As any regular readers know, I am a big fan of Joan Aiken’s children’s books so I am really happy that Midnight Is A Place is having a new edition and hope it will reach a whole new young audience. And for me, too, as I’m sure this is one title of hers I haven’t read!
One of the most highly praised of Joan Aiken’s historical melodramas is now being republished to celebrate the book’s 40th anniversary. The story of Midnight Court, and two of Aiken’s most unfortunate orphans, the doubly disinherited Lucas and Anna-Marie, was hailed variously as “the stuff of nightmares,” but also as a deeply moving portrayal of the real evils of industrialisation and child labour, and while “steeped in nineteenth century literary traditions,” and “juggling an army of seedy villains with Dickensian aplomb” it also “earns its place in the landscape of humorous fiction.”
Should we go on? “In this thrilling tale we have machines which crush children to death, herds of man-eating hogs in subterranean sewers, and a wicked old gentleman “charred to a wisp” in the burning remains of his ill-gotten house…” all described “superbly, with a force, a colour and strength of imagination that one encounters all too rarely.”…
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