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Joan Aiken was born on 4 September 1924 in Rye, East Sussex and produced one of her best-loved works, The Wolves of Willoughby Chase, in 1962, the first in her highly acclaimed series, the 'Wolves Chronicles'. Many classics followed, and Joan was awarded the MBE for services to Children's Literature in 1999. Much loved as a writer of astonishing imagination for adults and children alike, she died on 4 January 2004 at the age of seventy-nine.
Good King James III is on the throne and the country is ravaged by wolves which have migrated through the newly-opened Channel Tunnel. When Sylvia and Bonnie fall into the hands of evil Miss Slighcarp, they must use all their wits to escape unscathed. August 2010 Guest Editor Veronica Henry on The Wolves of Willoughby Chase... This wonderful tale kicks off a series of gripping adventures in Jacobean England, and definitely gave me a hunger for writing – I found my copy the other day, with Joan Aiken name firmly crossed out and replaced with my own in pencil. I only wish I did have her page-turning powers!
Strong and independent Vahalla Montgomery, a heroine straight out of a Henry James novel, abandons her New York career as a journalist to search for her half-brother in Joan Aiken's gothic novel, Castle Barebane.Wishing to escape from her pretentious New York fiance, Valla is happy to have an excuse to travel to England, only to discover that her half-brother and his wife have disappeared from their London home - leaving their young two children all alone. Finding Victorian London a gloomy and sinister place, haunted by a series of Ripper style murders, Valla takes the children up to Scotland to a bleak family property known as Castle Barebane. In this Gothic ruin, perched on the edge of a cliff, the mystery surrounding her missing brother only gets darker, and more terrifying . . . This unforgettable tale of love, loss, and human nature is brought to life by Joan Aiken's vivid story-telling and gripping plot. If you love Virginia Andrews or Nicola Cornick, Joan Aiken should certainly be your next read.
Jane Austen gave life to the fictional Watson family in 1803, but sadly abandoned them five chapters in - now Joan Aiken completes their story in her ingenious novel, Emma Watson.Emma Watson has been brought up by her aunt in a wealthy and refined household, an educated lifestyle far removed from her widowed father and five siblings. So when her aunt enters into an imprudent second marriage, nineteen-year-old Emma is sent back home and must join her sisters in their pursuit of a husband . . .Aiken takes on the fate of Austen's characters with confidence and skill, flawlessly entwining themes of loss and love together in this stunning regency pastiche.
Jane Austen's Mansfield Park famously narrates the story of poor little Fanny Price sent to live with her mother's grander sisters - the Ward family. Written almost two centuries later, Joan Aiken's powerful sequel reverses the story and introduces us to The Youngest Miss Ward, Hatty, sent to fend for herself with the poor relations.Although creative, charismatic and witty, Hatty Ward lacks the beauty that her older sisters inherited and is left without a dowry to care for their ill mother once her sisters are married off. Sent to Portsmouth to live with her rumbustious uncle and cousins, Hatty turns her creative flair to poetry and believes she must become a governess, that is until handsome Lord Camber passes through town . . .With imagination and authenticity Joan Aiken captures the customs and language of Austen's England in this one of a kind sequel, revealing a subversive and unique heroine.
Two very different - yet physically identical - young ladies meet at a boarding school once attended by Jane Austen in Joan Aiken's engrossing historical novel, Deception.Self-righteous Louisa wants to escape her grand family life in Northumberland and become a missionary in India. Imaginative and quiet Alvey has no family and only longs for peaceful independence to complete her novel.So when Louisa suggests swapping identities it seems like the perfect plan: Alvey will have a peaceful country manor in which to write her book and Louisa will be free to voyage across the globe. But when Alvey becomes a beloved and indispensible member of her extraordinary new family, how will they view the return of the horrible Louisa?Joan Aiken weaves a complicated plot of deception and identity, peopled with strong female characters, in this unique historical romance.
