The cover is purple. That alone is enough to make me grab for the reissued The Wolves of Willoughby Chase. It’s got a menacing looking wolf as well. That’s what you get when you have channel tunnels that will let anything through from foreign lands. So not a good idea. Joan Aiken was well before her time with that tunnel.
The Wolves of Willoughby Chase is a wonderful book, even if it’s not my favourite in the by now pretty long saga of Willoughby Chase stories. But it sets the scene nicely, and it introduces one of my favourite characters. That’s what’s so fun, actually. We meet two young girls in this one, Bonnie and Sylvia, and then they don’t turn up again in the other books. Except very briefly, a lot later.
We do meet the villain, Miss Slighcarp, and she turns up far too much. She’s probably one of the most long lived and evil women in children’s literature. The wolves are nothing compared to her. But they are scary.
I always think this is quite a Christmassy story. Could it be the snow, or am I just a bit mad?
But it’s a nice mix of cruelty and slavery and courage and friendship and a happy ending. And as I said, it leads on to more wonderful books, and to the marvellous Dido Twite. I’ve tried to find out if Cape are planning to bring out all the books, or if this is a one-off. Still don’t know.
I do hope they are all being reissued. I have very fond memories of finding the books the first time round, going into a particular branch of the large chain store and finding the next book. It worked every time, while many other shops didn’t stock them at all. And Son was as keen as I was. That will be why he has them in his bookcase.
Are they in yours?