Wolves of Willoughby Chase

Aiken, Joan. The Wolves of Willoughby Chase. New York: Dell Yearling, 1962.

The premise of The Wolves of Willoughby Chase is that danger lurks outside the walls of Willoughby Chase in the form of wolves, but it also lurks within in the form of an wicked governess, a different kind of wolf. After Bonnie’s parents depart for a trip Bonnie and her cousin Sylvia are left alone with Miss Slighcarp, a vicious woman determined to make their lives a living hell. A once warm and happy home is turned into a dirty, cold prison. Just when Bonnie and her cousin think it can’t get any worse they are sent off to an orphanage. It takes some trickery and a lot of help from outside friends for the two cousins to make their escape.
As an aside, I have never lived in an area overrun with any dangerous wild animal. Bonnie’s journey to Willoughby Chase is harrowing. The threat of attack by wolves is constant and astounding, especially when one is able to get on the train through an open window.

Even though this was geared towards children I was impressed with vocabulary. there were even a few words I had to look up: crenelated, oubliette and pelisse.

Quotes I liked, “She was cordially hated by the whole school” (p 113).

Reason read: Joan Aiken was born in September.

Author fact: Aiken won the Lewis Carroll award for The Wolves of Willoughby Chase.

Book trivia: On the edition I read Edward Gorey drew the cover illustration.

BookLust Twist: from More Book Lust in the chapter “Best for Teens” (p 21).



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