'Joan Aiken's invention seemed inexhaustible, her high spirits a blessing, her sheer storytelling zest a phenomenon. She was a literary treasure, and her books will continue to delight for many years to come' PHILLIP PULLMAN 'Favourite stories, like unexpected presents, are things that you can keep and cherish all your life, carry with you, in memory, in your mind's ear, and bring out, at any time, when you are feeling lonely, or need cheering up, or, like friends, just because you are fond of them.' Joan Aiken is justly famous for her Wolves of Willoughby Chase series, but her greatest love was for short stories, which she wrote prolifically throughout her long career From a princess turned into a pirate parrot to a procession of Father Christmases chased down Fifth Avenue by a rackety horse and cart; from the ghost of a crusader's dog, to a captured mermaid in a flying machine, there is something for everybody in this enthralling collection. These stories showcase Aiken's unique talents - the way she mixed magic and myth with humour to create a kind of modern fairytale. Her stories will appeal to readers of all ages for many years to come. WITH BEAUTIFUL ILLUSTRATIONS BY PETER BAILEY
Prize winning WOLVES CHRONICLES PREQUEL reissued in A Puffin Book - All 12 Wolves books now in print for the first time ever. In THE WHISPERING MOUNTAIN by Joan Aiken, the small town of Pennygaff, the legendary Harp of Teirtu is found - and lost again. For young Owen Hughes and his friend Arabis, it is the start of a hair-raising race to save the harp from sinister Lord Malyn. As they struggle to keep it out of his hands, they are plunged into a wild adventure involving murder, kidnapping, underground worlds, savage beasts, floods, avalanche, the mysterious children of the Pit - and above all, a man who will stop at nothing to get the harp back again. Winner of the 1969 Guardian Fiction Award.
Here are eight gloriously imaginative stories for eight satisfying sessions of bedtime reading. Theres a flying apple pie, a cat thats bigger than an elephant, a house that lays an egg, storybook animals that leap out of their books at night, and a wealth of other wonderful characters and ideas, all with the colorful, dreamlike quality of the very best fairy tales.Joan Aikens delicious prose is a joy to read aloud to very young listeners yet simple enough for the independent reader to savor on his or her own. Kevin Hawkess illustrations nearly 60 of them capture with great flair and fun the magical adventures and the triumph of the good over the bad.
'The Under People. They live in a huge Cave. They are thought to be boring upwards. Giant worms and flying ants. Underground magic.' Mickle, the palace cat, knows the kingdom is in danger. He can feel it in his whiskers and he has found a mysterious note in the royal library... (Yes, of course he can read, and speak - if he chooses to!) Mickle can't trust the King and Queen with his mission, so he and Prince Michael, with the help of their animal friends (and quite a bit of magic!), set out on a perilous quest to find the sinister Under People, discover their secret power and save the Kingdom of Astalon. In her first novel, written when she was only a teenager, Joan Aiken showcases the imagination, wit and storytelling zest that would lead to classics like Arabel's Raven and The Wolves of Willoughby Chase.
'I wish we'll have two children called Mark and Harriet. And I hope lots of interesting and unusual things will happen to them. It would be nice if they had a fairy godmother, for instance. And a phoenix or something out of the ordinary for a pet. We could have a special day for interesting and unusual things to happen - say, Mondays. But not always Mondays, and not only Mondays, or that would get a bit dull' As a result of their mother's honeymoon wish, Mark and Harriet Armitage have a fairy godmother, a pet unicorn, and are prepared for anything life can throw at them (especially, but not always, on a Monday): hatching griffins in the airing cupboard, Latin lessons with a ghost, furious Furies on the doorstep, and an enchanted garden locked inside a cereal packet. Life with the Armitages can be magical, funny, terrifying - but never, ever dull.
This is the fifth title about Arabel and her beloved but impossible raven, Mortimer. An enormous hole is being dug in the park and rumour has it that King Arthur's round table is buried there. None of this interests Mortimer however; his fancy has been taken by the giant grass-cutting machine, the LawnSabre. Mortimer finally gets to work the machine but with disastrous consequences for the round table and the sword Excalibur! Another funny and outrageous story about Arabel and Mortimer from Joan Aiken and Quentin Blake.
In a period of English History that never happened, when Good King James III is on the throne, and the whole country is ravaged by wolves which have migrated through the newly-opened Channel Tunnel. When orphans Bonnie and Sylvia fall into the hands of evil Miss Slighcarp, they need all their wits - and the help of Simon the goose-boy - to escape unscathed, for the governess is more cruel and merciless than the wolves that surround the great house of Willoughby Chase. Filled with brilliantly-drawn Dickensian characters, it would make an excellent choice for strong preteen readers who like an old-fashioned story with a strong plot and good characterisation. This book often appears on lists of best-loved children's books.
Dido's sister, Is, travels north to try and find her lost cousin. But instead of the promised Playland, she discovers an underground kingdom where children work as slaves in the worst conditions imaginable - under the rule of the sinister Gold Kingy...
When Arabel and the raven Mortimer spend a fun-packed evening with their favourite babysitter, Chris Cross, they have no idea of the chaos they create in their wake. A reckless game of dressing up and hide and seek results in a big crash, a trumpet wedged onto Mortimer's head and a milk shortage. While Arabel, Mortimer and Chris are out replacing the milk, Arabel's parents return home to find the house empty and apparently ransacked. They fear the worst! Can it be that a black mamba has escaped from the zoo or has Arabel been kidnapped? Policemen, firemen and anxious ladies comb the streets in search of the missing trio, who are blissfully unaware of the chaos they have caused.