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Midnight Is a Place (1974)

by Joan Aiken

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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5291235,224 (3.94)62
Fourteen-year-old Lucas leads a lonely, monotonous life in the house of his unpleasant guardian until the unexpected arrival of an unusual little girl presages a series of events that completely change his life.

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» See also 62 mentions

English (11)  German (1)  All languages (12)
Showing 1-5 of 11 (next | show all)
I love these Dickens-like reads. ( )
  RobertaLea | Feb 2, 2020 |
The author, Joan Aiken, has a writing style that appealed to me as a child, but as an adult it still has me turning the pages of her books with alacrity, wondering how each situation will be resolved. There is only a little foreshadowing, too, though the younger reader might miss subtle references altogether. Good characters, twisty plots, and enough descriptions to illustrate the tale without bogging it down. ( )
  fuzzi | Mar 31, 2019 |
I was interested to read this view of Blastburn, as compared to the Blastburn/Holdernesse/Playland in Is Underground. This is a far more realistic story than Is's - no magical thought messages or anything like that, just fraud, extortion, vicious pranks and plots, and a grim, dark setting. Plus, well, a couple kids - upper-class kids, at that - managing for themselves after every adult responsible for them is either dead, injured, or deliberately rejecting them - not very realistic, but still well-presented. For all that, there's hope - there's people who love one another, people striving to achieve their dreams and to help others to the same achievement, and a hopeful - not happy, but hopeful - ending. I can't quite see this Blastbourne turning into Is's - at least, not once Holdernesse turns out to be nice guy - but give it a generation or two and just about anything could happen. But then I'd have expected to find some Bells or Murgatroyds around the old town. Good story, and probably more worth rereading than most of the Wolves series proper. ( )
1 vote jjmcgaffey | Nov 22, 2013 |
Although this entertaining Victorian melodrama shares no characters with any of the books in Aiken's Wolves Chronicles, it is set in the same fictional Britain as the series. Opening in Blastburn, the dreary industrial city last seen in The Wolves of Willoughby Chase, the novel follows the adventures of Lucas and Anna-Marie, two well-to-do children who find themselves unexpectedly orphaned and penniless.

As Lucas and Anna-Marie struggle to survive in a cold and hostile world, they also find themselves involved in many of the convoluted plot-lines for which Aiken is well-known. This well-constructed novel has always been one of the author's best-known works, but I have never found it as satisfying a read as some of her others. The characters simply don't interest me enough to arouse a strong emotional reaction. Fair or not, Anna-Marie is no Dido Twite. ( )
1 vote AbigailAdams26 | Jun 28, 2013 |
Dark melodrama set in the England of Willoughby Chase. The melodramatic premise of an orphaned boy and his uncongenial young companion forced to fend for themselves after fire destroys their home, kills their guardian and injures their tutor, was a bit too much for me but the characters are convincingly drawn. The near absence of adults in the main story is not credible in an industrial town.
  TheoClarke | Jan 9, 2012 |
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» Add other authors (1 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Aiken, Joanprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Aloof, AndrewCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bartram, SimonCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Leetaru, LarsCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Marriott, PatIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Tinkelman, MurrayCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Night's winged horses
No one can outpace
But midnight is no moment
Midnight is a place

Denzil's Song
For Liz, Lucy and Bernard Francke, with love.
First words
It had been raining all day. Even in good weather the park around Midnight Court was not a cheerful place.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
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Fourteen-year-old Lucas leads a lonely, monotonous life in the house of his unpleasant guardian until the unexpected arrival of an unusual little girl presages a series of events that completely change his life.

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Book description
Two wards of the Grimsby family are forced to fend for themselves in a terror-filled winter in the industrial town of Blastburn.

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