The best historical books set in boarding schools for girls

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm an archaeologist and addicted to reading and writing historical fictions. My first big love is history and I prefer Victorian Era. I’m interested in women’s lives and their habits and relationships in the old times. I was born and raised in Hungary, I’m often stay in London. I was working for years in museums in different cities while I was writing historical short stories and my first novel. School of Ladies – The Debutantes is a historical romance which has won an Audience Award in my country.


I wrote...

School of Ladies: The Debutantes

By Ennie Smith,

Book cover of School of Ladies: The Debutantes

What is my book about?

This is a story about six seventeen-year-old girls attending a charm school where they are preparing for the ball of their lives, as they try to find their perfect match in a true gentleman.

Six young ladies and a ball. The Coming Out ball where they can become princesses for an evening, and the charm school where they prepare for their big opportunity. A story about a seventeen-year-old girl, Emma Derkin, and five other young ladies. They all want the same thing - to find the perfect mate. It takes place a long time ago in the Victorian Era, when every girl grew up as a real lady.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of A Little Princess

Ennie Smith Why did I love this book?

It was my favorite book when I was a child and it made a huge impression on me. A great book for every little girl. The seven-year-old girl, Sara went to Miss Minchin's boarding school. After some time, Miss Minchin learns of Sara’s father's unfortunate demise due to jungle fever and he had lost his entire fortune.  Miss Minchin takes away all of Sara's possessions, makes her live in a cold and poorly attic, and forces her to earn her keep by working as a servant. But finally, there is a happy ending. I think every child needs to know this story. Sara’s features and strengths are exemplary in these hard times.

By Frances Hodgson Burnett,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked A Little Princess as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

HarperCollins is proud to present its new range of best-loved, essential classics.

'Whatever comes,' she said, 'cannot alter one thing. If I am a princess in rags and tatters, I can be a princess inside.'

'A Little Princess' tells the story of Sara Crewe, beloved daughter of the revered Captain Crewe. Sent to board at Miss Minchin's Select Seminary for Young Ladies, Sara is devastated when her adored father dies. Suddenly penniless, Sara is banished to an attic room where she is starved, abused, and forced to work as a servant. How this exceptionally intelligent girl uses the only resources…


Book cover of Changeling

Ennie Smith Why did I love this book?

Also a YA/Teen historical fantasy story with magic. It reminds me of a little Harry Potter in girl version that I like. It is entertaining and refreshing. The 14-year-old Sarah Smith has a secret. That she's not a member of Guardians the noble magical class that now rules the world. But as one of the non-magical Snipes who possesses magic, her secret must be kept so that she—and her family—can survive. So she has to blend in with the magical class. And attend school for wealthy magical ladies.

By Molly Harper,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Changeling as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 13, 14, 15, and 16.

What is this book about?

Sorcery and Society Book 1

“Witty and classic, Changeling had everything I wanted from a coming of age story: friendship, scandal, and a heroine learning to flex her magical muscles. If you liked Harry Potter, you will love CHANGELING!” —Kristen Simmons, critically acclaimed author of the Article 5 series


If 14-year-old Cassandra Reed makes it through her first day at Miss Castwell’s Institute for the Magical Instruction of Young Ladieswithout anyone discovering her secret, maybe, just maybe, she’ll let herself believe that she really does belong at Miss Castwell’s.

Except Cassandra Reed’s real name is Sarah Smith and up until…


Book cover of Anne of Avonlea

Ennie Smith Why did I love this book?

Anne is one of the most lovable female characters in the whole literature. When I read about her I feel like I’m her good friend and I’m excited about her along with the story. Anne is now 16 years old and she begins her job as the new schoolteacher in this book. It was a great continuation of her story and I love seeing Anne starts to become an adult while still keeping her positive personality. And I really appreciate the very special romantic storyline too. Anne always stays Anne, a great girl.

By L. M. Montgomery,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Anne of Avonlea as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


Book cover of Jane Eyre

Ennie Smith Why did I love this book?

This popular novel was well written in a typical gothic Victorian style. It is often very gloomy for me. Jane had suffered a lot as a child. Her life is hard in boarding school. It’s not easy but she finds her place in the world. Finally, her fate turns right thanks to love. It’s exciting that her love has something secret and I like this mystery in the novel. Twisted and unpredictable. The author made an innovation with Jane’s character. She is very confident and strong-willed. I think it’s a timeless work.

By Charlotte Brontë,

Why should I read it?

37 authors picked Jane Eyre as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 12, 13, 14, and 15.

What is this book about?

Introduction and Notes by Dr Sally Minogue, Canterbury Christ Church University College.

Jane Eyre ranks as one of the greatest and most perennially popular works of English fiction. Although the poor but plucky heroine is outwardly of plain appearance, she possesses an indomitable spirit, a sharp wit and great courage.

She is forced to battle against the exigencies of a cruel guardian, a harsh employer and a rigid social order. All of which circumscribe her life and position when she becomes governess to the daughter of the mysterious, sardonic and attractive Mr Rochester.

However, there is great kindness and warmth…


Book cover of Abigail

Ennie Smith Why did I love this book?

I can’t forget my very talented compatriot, Magda Szabó’s great writing. I am very proud of her and her success. It was hard work and lasted a lifetime for her to reach as Hungarian her books became popular worldwide. I hope one day I can follow her… This book is set in a religious school in the middle of World War II. The protagonist is young Gina, the daughter of a Hungarian General. The novel analyzes important social problems, teenager problems. At first, Gina is an outcast then we can see how she tries to fit in the class, and she makes friends. Friendship and togetherness are in the spotlight in this novel.

By Magda Szabo, Len Rix (translator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Abigail as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A teenage girl's difficult journey towards adulthood in a time of war.

"A school story for grownups that is also about our inability or refusal to protect children from history" SARAH MOSS

"Of all Szabo's novels, Abigail deserves the widest readership. It's an adventure story, brilliantly written" TIBOR FISCHER

Of all her novels, Magda Szabo's Abigail is indeed the most widely read in her native Hungary. Now, fifty years after it was written, it appears for the first time in English, joining Katalin Street and The Door in a loose trilogy about the impact of war on those who have…


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By Danika Dinsmore,

Book cover of Brigitta of the White Forest

Danika Dinsmore Author Of Brigitta of the White Forest

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Why am I passionate about this?

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Danika's 3 favorite reads in 2023

What is my book about?

For those who enjoy fantasy adventure, the Faerie Tales from the White Forest series offers a new twist on the traditional faerie tales so loved by young readers.

From devastating curses to death-defying quests, Brigitta and her growing collective of misfit friends face greater and greater challenges when destiny calls upon them to “make the balance right again” after the Great World Cry has left their world in elemental chaos.

Brigitta of the White Forest

By Danika Dinsmore,

What is this book about?

Briggy, what happens when the Hourglass runs out?

Brigitta wished she had paid more attention to her Auntie Ferna's lessons. Being able to string a thunder-bug symphony wasn't going to help them now. She didn't know exactly what would happen when the Hourglass ran out, since no living faerie knew a time when the Hourglass didn't protect the forest . . . But even though she couldn't remember the details, she did know that without the Hourglass there would be no White Forest . . . A charming middle-grade fantasy series, "Faerie Tales from the White Forest" watches the journey…


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11,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about boarding schools, orphans, and changelings.

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