Joan Aiken (Was: Re: Regency and other fantasy)

Melissa Proffitt Melissa at
Mon Sep 3 16:37:50 EDT 2001

On Mon, 3 Sep 2001 09:10:08 +0100, Hallie O'Donovan wrote:

>>Dorian wrote, about Joan Aiken:
>>>Oh, you should read them!  They're kids books, but they're just so
>>>much fun.  They tend to get described as ?romps? which I always think
>>  >is a bit silly, but they do sort of bounce happily along.
>I heartily second the recommendation, Melissa.  (And if you do read 
>them, I'm putting it on record that Simon and Mitt resonate strongly 
>with me in the same way (Simon in the later books, that is, not in 
>Wolves).  So now I've said it, and *you* can disagree with *me* this 
>time, rather than my having to start the disagreeing. :)

Rats!  You beat me to it!  :)

I do indeed plan to read these.  It's strange that I never did as a
youngster, because I know they were there and I even saw them on the shelf
at the library I lived at when I was 12.  :)  But then, I picked up Robin
McKinley's _The Blue Sword_, read the inside flap, and put it back at least
ten times before actually reading it, so sometimes I am just dense.  I have
_Midnight is a Place_, which was very dark and very good.

>>I agree they're really good, but I found them quite dark and even 
>>frightening at times - often it seems as if the whole world is in a 
>>conspiracy that only the central characters are fighting.

I don't know if I would have put it this way, but at least for the one I've
read, that's how it seems.  Actually to me it felt a little like Thomas
Hardy, where that's just the way the world is--completely uninterested in
the small fates of Aiken's protagonists, and all the possibilities are
heavily weighted toward Bad Luck.

>And Hallie:
>Finally, back to Melissa, if you do take this recommendation, the 
>James III series (or WoWC Sequence, as it's also called) should be 
>read in order, except that you don't need to read WoWC itself first. 
>I like WoWC a lot, but it's certainly different from the others - 
>cold and eerie and more Victorian-Gothic feeling than the next lot. 
>(_Limbo Lodge_/Dangerous Games_ fits after TSL, but was written last, 
>and Becca and I found it a real let down.)

So what exactly is the order anyway?  And I just noticed, looking at the
library catalog, that she's written something called _Jane Fairfax: Jane
Austen's Emma through Another's Eyes_.  Anyone heard of it?  Also _Mansfield
Revisited_, billed as a sequel to _Mansfield Park_, and _Emma Watson_ ("The
Watsons Completed"), and _Eliza's Daughter_ (sequel to _Sense and
Sensibility_).  I'm beginning to feel REALLY stupid about missing Joan
Aiken's books.  :)

Melissa Proffitt
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