The Wolves of Willoughby Chase: The Wolves Chronicles

By Joan Aiken. 4 CDs. 4:49 hrs. Prod. by Listening Library. Dist. by Listening Library/Books on Tape. 2012. ISBN 978-0-307-00128-7. $25.
RedReviewStarGr 4–7—The release of this audiobook coincides with the 50th anniversary of the publication of Aiken's well-loved novel (Doubleday, 1962), and it couldn't be a more fitting tribute. The narrator, the author's daughter Lizza Aiken, savors every word as she takes us through the dark wolf infested woods of Willoughby Chase to the rich, luxurious world of Bonnie, a headstrong only child whose world suddenly descends into hardship and grief at the hands of the unscrupulous Miss Slighcarp and her cohorts when her parents leave for a sea voyage. Bonnie and her cousin Sylvia are sent to a school for orphans. Aiken voices Sylvia's longing and Bonnie's defiance as she tries to take on the numerous villains. But there are gentle voices as well—the dear housekeeper, the gooseboy, and the loyal house servant—each expressing their unique concern so that listeners are never overwhelmed by the harsh treatment the girls receive. While there is a sense of the threat of wolves outside as well as inside, the book ends with the promise of spring, the wolves have headed to northern climes, the bad guys are off to jail, and order is restored. This delightful audiobook is sure to create new fans.—Edie Ching, University of Maryland, College Park

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