The Wolves of Willoughy Chase
by Joan Aiken
Considering this book is over 50 years old, I can't believe I'd never read it before! It is considered one of the classics of children's fiction, and the cover art is all done by Edward Gorey - who I LOVE! So why did it take me so long to read this!?
The setting is in a re-imagined Victorian England, complete with terrorizing packs of hungry wolves, orphans, resourceful servants, forgery, skulduggery, a grand estate with secret passageways, a terrifying governess, and two of the most brave little heroines that you could ever imagine. And did I mention that it is suspenseful? Delightfully so, I was quickly turning each page to find out what would become of our sweet heroines.
When young orphaned Sylvia is sent to live with her cousin Bonnie Green she is welcomed into a world of luxury, loving parents and servants, warm cozy beds and blankets, beautiful clothes, silver ice skates, delicious dinners ...however everything quickly changes as Bonnie's parents set off on a long sea voyage and the girls are left in the care of their distant cousin, Miss Slighcarp, their new governess. All of this begins the story, set within the background of fierce wolves stalking and baying, willing to attack at any moment.
Soon we find out that Miss Slighcarp is not what she should be, and that the impending doom for the young girls is not the wolves at all!
Of course Bonnie and Sylvia are two of the most endearing characters I've encountered, and their resourcefulness and bravery should never be overlooked, they will not allow Miss Slighcarp's evil plans to endure!
Now I have the next two books awaiting me, I know that they are loose follow ups to the first and do not necessarily continue the story of Bonnie and Sylvia, but I'm enthralled with Joan Aiken's writing and can't wait to continue.
Black Hearts in Battersea (Book #2)
Night-Birds on Nantucket (Book #3)