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Black Hearts in Battersea by Joan Aiken
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Black Hearts in Battersea (original 1964; edition 1999)

by Joan Aiken

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681914,027 (4.18)104
Member:Crazymamie
Title:Black Hearts in Battersea
Authors:Joan Aiken
Info:Sandpiper (1999), Paperback, 240 pages
Collections:Your library, Kindle, Completed in 2013
Rating:****
Tags:children's literature, England, English author

Work details

Black Hearts in Battersea by Joan Aiken (1964)

  1. 20
    Fly by Night by Frances Hardinge (Sakerfalcon)
    Sakerfalcon: Similar period settings and society, with intelligent, unscrupulous heroines. Both books are exciting, subversive and extremely well-written.
  2. 10
    The Borribles by Michael De Larrabeiti (FrederFrederson)
  3. 00
    The Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket (Bjace)
    Bjace: Same sort of children-in-peril series.
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» See also 104 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
Two orphans, Simon and Sophie are at the heart of this story. Simon arrives in London at the invitation of a doctor friend who wishes to encourage him in his art studies, but the good Dr Field seems to have vanished into thin air. Simon soon meets the Duke of Battersea who invites him to play chess and before he knows it, he is embroiled in a plot to depose the fictitious King James III, this series being set in an alternate reality which is a bit beyond my comprehension, having not yet sorted out who the various English kings were in reality, let alone in an alternate history version! Must admit it took me a while to get into the story and about halfway through I was ready to give up because I found there were lots of disjoined bits, none of which seemed to connect, but I was well rewarded for sticking to it till the end, when it all came together beautifully. Lots of Dickensian touches with a great big cast of London characters including an impish pest of a girl you can't help but liking, and of course, this being a children's book from the 20th century, you can expect a happy ending. ( )
  Smiler69 | Jul 3, 2014 |
Just as much fun, and in the same vein, as Wolves of Willoughby Chase; melodrama on all sorts of levels. Here the alternate history does come into play - the villains are Hanoverians, who want to put Prince George on the throne instead of King James (the reverse of our history). But that's just a side-story (though it drives the rest) - there are mysterious disappearances, eccentric nobles, a long-lost heir or two (plus a pretender), multiple attempted assassinations, on and on. Not to mention fighting off wolves in Hyde and Battersea Parks in London, a shipwreck, and a long trip by balloon. I'm a little surprised the kitten never got a name. And I'm very glad that I know the series goes on with Dido - her loss is a hard blow for Simon. Great story - next, please! ( )
  jjmcgaffey | Nov 7, 2013 |
Young Simon arrives in London, expecting to meet Dr. Field, who has promised to help him enroll in the art academy. But Dr. Field is nowhere to be found, and no one appears to have any recollection of him.

So begins a delightful romp full of intrigue and mystery in early nineteenth century London. If you've already had the pleasure of reading The Wolves of Willoughby Chase, then you should enjoy this follow up story as well. Not just for kids! ( )
  fuzzi | Oct 14, 2013 |
This second volume in the Wolves Chronicles follows the adventures of Simon the goose-boy, who journeys to London from the Willoughby estate, intent on studying art and becoming a great painter. Nothing is quite as he expected however, and as he makes friends in places high and low, Simon soon finds himself at the center of a dastardly Hanoverian plot...

A humorously convoluted Victorian melodrama, complete with plots, assassination attempts, kidnappings, shipwrecks, hidden identities, secret societies, and hot-air balloon escapes, Black Heart in Battersea also has the distinction of introducing into the pages of children's literature one of its most distinctive heroines. The incomparable Dido Twite, with her awful language, defiant manner, and appearance like a "molting sparrow," cannot boast a very auspicious debut, but she carries within her the seeds of all those qualities that most matter in Aiken's world: bravery, loyalty and love. In a word, she has heart...

It is my good fortune to own a copy of the original (American) edition of this book, which is illustrated by Robin Jacques, whose work is perhaps best known from Ruth Manning-Sanders' folktale collections. It seems a real shame to me that these illustrations have been omitted from later editions. ( )
1 vote AbigailAdams26 | Jun 28, 2013 |
I just discovered this delightful series last year thanks to Heather and Dee. This is the second book in the series of The Wolves Chronicles by Joan Aiken, and although they were originally published in the 1960s, they are new to me. I wish that I had known about these children's books when my own children were smaller because they would make wonderful read aloud books. Packed with action and charming characters and dastardly villains whose evil plans must be foiled, these stories are just begging to be read at bedtime. Sophie and Simon are back from the first book, but we also get to meet an entire cast of new characters including my personal favorite Dido Twite. If you're looking for an adventure full of mayhem and humor that is for the young and the young at heart alike, this is a series not to be missed. ( )
1 vote Crazymamie | Jan 15, 2013 |
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» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Joan Aikenprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Gorey, EdwardCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jacques, RobinIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Marriott, PatIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For Jessica and Joanna
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On a fine warm evening in late summer, over a hundred years ago, a boy might have been seen leading a donkey across Southwark Bridge in the city of London.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0395971284, Paperback)

Simon, the foundling from The Wolves of Willoughby Chase, arrives in London to meet an old friend and pursue the study of painting. Instead he finds himself unwittingly in the middle of a wicked crew's fiendish caper to overthrow the good King James and the Duke and Duchess of Battersea. With the help of his friend Sophie and the resourceful waif Dido, Simon narrowly escapes a series of madcap close calls and dangerous run-ins. In a time and place where villains do nothing halfway, Simon is faced with wild wolves, poisoned pies, kidnapping, and a wrecked ship. This is a cleverly contrived tale of intrigue and misadventure.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:38:39 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Simon, the foundling from the earlier book, The wolves of Willoughy Chase, arrives in London to meet an old friend and pursue the study of painting, but he finds himself in the middle of a wicked crew's plan to overthrow good King James and the Duke and Duchess of Battersea.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 3 descriptions

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