Next Saturday will feature three of my favourite fantasy reads.
Joan Aiken’s The Wolves of Willoughby Chase (1963)
It may have been cheating a little to re-read this one for the Shelf Discovery Challenge, but I so adored re-reading it a couple of winters ago that I just could not resist.
The opening paragraph is so wintry and the book itself is so atmospheric.
Miss Slighcarp is the kind of villain that you proverbially love-to-hate and you can’t help rooting for Bonnie and Sylvia.
I have a matching copy of Black Hearts in Battersea that I have never read (well, boys weren’t that interesting in my early WOWC reading years) and I knew that the two books were connected, but didn’t realize that the series itself contains nine books.
There is more information on the Joan Aiken website. Anyone else love this one and go on to read others in the series?
Lyn Cook’s Samantha’s Secret Room (1973)
This childhood favourite crosses the Gosh-Golly-Gee-Jeepers line (which I reveal with fondness because I have read so much kidlit that does cross that line that I occasionally actually use some of these exclamatory remarks, even as an adult in the new millenium) but I still quite enjoyed it despite that old-fashioned feel.
I actually found it felt more old-fashioned than The Root Cellar, which is funny because parts of the Janet Lunn book are inherently old-fashioned because they’re actually set in the time of the American Civil War.
But it doesn’t matter. And nor does it matter that there are a couple of points at which the book feels like a history lesson, under the guise of a visiting character having a tour in the area, because when I read this as a girl I had never been to Penetanguishene and hadn’t even heard of Midland or Saint-Marie Among the Hurons, and now that I have, I love rediscovering it in this novel.
Setting these minor quibbles aside (which anyone who enjoys reading traditional Canlit wouldn’t flinch at), I still love Sam’s spirit, which manages to capture that queer girlish feeling of wanting to please and being pissed off at everybody at the same time, her tomboy-ishness, and her conflicting desires to reach out and still have something that’s just hers alone.
And, of course, I just love the whole Secret Room thing. What kid doesn’t.
How tolerant are you of books that cross the Gosh-Golly-Gee-Jeepers line? Do you have favourites that you know would not appeal to younger readers, for which your nostalgia still holds sway?