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Book Review of The Wolves of Willoughby Chase (Wolves Chronicles, Bk 1)

The Wolves of Willoughby Chase (Wolves Chronicles, Bk 1)
reviewed on + 3 more book reviews

This book will appeal to pre-teen girls, since the young
protagonists are two cousins who survive eerie events mainly because of their wits and their devotion to each other. Three new arrivals at Willoughby Chase--four hours from London--impact the quiet, country estate. On the eve of the parents' departure for sunny climes for the mother's delicate health, the kindly squire fails to scrutinize the face and motives of his distant cousin, one Miss Slighcarp. This classic villainess plans to curb Bonnie's impulsive nature and to cover timid Sylvia, once the adults have departed for their (ill-fated) voyage. Readers soon discover that this "governess" is not alone in her scheme to take over the estate and disinherit the girls.

This delightful book begs to be read aloud; it defies the usual genre definition, yet charms by its unique style. Referring to the title, wolves are indeed very much a part of this story, as they prove a real threat to human life in long ago England. Roaming in voracious packs they prove a nocturnal menace to children and adults alike. So who will protect these isolated little girls from the vicious predators--with four and two legs? Fortunately there are two loyal servants and an enterprising goose boy who stand by our heroines, stepping up bravely to defy Slighcarp and her cronies.

WOLVES is reminiscent of Dickens because of the strange names of many characters (personality hints) and the author's shocking expose of harsh conditions in an "orphanage," which seems more like a workhouse or prison. The children prove resourceful and pro-active in their own behalf---not the passive victims Miss Slighcarp expected. Thus the Deus ex Machina ending still satisfies. WOLVES is a cute, clever and highly enjoyable read for kids of all ages!

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