Bexhill School for Girls, Book 3: Six Across is hard for me to categorize, unless there’s genre for Jolly Good Fun. I did, to my surprise, enjoy it, but I can’t quite consider the book to be erotica, or BDSM, or, for that matter, a book, at only 85 pages. It’s more of an installment of a serial story, but what the heck, Dickens did that and got away with it, so why should I quibble?
Tom Simple, the Bexhill author, sets the mood with his quite amusing note at the beginning directed to “the Moral Police – that ethereal army of self- appointed do-gooders which has taken it upon itself to patrol cyberspace.” Then he kindly includes a reader’s review that provides a clue as to the nature of the book. This reviewer, who has presumably read the first two titles in this series, A Spanking in Time and By the Cane Divided, assures us that this is “One of the very best school spanking stories I have read. Very well written...there is nothing offensive...it is descriptive…easily pictured in the mind...”
Did you know that there was a whole genre of school spanking stories? I can’t say that I’m surprised. I did, after all, read and re-read an ancient copy of Tom Brown’s School Days in my own adolescence, and ferreted out a few old girls-school novels from thrift shops and second hand bookstores. English boarding schools were fertile grounds for fiction long before Harry Potter came along, and the sad lack of corporal punishment scenes in the Potter books has been compensated for by many a writer of fan fiction.
These Bexhill School books may be written to appeal to a mature audience whose formative years were far enough in the past that they have fond memories of the days when spanking, caning, switching, and indeed pretty much any form of punishment were considered perfectly acceptable and even necessary ways of dealing with students. Such historical scenes do continue to be quite popular in some BDSM circles, though, so the audience is probably far more extensive.
On further reflection, I’ll have to rethink my opinion on the erotica front (or, in this case, rear.) Erotica is in the eye of the beholder, and, of course, in the reaction of various other regions of the anatomy. If the beholder is turned on by picturing schoolgirls bent over to receive punitive spankings, then it’s erotica, even though most of the spankings are not presented in a particularly sexual way from the viewpoints of the miscreants being punished. They genuinely dread the canings, in spite of being proud of how well they bear them. Still, four of the girls, recognizing spanking’s potential, form a club to play out punishment scenes in the school’s stables when no else is around. They don’t get much attention in this book, and I’d have liked to see more of them. Apparently they do get more coverage, so to speak, in some of the other books. For the most part the girls seem strangely indifferent to sex as such, even though there’s a boys’ school just over their back fence, and the boys are definitely interested.
Most of the plot devices consist of pranks and other transgressions for which the girls are punished, the punishments being the main point. The major dramatic set piece is a field hockey game that results in a violent free-for-all with the result that just about everybody gets caned afterward. The game itself is described in such great detail that the images of girls in hockey kit rushing up and down the field wielding sticks may have been meant to be as arousing as the resulting paddling of behinds. For readers who appreciate that sort of thing, the book is, indeed, erotica. I still have a hard time considering a book of which a reviewer has said “There is nothing offensive…” to be particularly erotic or kinky, but then again, he (or she) added the part about “easily pictured in the mind…” so it’s clearly a matter of taste, and the pictures in the reader’s mind.
The adults involved—a few members of the school staff, a pair of local constables, one set of parents—do get right down to brief spurts of hot and steamy action, but by far the major focus is on the girls, who are an appealing blend of mischief, wholesomeness, and adolescent angst. My sympathies are all with the girls.
As I said at the beginning, I did enjoy Bexhill School for Girls, Book 3. I enjoyed the girls’ school ambiance, the camaraderie, the British turn of phrase. Tom Simple (whoever he or she may be) does a good job of retaining the rather odd charms of boarding-school stories, and elaborating on what the local constable thinks of as “nubile backsides being tanned” while still showing the girls as sympathetic characters. If you like your school spanking stories mixed in with plenty of adolescent Jolly Good Fun, this—and likely this whole series of books—is for you.