Read The Wolves of Willoughby Chase by Joan Aiken Free Online
Book Title: The Wolves of Willoughby Chase|
The author of the book: Joan Aiken
Edition: Jonathan Cape
Date of issue: January 16th 2012
ISBN 13: 9780857550316
Loaded: 1751 times
Reader ratings: 3.8
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 411 KB
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When Bonnie’s parents leave for a voyage across the sea, she’s left in the care of a strident governess: Miss Slighcarp. Soon joined by her cousin Sylvia, the girls suffer cruel treatment at the hands of their governess and watch as every joyful element of their lives is dismantled. Meanwhile, menacing wolves circle and a strange man joins in Miss Slighcarp’s machinations. If Bonnie & Sylvia are to be free and happy once more, they must turn to an odd boy and his flock of geese for help.
Aiken evokes a marvelous sense of atmosphere, a sensation that’s heightened by the contrast between the outside world and the inside of Bonnie’s home: Willoughby Chase. A cold and haunting mood pervades the outside with its “somber sighing of the wind and the hideous howling of the wolves.” The hills are pleated with snow, icicles hang from the trees, and “snow lay piled on the dark roads.”
Willoughby Chase is “an inviting home – a warm and welcoming stronghold.” Bonnie sleeps in a soft, warm bed, and she and Sylvia spend their afternoons in the nursery, which is “gay with the sunshine that sparkled on crystal and silver and found golden light in the honey and quince preserves.”
Despite its alluring opening pages, The Wolves of Willoughby Chase unravels once its cookie-cutter characters step into the limelight. Intrigue vanishes as each character assumes a stereotypical role in the narrative. The only exception is, perhaps, Mr. Grimshaw who unexpectedly fires a “long, heavy, glinting blue gun” out of the train carriage he shares with young Sylvia, shooting at rabbits and ravens with a reckless air of perverse enjoyment. Mr. Grimshaw takes snuff and has no qualms about seizing a shard of glass and stabbing a wolf to death.
Strangely, after a strong presence early in the narrative, the wolves fade into the background, eventually becoming a distant threat. However, The Wolves of Willoughby Chase is the first in a series of thirteen books, so perhaps their presence grows more prevalent over time.
With such standard characters, the story inevitably arrives at a predictable conclusion.
The Wolves of Willoughby Chase is a quick, enjoyable little read, but it’s nothing to write home about.
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Read information about the authorJoan Aiken was a much loved English writer who received the MBE for services to Children's Literature. Her most famous classic, THE WOLVES OF WILLOUGHBY CHASE has been in print for over 50 years with a new AUDIO recorded by her daughter Lizza. She was known as a writer of wild fantasy, Gothic novels and unforgettable short stories.
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For Joan's life and full Bibliography visit http://www.joanaiken.com/
Joan's Life in brief:
She was born in Rye, East Sussex, into a family of writers, including her father, Conrad Aiken (who won a Pulitzer Prize for his poetry), and her sister, Jane Aiken Hodge.
She worked for the United Nations Information Office during the second world war,and then as an editor and freelance on Argosy magazine before she started writing full time, mainly children's books and thrillers. For her books she received the Guardian Award (1969) and the Edgar Allan Poe Award (1972).
Her most popular series, the "Wolves Chronicles" which began with 'The Wolves of Willoughby Chase', was set in an elaborate alternate period of history in a Britain in which James II was never deposed in the Glorious Revolution,and so supporters of the House of Hanover continually plot to overthrow the Stuart Kings. These books also feature cockney urchin heroine Dido Twite and her adventures and travels all over the world.
Another series of children's books about Arabel and her raven Mortimer are illustrated by Quentin Blake, and have been shown on the BBC as Jackanory and drama series. Others including the much loved 'Necklace of Raindrops' and award winning 'Kingdom Under the Sea' are illustrated by Jan Pieńkowski.
Her many novels for adults include several that continue or complement novels by Jane Austen. These include 'Mansfield Revisited' and 'Jane Fairfax'.
Aiken was a lifelong fan of ghost stories. She set her adult supernatural novel The Haunting Of Lamb House at Lamb House in Rye (now a National Trust property). This ghost story recounts in fictional form an alleged haunting experienced by two former residents of the house, Henry James and E. F. Benson, both of whom also wrote ghost stories. Aiken's father, Conrad Aiken, also authored a small number of notable ghost stories.
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