Posted in Adventure, Children's Books, Humour, War

‘Carrie’s War’ by Nina Bawden


Carrie’s War

 

Visiting the wartime village where she and her younger brother were billeted following the evacuation from London, a grown-up Carrie Willow tells her own children of her adventures. But her memories of the Welsh hills, the surly Mr Evans and his timid sister are marred by something she did following one of her many visits to Druid’s Bottom, where the sickly Mrs Gotobed lived with her housekeeper Hepzibah, the odd Mr Johnny and another evacuee, Albert.

I had vague memories of having read this years ago but must have imagined it, as the book was entirely new to me. I read it in one sitting and loved the atmosphere, the strange mix of characters and the slightly sinister plot line that bubbles away on the backburner throughout the book. Nina Bawden’s characters, particularly the mysterious Hepzibah and the bullying Mr Evans, are beautifully drawn, entirely realistic and, ultimately, thoroughly endearing. The ending had me on the edge of my seat and left me in tears, (which doesn’t happen often).

An absolute delight from start to finish.


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Posted in Adventure, Children's Books, Review

‘The Wolves of Willoughby Chase’ by Joan Aitken

the-wolves-of-willoughby-chase
The Wolves of Willoughby Chase

In an England that never existed, in a time of Victorian values, the country is overrun with wolves. When young Sylvia embarks on a long train journey to stay with her cousin Bonnie, things begin to go wrong very quickly. With Bonnie’s parents leaving for sunnier climes, the girls discover their new governess, the sour-faced Miss Slighcarp, has plans that don’t include her distant relatives. Punishing the girls for apparent misdemeanours, she gets rid of all the faithful servants, retaining only those whose outlook is as harsh as her own.

Joan Aiken’s best-known book is written in a style that evokes the finest in children’s literature. The characters and descriptions are at times a little stereotypical (in the Dickensian tradition of highlighting all that is lacking in society), and the girls’ adventures occasionally skim over a little too quickly. Nevertheless, I thoroughly enjoyed my first foray into Ms Aiken’s work and will definitely be reading the other books in the Wolves Chronicle series.



 
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Posted in Adventure, Children's Books

‘Akea’ by Elizabeth Jade


Akea

Born into a family of huskies, Akea soon realises that she is no ordinary dog. When the wolf Kazakh begins to visit her, Akea feels strangely drawn towards him and the wolfpack.

Elizabeth Jade is a young author who has a talent for writing stories. She has created a sensitive and heartening story that reminded me a lot of Jack London’s ‘Call of the Wild’. Her writing style is fresh and thoughtful with a good feel for plot and character. I loved the story arc, the language of the huskies and wolves, and the relationship between Akea and Kazakh.

This is a charming tale that promises great things for more adventures – Elizabeth Jade is already working on Akea’s next adventure.

Elizabeth’s website and blog can be seen here.



 
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