Wait, wait Save us What ll we doSimon is determined to become a painter when he grows up so he sets off to London to make his fortune But the city is plagued by wolves and mysterious disappearances The Twite household, where Simon is lodging, seems particularly shifty Before he even gets a chance to open his glistening new paints Simon stumbles right into the centre of a plot to kill the King And worse than that Simon is kidnapped and sent to sea Luckily there are two friendly stowaways aboard the feisty Dido Twite and the spoiled young Justin But when the ship catches fire things look pretty dire Can they escape Will they save the king in time BACKSTORY Test your knowledge of Black Hearts in Battersea and play the name game Why do I still love this book enough to stay up re reading it for at least the fifth time The whole series has a unique, distinct style of prose and storytelling It s ageless and timeless Simon is one of my favorite characters ever I just like how everything is just a bit off from the very beginning and then BAM danger and conspiracy.Each book in the series can be read as a stand alone This is the order, though 0 The Whispering Mountain1 The Wolves of Willoughby Chase2 Black Hearts in Batte Why do I still love this book enough to stay up re reading it for at least the fifth time The whole series has a unique, distinct style of prose and storytelling It s ageless and timeless Simon is one of my favorite characters ever I just like how everything is just a bit off from the very beginning and then BAM danger and conspiracy.Each book in the series can be read as a stand alone This is the order, though 0 The Whispering Mountain1 The Wolves of Willoughby Chase2 Black Hearts in Battersea3 Nightbirds on Nantucket4 The Stolen Lake5 Dangerous Games6 The Cuckoo Tree7 Dido and Pa8 Is Underground9 Cold Shoulder Road10 Midwinter Nightingale11 The Witch of Clatteringshaws This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers To view it, click here view spoiler Bettie s Books hide spoiler view spoiler Bettie s Books hide spoiler 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 plotA humorously convoluted Victorian melodrama, complete with plots, assassination attempts, kidnappings, shipwrecks, hidden identities, secret soc 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 plotA 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 heartIt 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.Addendum Because the reading order of this series is somewhat complicated, I have included this handy guide, which is organized by publication date, and which I recommend to prospective readers of the series, rather than the one offered here on Goodreads Reading Order for the Series 1 The Wolves of Willoughby Chase2 Black Hearts in Battersea3 Nightbirds on Nantucket4 The Whispering Mountain5 The Cuckoo Tree6 The Stolen Lake7 Dido and Pa8 Is Underground9 Cold Shoulder Road10 Dangerous Games11 Midwinter Nightingale12 The Witch of ClatteringshawsA few notes Is Underground is the American name for the British original, Is Similarly, Dangerous Games was originally published in Britain as Limbo Lodge The Wolves of Willoughby Chase features two characters that recur, but the two young heroines do not The Stolen Lake is the point at which the chronology becomes somewhat complicated, as it is the sixth book, but chronicles events that occur in between Night Birds on Nantucket 3 and The Cuckoo Tree 5 Is Underground or Is and Cold Shoulder Road both feature Is Twite, cousin to the main heroine, Dido They occur alongside the other books, and their position in the series is not chronologically relevant Dangerous Games Limbo Lodge is another title that backtracks in the chronology Although not technically part of the series, Aiken s Midnight Is a Place does occur in the same alternative timeline, and is set in Blastburn, the same imaginary city that features in the other books 4 and 1 2 stars Young Simon from Wolves goes off to London to learn to paint He plans to live with his friend Dr Field, but when the boy arrives in the city, the doctor has vanished without a trace Breathless non stop adventure from the first page, Black Hearts is the sequel to Wolves of Willoughby Chase A delightful mixture of Charles Dickens, Jane Austen, and Robert Louis Stevenson. With his heart set on becoming an artist, Simon heads for London to make his fortune But prowling wolves and mysterious goings on are rife in the city and Simon s new lodgings with the very odd Twite family don t improve matters Uncovering a plot to kill the King, Simon is kidnapped, and it seems his hopes of victory may be dashed This is Ms Aiken s second volume in the Wolves Chronicles and while it s quite interesting, the plot didn t really grab my attention like the first