(It's also another book club book that I had some difficulty getting my hands on. The local library didn't have their copy on the shelves. They finally tracked it down in the Bookmobile, and said it hadn't been checked out in 14 years. How sad! Hopefully my checking it out bought it a few more years of life on the library shelves.)
The Wolves of Willoughby Chase embodies an element that all great classic children's literature has and that modern children's literature seems to be missing - simplicity. Life is simple and straight-forward, and the story is told simply and straight-forwardly. That doesn't mean that it's a happy book. A lot of terrible things happen to Bonnie and Sylvia. And you have to wait for the happy ending until nearly the last page. Life was scary and sad for them for a long time.
But I still came away from the book feeling refreshed. All the clutter of modern life was stripped away. Decisions were black and white; people were good or evil. Love and family were all-important. Loyalty to those you loved existed. Strangers would help you.
There's nothing wrong with modern children's books. But every once in awhile, it's necessary to read a classic like The Wolves of Willoughby Chase to remind us of the basics of life and how we should (and shouldn't!) treat one another.