Listen free for 30 days

£7.99/month after 30 days. Cancel anytime

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

Average customer ratings
Overall
  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    8
  • 4 Stars
    2
  • 3 Stars
    0
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0
Performance
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    6
  • 4 Stars
    1
  • 3 Stars
    1
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0
Story
  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    6
  • 4 Stars
    2
  • 3 Stars
    0
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

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.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Catherine
  • 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

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for MM
  • 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

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Lisa
  • 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.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for csmith
  • 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.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Sierra Maxson
  • 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.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Bruce
  • 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.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Carol Kristofik
  • Carol Kristofik
  • 22-01-20

good book!

I like it a lot. it was really fun and interesting. - 9 year old girl review

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for C Grundy
  • C Grundy
  • 30-01-19

Wonderful Adventure with two heroines

The wolves of Willoughby Chase is such an amazing book it allows the reader to delve in to an imaginary age of wolf hunts and shipwrecks. But also really lighthearted at times when the two together make everything better.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Marith Adams
  • Marith Adams
  • 03-08-18

Stunning reading of one of my cherished childhood memories

Wow! I assume listening to this book read out loud by the author had a great influence on her! Joan Aiken's daughter, Lizza Aiken, lends The Wolves of Willoughby Chase a depth and beauty very few professional readers could give. Her voice is quite lovely, her ability to "read out loud", incredible, and her way of giving each character it's own cadence and inflection, amazing. I was so impressed, I truly wish she would think about doing other audio books. I would be standing in line to listen!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Chris
  • 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.