one The Wolves With his heart set on becoming an artist, Simon heads for London to make his fortune But prowling wolves and mysterious goings on are rife in the city and Simon s new lodgings with the very odd Twite family don t improve matters Uncovering a plot to kill the King, Simon is kidnapped, and it seems his hopes of victory may be dashed This is Ms Aiken s second volume in the Wolves Chronicles and while it s quite interesting, the plot didn t really grab my attention like the first one The Wolves of Willoughby Chase The story plods along in a rambling sort of way and I found myself wishing the author would just get on with it The Twite family are amusing but even their silly carryings on didn t hold my attention for long All in all, an interesting, but flawed book This was a fast paced, fun, and exciting mystery adventure story It finds Simon from the Wolves of Willoughby Chase heading to London to study painting at the invitation of Dr Field but on reaching there, not only is there no sign of Dr Field, no one at his lodgings seems to have heard of him Simon starts his classes, finds a job, and reconnects with his friend Sophie, while on the sidelines continuing to investigate the disappearance of Dr Field He is helped by the rather unattractive at This was a fast paced, fun, and exciting mystery adventure story It finds Simon from the Wolves of Willoughby Chase heading to London to study painting at the invitation of Dr Field but on reaching there, not only is there no sign of Dr Field, no one at his lodgings seems to have heard of him Simon starts his classes, finds a job, and reconnects with his friend Sophie, while on the sidelines continuing to investigate the disappearance of Dr Field He is helped by the rather unattractive at the start Dido Twite who proves herself quite an asset as we go on What transpires is a deep and fairly well planned plot and a secret that holds the key to the entire mystery One pretty much guesses the secret some way in but that didn t make the book any the less interesting for me There were also still some surprises along the way Highly entertaining I love these books It s hard to explain, because they are so very weird the language is old fashioned, plausibility is left at the door, coincidence abounds I mean, it even has the old orphan kid is really a great person, even though very disadvantaged in upbringing, but oh wow it turns out he s really a duke trope twice I usually hate that, but I don t get an overwhelmig feeling of classism from Aiken I mean, her very best character Dido is a poor child, and though many of the vil I love these books It s hard to explain, because they are so very weird the language is old fashioned, plausibility is left at the door, coincidence abounds I mean, it even has the old orphan kid is really a great person, even though very disadvantaged in upbringing, but oh wow it turns out he s really a duke trope twice I usually hate that, but I don t get an overwhelmig feeling of classism from Aiken I mean, her very best character Dido is a poor child, and though many of the villains are not wealthy, some of the book s kindest and most lovely are too.So, Dido, Dido Twite..I LOVE HER I forgot how much of a brat she is at the beginning of this book, but soon she starts to win your heart with her guttermouth, her loneliness, her spunk, and her quick wit Of course, she gets even better in the next one Lies, deceptions, treasonous plots, mistaken identity, hot air balloons, wolves at the door, stowaways and completely indecipherable dialect How could you go wrong I completely loved this even though it took me a bit to get into it, once it gets going though, it s hard to put down. I don t know why I never read this series when I first discovered Aiken s alternate history London in Midnight Is a Place, but I m enjoying it now It s a quick read, not dark by my standards though bad things do happen they are tempered with humor , and it was easy to gloss over any historical contexts that I was clueless about it s summer after all, and I didn t want to make myself think too much I thoroughly enjoyed the story I do wonder about something at the end which I thought was sho I don t know why I never read this series when I first discovered Aiken s alternate history London in Midnight Is a Place, but I m enjoying it now It s a quick read, not dark by my standards though bad things do happen they are tempered with humor , and it was easy to gloss over any historical contexts that I was clueless about it s summer after all, and I didn t want to make myself think too much I thoroughly enjoyed the story I do wonder about something at the end which I thought was shoved aside rather quickly in all the other happenings, but I m hoping that it will be addressed in the next book