Some books are just so enrapturing they have to be reread. The Hobbit, The Sisters Grimm, and The Lord of the Rings are some of these books, at least for me. Unfortunately, many books worth rereading escape my mind! This is why I keep a booklist. Every time I read a book I write it down and rate it. And looking into this booklist, I found the title of a book I had already read but just received as a gift from a visiting friend of ours. So I decided to read it again, and it was certainly a book worth rereading.
The Wolves of Willoughby Chase, by Joan Aiken, is the story of two cousins: Bonnie and Sylvia Green. Sylvia travels to Bonnie’s home, Willoughby Chase, by train. On the train, Sylvia meets Josiah Grimshaw, a somewhat disturbing man. Unfortunately, Mr. Grimshaw is knocked out when his portmanteaux falls on his head, and so he has to travel to Willoughby Chase along with Sylvia. In Willoughby Chase, Mr. and Mrs. Willoughby (Bonnie’s parents) travel south for Mrs. Willoughby’s health. Mr. Willoughby leaves the cousins in the care of Miss Letitia Slighcarp, their new and ominous governess. But Miss Slighcarp isn’t really a governess, and Mr. Grimshaw isn’t really going to stay in bed until he’s better . . .
The Wolves of Willoughby Chase was quite a vivid novel: the characters were as clear to me as if I knew them personally. Simon, a boy who lives in the woods near Willoughby Chase, is excellently described as charming and rustic, although uncomfortable with crowds and especially talkative people. I can lucidly picture his tousled black hair; his welcoming, freckled face; his soft brown eyes. Evil Miss Slighcarp is also described exceptionally well as a spiteful, tall, thin figure with beady black eyes. When Miss Slighcarp first entered the story, I wanted to shake the book!
No boring chapters of nothingness existed in this story. It was actually remarkably fast-paced. In a small half hour, I was almost at the last pages! Words (and time) flew by me without my noticing at all. The story was also considerably mysterious: what plans had Miss Slighcarp devised? Were Mr. and Mrs. Willoughby dead? Would the girls live miserably ever after?
The Wolves of Willoughby Chase was a pictorial and engaging book. It’s no wonder it’s a classic, because this book is worth rereading a million times!
You can buy this book here.