The Wolves of Willoughby Chase

The Wolves of Willoughby Chase

infobox Book |
name = The Wolves of Willoughby Chase
title_orig =
translator =

image_caption = Puffin edition
author = Joan Aiken
illustrator =
cover_artist =
country = United Kingdom
language = English
series =
genre = Alternate history, Children's novel
publisher =
release_date = 1963
english_release_date =
media_type = Print (Hardback & Paperback)
pages =
isbn = NA
preceded_by =
followed_by =

"The Wolves of Willoughby Chase" is a children's novel by Joan Aiken, first published in 1963. Set in an alternate history of England, it tells of the adventures of cousins Bonnie and Sylvia and their friend Simon the goose-boy as they thwart the evil schemes of their governess Miss Slighcarp.

The novel is the first in the "Wolves" Saga by Joan Aiken, a series of books set in an alternative 19th century England in the reign of King James IV. In this history a large number of wolves migrate from the bitter cold of Europe and Russia into Britain via the Channel Tunnel, and terrorise the inhabitants in their continuing hunting.

It is described by John Rowe Townsend as "a tale of double-dyed villainy, with right triumphant in the end." [John Rowe Townsend. "Written for Children: an Outline of English Children's Literature". (Sixth edition, 1990).]

A film version with the same title was released in 1989. [ [ The Wolves of Willoughby Chase (1989) ] ]


The story is set at Willoughby Chase, the grand home of Sir Willoughby and Lady Green and their daughter Bonnie. Due to Lady Green's need for a vacation, Bonnie's parents are taking a holiday in warmer climates touring the Mediterranean by boat, and leaving her in the care of a newly-arrived distant fourth cousin Letitia Slighcarp. Also due to arrive is Bonnie's orphan cousin Sylvia who lived in London with Sir Willoughby's older sister Jane, coming to keep her cousin company in her parent's absence. Sylvia is contented about the train ride into the vast and beautiful countryside, but the cousins become instant friends on her arrival, with an entire life of playing, skating and adventures together.

Yet the blissful life is not to last. In her parent's absence, Miss Slighcarp takes over the household, dismissing the household servants, threatening to arrest them, wearing Lady Green's gowns, and tampering with Sir Willoughby's legal papers with the help of Mr. Grimshaw, a man who was supposedly knocked unconscious on Sylvia's train and taken into the care of Willoughby Chase. Despite the efforts of James the clever footman spying on Miss Slighcarp for the girls, Pattern (the girl's beloved maid) and Simon, the goose-boy living half wild in the woods, the girl's plans to fetch back their parents goes astray, and Miss Slighcarp sends them to a dismal and horrid orphanage run by the even more horrid Mrs Brisket and her pretentious and spoiled daughetr, Diana. After the news that Bonnie's parents died when their ship sank.

Bonnie and Sylvia quickly weaken under the strain of the difficult living conditions, and Bonnie realises they must find a way to escape due to Sylvia's worsening health. At the orphanage, they try greatly to escape, but any such attempts are cut short by the presence of the wolves. At the end of the story, the girls, after escaping from Mrs. Brisket's orphanage, decide to go to London to stay with their sick aunty. On their arrival they discover their aunt is near death from poverty-induced starvation, but with the help of a doctor downstairs they nurse her back to health. They then return to Willoughby Chase with the police in tow, and trick Miss Slighcarp into revealing her villany before the police. At this moment Bonnie's parents return, having miraculously survived the sinking ship. Miss Slighcarp and Mrs. Brisket are hustled off to jail, while Bonnie and Sylvia live long and happy lives with Bonnie's parents.


Bonnie Green :She is adventurous and confident. She can get very upset though - like when Miss Slighcarp wore her mamma' favourite dress. She is a rather spoiled, but bright little girl. She has dark hair and intelligent blue eyes. She is small but is full of energy.

Sylvia Green :Sylvia is more polite and quiet than her cousin, but she likes to have fun. For her, everything at Willoughby Chase is extravagant and royal. It feels like a palace to her.She has fair hair and is very delicate.

Miss Letitia Slighcarp :She is a spoiled, vain, menacing, evil tyrant in her mid-20s. She wouldn't give a toss what happened to the girls; she only cares about punishment and money.

Mrs Gertrude Brisket:Mrs Brisket is a large, lazy, wealthy woman in her 40s. She owns the orphanage in which Bonnie and Sylvia are sent to.

Diana Brisket:Diana is Mrs Brisket's cruel, childish, pampered, spoiled, vain teenage daughter. She loves being the center of attention and haaving people fuss over her.

Pattern :She is Bonnie's kind-hearted maid. She stays in the house after all the other staff are dismissed, just to make sure the girls would stay safe.

Simon :He lives in the caves of Willoughby Chase and keeps geese. He is said to wear all fur and have a warm voice.


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