Toad, Mole, Ratty and Badger return once more in a new tale of the River Bank from the bestselling author of The Willows in Winter, Toad Triumphant and The Willows and Beyond.
The Tales of the Willows sequence – in which William Horwood returned to the idyllic setting of The Wind in the Willows and brought back Kenneth Grahame’s much-loved characters in three brand-new stories – has been a remarkable success story.
It began in 1993, with the Sunday Times bestseller The Willows in Winter, which immediately caught the imagination of the reading public and was made into a full-length animated film. The series continued with Toad Triumphant in 1995 and The Willows and Beyond in 1996.
Now, in The Willows at Christmas, William Horwood has created a compelling new tale that takes place after the events in The Wind in the Willows but before The Willows in Winter.
The twelve days of Christmas are fast approaching and Mole is planning to enjoy every one of them with his River Bank friends. So when the normally cheerful Mr Toad despairs at the arrival of Mrs Ffleshe, a quite impossibly rude house guest, Mole must do something about it.
But the plan he hatches with Ratty, Badger and Otter to rescue Toad goes horribly wrong. With the prospect of Christmas in gaol and a trial for capital offences soon to follow, Mole will have to work hard if he is to salvage something of the Christmas spirit for his friends…
‘Lovers of The Wind in the Willows will feel at home and will laugh a lot with sheer pleasure.’ The Times on The Willows in Winter
‘The old friends are just as they always were.’ Daily Telegraph on The Willows in Winter
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The Willows at ChristmasReview:
"Water?" cried Toad, turning and turning about in his distress. "What can water do against the awful might of Mrs Ffleshe? Niagara Falls would not trouble her nor a regiment of Hussars subdue her! Arsenic would be as ambrosia to such a one as she, and a stake in the heart would merely be taken as encouragement."It's coming up to Christmas on the River Bank, and that domesticated culinary supremo, Mr. Mole of Mole End is disturbed by the absence of anything resembling festive spirit in the environs. He's sure that there's a deep dark reason behind the decision of his friends Ratty, Badger, Otter and the aristocratic Toad of Toad Hall to turn down his invitation for Christmas at Mole End.
He's almost right. "It" is a shallow, plump reason--Mrs Ffleshe, Toad's tyrannical and thoroughly imposed Christmas house guest, who casts her terrible shadow over Toad Hall, the Riverbank and the Village, forcing animals and humans alike into a state of misery from which only the vicious and untrustworthy weasels and stoats benefit.
The Willows at Christmas is the tale of the Mole's heroic fight, against the odds, for a merry Christmas, in which he's valiantly assisted by the other River bankers, Toad's dedicated and resourceful housekeeper Mrs Bugle, and a selection of downtrodden villagers. Lots of nastiness,(including an extraordinary variety of torture instruments and a generous range of mother-in-law jokes), lots of inventiveness (see extraordinary variety of torture instruments again) and ultimately redemptive. Gorgeously illustrated (including full-page colour pix) by Patrick Benson, this is holiday reading for the young- and-nostalgic at heart. --Lisa Gee
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Book Description HarperCollins Publishers Ltd, 1999. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # 0002256045
Book Description HarperCollins Publishers Ltd, 1999. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # P110002256045