The Wolves of Willoughby Chase by Joan Aiken has been my favorite novel of the year (so far). I was able to borrow the audio version through my library and stream it through our van’s Bluetooth feature on our vacation several weeks ago. The book is read by Lizza Aiken, Joan Aiken’s daughter. In the introduction, she shares how her mother came to write the story and the adventure that the manuscript itself had before finally being published in 1962.
There are wolves that roam the moors in England. They travel in packs and threaten all who travel by train or carriage. And there are even wolves at Willoughby Chase! This is a moving story about two orphans, Bonnie and Sylvia, who are mistreated by their evil governess, Miss Slighcarp. The orphans bravely face many discouraging situations, but their pluck and resourcefulness aid them through one obstacle after another. They are also helped along by a faithful nanny, Patton, and a loyal friend named Simon, and of course, Providence. The girls survive and even thrive through heartache and disappointment. I enjoyed the plot twists and turns.
We enjoyed listening to this as a family while we traveled on our own adventure. I highly recommend it as a family read aloud or just for personal enjoyment. It’s appropriate for ages 9 – 99, so why not give it a try? It is well deserving of its “classic” status.