I had heard that Joan Aiken was a famous author of children’s stories, so I thought I should read/listen to one of her famous stories. This one won a Lewis Carroll Award.
Stats: First published in 1962, print 181 pages, audio 4 discs – 4′ 49″, this version was read by her daughter – Lissa Aiken
Blurb: Wicked wolves and a grim governess threaten Bonnie and her cousin Sylvia when Bonnie’s parents leave Willoughby Chase for a sea voyage. Left in the care of the cruel Miss Slighcarp, the girls can hardly believe what is happening to their once happy home. The servants are dismissed, the furniture is sold, and Bonnie and Sylvia are sent to a prison-like orphan school. It seems as if the endless hours of drudgery will never cease.
With the help of Simon the gooseboy and his flock, they escape. But how will they ever get Willoughby Chase free from the clutches of the evil Miss Slighcarp?
What I liked: The writing was quite good and after a time, when it really took off, it was an interesting story, even for an adult reading a MG book. Aiken also did a good job pulling you into the time that the story took place. One of the best things was the “cruel Miss Slighcarp.” She was a really bad, bad guy. this story was read by Joan’s daughter, Lissa and she did a nice job.
What I didn’t like: The beginning was slow and it took quite a while for it to pick up.