The Wolves of Willoughby Chase by Joan Aiken
The Wolves of Willoughby Chase is the first book in the Wolves Saga by Joan Aiken, a series of books set in an alternative 18th century England in the reign of King James III. In this altered history a large number of wolves migrate from the bitter cold of Europe and Russia into Britain via the Channel Tunnel, and terrorize the inhabitants in their continuing hunting.
The story is set at Willoughby Chase, the grand home of Lord Willoughby and Lady Green and their daughter Bonnie. Due to Lady Green's wasting illness, Bonnie's parents are taking a holiday in warmer climates and leaving her in the care of the Lord's newly-arrived distant cousin Letitia Slighcarp. Also due to arrive is Bonnie's orphan cousin Sylvia who lived in London with Lord Willoughby's poorer sister Aunt Jane, coming to keep he... Read More
Joan Aiken has written about 100 fiction and nonfiction books for children and adults and numerous short stories and plays. Besides fantasy, she often wrote crime thrillers.
The Wolves Chronicles — (1962-2005) Ages 9-12. Publisher: In this chilling beginning to The Wolves Chronicles, two little cousins are left in the care of an evil governess. They escape and travel 400 miles to London with their friend Simon and his geese.
The Wolves of Willoughby Chase by Joan Aiken
Black Hearts in Battersea by Joan Aiken
Black Hearts in Battersea is the second book in Joan Aiken's beloved Wolves saga, beginning with The Wolves of Willoughby Chase and continuing in Nightbirds in Nantucket. Each book can be read separately and out of order (i.e., each is a separate story, not one big story broken into several parts), linked by re-appearing characters, plot lines and locations. Each is set in a cleverly devised "parallel universe" where historical figures and events are changed from what we would recognize in our own history books.
In this case, the action takes place in London, where Britain is ruled by good King James III and plagued by marauding wolves immigrating from Russia, with other little snippets of an alternative history slipped in to... Read More
Nightbirds on Nantucket by Joan Aiken
When we last saw Dido Twite at the end of Black Hearts in Battersea she was going down with the Dark Dew ship, swept away from her friends Simon and Justin in the middle of the ocean. Whilst the two boys were forced to go on without her (eventually preventing an assassination attempt on the Duke of Battersea), Dido's fate remained a mystery, that Joan Aiken now resolves for expectant readers in the third book in her Wolves Saga.
After a ten month long sleep, Dido awakes on board a whaler in the middle of the Arctic sea, on a boat completely covered in icicles and frost. There she meets young Nate, a ship's hand, who informs her of her surroundings, of how far she is from home. Also on board is the fox-like and slimy Mr Slighcarp and the moony Captain Casket, who is determined to chase and catch the magnificent pink wha... Read More
The Cuckoo Tree by Joan Aiken
After her light-hearted adventures on the island of Nantucket in the previous installment in Joan Aiken's Wolves Saga, Dido Twite comes up against darker enemies once she reaches English soil once more. At the end of the last book, Dido left Nantucket with Captain Hughes, who since then has become rather ill. When the carriage they're riding in overtips thanks to a dodgy cabby-driver, Dido goes for help and soon finds herself in the company of more weird and wonderful acquaintances — so many in fact, that they add up to more than all of the previous books put together!
Finding shelter for Captain Hughes thanks to the Tegleaze Manor House and its inhabitants (the spoilt young heir Tobis, the matriarchal and domineering Lady Tegleaze and the strange, creepy Tante Sannie) Dido soon suspects the makings of another Hanoverian plot to usurp the British throne and wre... Read More
A Touch of Chill by Joan Aiken
Joan Aiken is one of my favourite authors, best known among children as the writer of the alternative-history series The Wolves Chronicles. She is also a writer for adults, and the same sense of imagination, wit and mystery found in her earlier books are found in this collected anthology of creepy and twisted short stories. Although the title claims that these are stories of "horror, suspense and fantasy," this is a little misleading. It's not that these stories aren't any of these things, it's just that Aiken does not write typical short stories in this genre — these tales are seldom wrapped up in a neat little bow, and often Aiken is more interested in crafting an unsettling atmosphere than answering questions that her stories raise. As such, many of the stories do not seem particularly creepy , and those who are used to their horror stories being filled wi... Read More
The Cockatrice Boys — (1966) Ages 9-12. Publisher: What does a cockatrice enjoy most for dinner? Anyone it can find. So the alarmed inhabitants of England discover when a plague of monsters-known as cockatrices-invade their country and begin gobbling them up. They must be stopped! A plucky band of survivors dubbed the Cockatrice Corps- including youngsters Dakin and Sauna-decide to fight back. But how? A rollicking adventure filled with breathtaking twists and turns, The Cockatrice Boys is Joan Aiken at her comic best.
Midnight is a Place — (1974) Ages 9-12. Publisher: Lucas Bell lives at Midnight Court with his ill-tempered guardian, Sir Randolph, and longs for a friend to take away his loneliness. Then Anna-Marie arrives. Spoilt and wilful, she is practically half Lucas’s age. But one night something terrible happens, and together they fight to survive.
The Shadow Guests — (1980) Ages 9-12. Publisher: After the mysterious disappearance of both his mother and older brother, Cosmo is sent away to live with his eccentric mathematician aunt. Lonely and confused, Cosmo must also deal with being the new kid at school. Not an easy assignment! But things take a weird twist when Cosmo is visited by ghosts from the past. Ghosts who claim to need his help fighting an ancient curse! Only in time will Cosmo learn that he is at the center of that ancient… and deadly… curse.
The Shoemaker’s Boy — (1991) Ages 9-12. Publisher: “I have come to ask a favour of you…” It is a night for visitors for Jem, the shoemaker’s boy, working alone in his father’s famous shop. First, there strange green children ask him for a set of silver keys, which he knows nothing about. Then a black knight comes requesting a fine pair of boots — and also asks for keys. But the third visitor proves to be the strangest — and most magical — of them all…
The Serial Garden: The Complete Armitage Family Stories — (2008) Ages 9-12. Publisher: This is the first complete collection of Joan Aiken’s beloved Armitage stories-and it includes four new, unpublished stories. After Mrs. Armitage makes a wish, the Armitage family has “interesting and unusual” experiences every Monday (and the occasional Tuesday). The Board of Incantation tries to take over their house to use as a school for young wizards; the Furies come to stay; and a cutout from a cereal box leads into a beautiful and tragic palace garden. Charming and magical, the uncommon lives of the Armitage family will thrill and delight readers young and old. Includes Joan Aiken’s “Prelude” from Armitage, Armitage, Fly Away Home, as well as introductions from Joan Aiken’s daughter, Lizza Aiken, and best-selling author Garth Nix.