As promised in my recent post about The Wolves of Willoughby Chase, I have re-read the next book in the series.
Black Hearts in Battersea follows kind-hearted Simon, the goose boy from the previous book. When he arrives in London to enrol at an art school, he finds that his friend Dr Field is missing. His new home, where Dr Field is supposed to be living, smells oddly of the doctor’s paints, but otherwise there is no trace of him, and the landlords swear that they have never even heard of him. There’s something fishy about the landlords. The Twites are a fantastic family; they are loud and dirty, rude and untrustworthy and Simon is sure that they have something to do with Dr Field’s disappearance. That doesn’t stop him from making friends with the youngest Twite, Dido.
For me, Dido Twite is the most beloved of characters in The Wolves of Willoughby Chase series. When she is first introduced, you can have no idea that the grubby, greedy little stick of a girl will blossom into a character with so much going for her. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves….
Simon is a trusting fellow, and luckily for him, apart from the Twites, he manages to find some friendly and reliable people, including his old friend Sophie. He becomes firm friends with the flamboyant Dr Furneaux and plays chess with the eccentric Duke of Battersea. However all is not fun and games, and as Simon improves with his art and spends time with his friends, he is still trying to get to the bottom of Dr Field’s disappearance, which he has reason to believe has something to do with a treacherous Hanoverian plot against the king.
Black Hearts in Battersea is a fantastic romp of an adventure with excellent characters and a good mix of heart-warming moments mixed in with all the silliness.