kindle at the end of 2019! I just finished a non-series book earlier today and was wondering what I should read next. I think that I'll check the Marjorie Dean series out. Thanks for the reminder!