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Publisher's Summary

Wicked wolves and a grim governess threaten Bonnie and her cousin Sylvia when Bonnie's parents leave Willoughby Chase for a sea voyage. Left in the care of the cruel Miss Slighcarp, the girls can hardly believe what is happening to their once happy home. The servants are dismissed, the furniture is sold, and Bonnie and Sylvia are sent to a prison-like orphan school. It seems as if the endless hours of drudgery will never cease.

With the help of Simon the gooseboy and his flock, they escape. But how will they ever get Willoughby Chase free from the clutches of the evil Miss Slighcarp?

©2012 Joan Aiken (P)2012 Listening Library

Critic Reviews

"This year can boast one genuine small masterpiece. . . . The Wolves of Willoughby Chase . . . is almost a copybook lesson in those virtues that a classic children's book must possess: charm, a style of its own, the skill and authority to create a small world without writing down to small readers." ( Time Magazine)
"It's a funny book. The language is so fantastically right." ( School Library Journal)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Catherine
  • Burkittsville, Maryland, USA
  • 11-05-12

Charming!

This is a beautifully read Gothic tale for young people, fun for adults, too. Think The Secret Garden plus Dickens with just a dash of alternative world: those wolves!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Loved this book when I read it in grade school

I still love it as an adult. I plan on reading her other books in addition😊

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Great story, not-so-awesome reading

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Wolves of Willoughby Chase?

I love this story, but the reading was slightly disappointing. It's probably because I grew up listening to this story on audiocassette and the reader was much livelier and more energized than this audiobook. I wonder if I hadn't experienced that at first if the reader wouldn't bother me as much.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Great story

Great story I love how much Sylvia and Bonnie care for each other The story is very exciting and adventurous.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Chris
  • Washington, DC
  • 04-15-18

A classic comes alive!

Any additional comments?

I loved this book as a kid and I love it just as much as an adult. In The Wolves of Willoughby Chase, Joan Aiken presents an exciting story filled with memorable characters, including plucky orphans, cruel villains, terrifying wolves, and a boy who raises chickens. The protagonists, cousins Sylvia and Bonnie Green, will earn a cherished place in your memory as clever, affectionate heroines who use courage, intelligence and ingenuity in a quest to overcome seemingly insurmountable odds.

In addition to being memorable and appealing, Aiken’s tale is a lovingly crafted pastiche, which pays tribute to several different genres, including ghost stories, Gothic novels, and the works of Charles Dickens (which truly are a genre unto themselves). The prose is both eloquent and elegant. When you read it, you will yearn for the days in which everyone spoke in grammatically correct sentences and children could be expected to know the definitions of words like, “slavering” and “reticule.” In short, Joan Aiken makes the English language sing.

I can think of no better narrator for this book than Lizza Aiken, whose performance is both natural and engrossing. The audiobook begins with an essay by Lizza Aiken in which she discusses her mother’s life and the process by which she wrote The Wolves of Willoughby Chase. Apparently, Joan Aiken gathered her two children together (Lizza has a brother, John) and read them each chapter of the book as it was written. You can almost hear Lizza channeling her mother as she narrates.

If you loved The Wolves of Willoughby Chase in your childhood, this audiobook will rekindle all of your glorious memories of it. If you are reading the book for the first time, you and your children will surely find it to be a great joy to which you will want to return year after year.

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A Perfect Story

If you could sum up The Wolves of Willoughby Chase in three words, what would they be?

Wonderful, Exciting, Satisfying

Which scene was your favorite?

All of it

Any additional comments?

This book is every bit as good as I remember it being when I read it as a child, and an equally compelling, sweet read for an adult. A good book for parents and children to listen to together, it is by turns thrilling, frightening, and ultimately quite happy.

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Suspenseful, Superb.

If you could sum up The Wolves of Willoughby Chase in three words, what would they be?

Gripping tale told masterfully.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Bonnie and Jane, of course.

What does Lizza Aiken bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

The charming English accent! The fact that she mentions the book was written by her mother was meaningful to me.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

A fearful turn of events experienced with a true friend in the setting of a quaint English manor and countryside...(long tag line)

Any additional comments?

We enjoyed this excellent book and were very pleased with the audio version.