Wednesday 7 October 2015

Top Ten Sequels and Retellings with Holly Webb

I am so pleased to welcome one of my favourite children's authors, Holly Webb onto the blog today. Holly's book Return To The Secret Garden has just been published. To celebrate Holly is doing a week long blog tour. On today's stop, she is giving us her top ten favourite sequels and retellings. 
I hadn’t realised when I started this list how many sequels or retellings I’d loved! 
1 Jasper Fforde – The Eyre Affair
One of my absolute favourite books ever, and a must for anyone who thinks of themselves as knowledgeable about books. Thursday Next is a literary detective who can travel inside books. More puns, in-jokes and all-round cleverness than anything else. This is how Jane Eyre ended up the classic that it is…
2 Good Wives, Little Men and Jo’s Boys, Louisa M. Alcott
The sequels to Little Women, which I love and hate at the same time, mostly because I have very decided views on who people would have been better off falling in love with. But there we go. As they’re actually by L. M. Alcott I can’t really argue.
3 Percy Jackson series, Rick Riordan
Brilliant reinterpretation of Greek and Roman mythology. I got introduced to these by my oldest son, who knows more about mythology than I do now, despite me have a Classics degree…
4 The King Must Die and The Bull From the Sea, Mary Renault
I read these when I first fell in love with the stories of Greece and Troy at school. Absolutely gripping, and the Alexander books are amazing too.
5 Five Children on the Western Front, Kate Saunders
I re-read this recently to take part in festival events with Kate Saunders (Cheltenham, this Sunday! Please come!) and it’s so clever. There’s not much back-story to the Psammead in Five Children and It, but here he is completely believable as a disgraced and furious god. Also such a brilliant story of wartime and its effect on a family.
6 Spindle’s End, Robin McKinley
I first read this retelling of Sleeping Beauty as a manuscript while I was working at Scholastic. I was off ill with flu, and I read it curled up on the sofa. It was lush. Robin McKinley has written several other fairytale retellings, but this is my favourite still.
7 The Magician’s Nephew, CS Lewis
I’m cheating, since this is a prequel. I loved this book, although it isn’t actually my favourite of the Narnia series (which would be a tie between Prince Caspian and The Horse and His Boy). I was the kind of child who loves spotting clues and links between books and feeling smug about them – that I’d deciphered a secret message from the author. So the hints of what will happen later in the land of Narnia were fabulous.
8 The Attenbury Emeralds, Jill Paton Walsh
I love crime novels, especially 1930s ones and even more especially Dorothy L. Sayers’s Lord Peter Wimsey books. Jill Paton Walsh has written four continuations, some based on original fragments from Sayers. This one is my favourite, a clever development of Wimsey’s first case, which comes back to haunt him. If somebody could just write more Margery Allingham now, please…
9 The House of Silk, Anthony Horowitz
More classic crime revisited. A new Sherlock Holmes adventure. The atmosphere of Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes books is so gripping – they’ve had a huge effect on a lot of my writing. Along with A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett, they gave me a sense of London as its own character. My Maisie Hitchins series were my own tribute to Holmes!
10 Little House in the Big Woods – someone please write a really good sequel…
This is my favourite of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s novels. I know these are a series already, but I would love to have more about Laura’s fascinating childhood in the woods.

This is a bit of a random list, but I’d definitely recommend all of them!

Thank you Holly for a lovely list of series that I now need to read! 
Want to know about Return To The Secret Garden? 
It's 1939 and a group of children have been evacuated to Misselthwaite Hall. Emmie is far from happy to have been separated from her cat and sent to a huge old mansion. But soon she starts discovering the secrets of the house - a boy crying at night, a diary written by a girl named Mary and a garden. A very secret garden...

Release Date: October 1st 2015
Publisher: Scholastic UK

Want to find out more about Holly Webb:

Scholastic are giving away a copy of The Secret Garden by Francis Hodgson Burnett and a copy of Return to the Secret Garden by Holly Webb to one lucky blog tour follower! [UK AND IRL ONLY]
Fill out the form below!


  1. There are Margery Allingham continuation novels if you search for "Campion" you should find them. I have to say that I don't rate them much but I find Margery Allingham's books quite dated.

  2. Great list of titles to look out for, I particularly want to read 5 children on the western front.


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