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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 listeners say about The Wolves of Willoughby Chase

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Wonderful narration of this 5* adventure

I loved this book and the others in the series as a little girl. I find the quality of the narration makes or breaks an audiobook, no matter how good the writing, and am pleased to report that Lizza Aiken did a stellar job.

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Nostalgic

Nostalgia abounds in this book. Appreciated the history of the book at the beginning, very interesting. Book itself expertly read and as captivating as when I read it as a child. 100%

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Still great

I was happy to share this story with my children - it's still pretty good (I was worried going back to it after 30 years would ruin the magic) and they enjoyed it. The narration was an issue - feel a bit mean for saying so as the author's daughter clearly loves the book, but it makes the experience feel dreadfully dated to children now.

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  • Catherine
  • 05-11-12

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!

4 people found this helpful

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  • MM
  • 15-04-17

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😊

3 people found this helpful

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  • Lisa
  • 27-08-14

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.

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  • Chris
  • 15-04-18

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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  • csmith
  • 06-03-15

Great story

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

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  • william estes
  • 16-01-22

The wolves of Willoughby chase review

It was a thoroughly splendid, enjoyable, marvelously classical book! I would recommend it to anyone who wants to ditch comics and modern books and find enjoyment in the classical works of Joan Aiken, Louisa May Alcott, and L.M. Montgomery. Suitable for all ages above 9 and all sexes!

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  • Tess
  • 19-11-21

Classic

A childhood favorite, this does not disappoint for any age. The narrator is also lovely!

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  • Jessica
  • 18-10-21

A beautiful story with lovely narration.

This is as one of my favorite books as a child. The narration is beautiful and not distracting, allowing the reader to get lost in the tale.

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  • Sierra Maxson
  • 06-09-20

Wonderful Story

The language of this book is not the kind you hear anymore and it most certainly makes you wish for the formality of previous generations. The story kept you wondering if the girls would ever get their happy ending. Neither I nor my boys could wait for the next chapter. Wonderful story.

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  • Bruce
  • 30-01-20

Narrator's encomium for her mother

The innocent goodness of the girls, parents, servants and goose-boy Simon and others work together to derail the evil plans of the "religious" orphan care-giver Miss Slighcarp. Noble nobility, happily subservient servants, very British. The wolves are a bit puzzling as they have been absent from England for a few centuries.