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Nightbirds on Nantucket [Turtleback]

Joan Aiken
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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Book Description

July 2001
Having had enough of life on board the ship that saved her from a watery grave, Dido Twite wants nothing more than to sail home to England. Instead, Captain Casket's ship lands in Nantucket, where Dido and the captain's daughter, Dutiful Penitence, are left in the care of Dutiful's sinister Aunt Tribulation. In Tribulation's farmhouse, life is unbearable. When mysterious men lurk about in the evening fog, the resourceful Dido rallies against their shenanigans with help from Dutiful, a cabinboy named Nate, and a pink whale.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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About the Author

Joan Aiken, daughter of the American writer Conrad Aiken, was born in Rye, Sussex, England, and has written more than sixty books for children, including The Wolves of Willoughby Chase. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars A Rich and Exciting Read Nov. 14 2003
When we last saw Dido Twite at the end of "Black Hearts in Battersea" she was going down with the Dark Dew ship, swept away from her friends Simon and Justin in the middle of the ocean. Whilst the two boys were forced to go on without her (eventually preventing an assasination attempt on the Duke of Battersea), Dido's fate remained a mystery, that Joan Aiken now resolves for expectant readers in the third book in her "Wolves Saga".
After a ten month long sleep, Dido awakes on board a whaler in the middle of the Artic sea, on a boat completely covered in icicles and frost. There she meets young Nate, a ship's hand, who informs her of her surroundings, of how far she is from home. Also on board is the fox-like and slimy Mr Slighcarp and the moony Captain Casket, who is determined to chase and catch the magnificent pink whale. He informs Dido that his young daughter Dutiful Penitence Casket is also on board, but who has locked herself away in a cupboard in mortal terror of the sea. He requests that Dido attempt to coax her out, and then accompany her to her Aunt Tribulation on the island of Nantucket before she tries to head back to England. Dido, taking it into her responsiblity to teach Penitence not to be so timid, agrees despite her homesickness.
But there are other mysteries about, such as the fierce stowaway that Dido finds hiding in the hold, and the suspicious actions of Mr Slighcarp that aren't solved by the time Penitence and Dido reach the domineering and threatening Aunt Tribulation. The two girls eventually realise there's a Hanoverian plot in the making that involves a giant gun being fired from Nantucket to London, which will not only succeed in destroying the palace, but with blowing Nantucket backwards into New York harbour!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome characters yet again...! July 26 2001
By A Customer
Yet another incredible book in this series by Joan Aiken! This one places the focus on Dido Twite, and one of the things that I thought was most enjoyable about this book was seeing Dido grow into the strong, tough-girl from the wretched "brat" in Black Hearts in Battersea. I also thought that there was a lot more humour in this book than the previous three. I guess this book is like the "growth" book. Dido grows into the confident person we see in the later books, and Dutiful Penitence, under Dido's care, also becomes much stronger during the course of this adventure. I guess what I'm saying is that this is the book that makes Dido the mainstay for the rest of the series by showing how she grew stronger and how she helped others grow stronger.
I think it's a funny spoof of the whaling society of Nantucket in the 19th century, and of the Puritanical sort of Quaker types who brought up "Pen". This book introduces several sympathetic, believable, "bang-up" characters, such as Nate, Doc Mayhew, Cap'n Casket and Professor Breadno, and of course, Mr. Jenkins. The plot is wildly fantastical, (and physically impossible, in some parts) but the wonderful storytelling more than makes up for that, and rather sets the scene for the even more eerie and improbable sequels, The Stolen Lake and The Cuckoo Tree. Loads of fun, a must read for kids, and I personally think that adults should read it just to get in touch with the inner child within, etc. etc. READ THIS BOOK!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Very funny suspense for kids - parody for adults June 10 1999
Joan Aiken writes a brilliant story on two levels which continues the saga of Dido Twite, lost at sea in the preceding novel (Black Hearts in Battersea.) She is rescued by a whaling ship whose skipper, the lugubrious Quaker Captain Coffin, is obsessed by his hunt for the great PINK whale while having some difficulty relating to his timid daughter, who has locked herself in his cupboard for the duration of the voyage. Dido wins her trust and is 'rewarded' by her father who imposes on her to be a sort of au pair. The girls are dropped off in Nantucket where they are to be under the 'care' of Coffin's sister, auntie Tribulation. Tribulation does indeed appear as Nantucket turns out to harbour anti - British-monarchy terrorists and the wicked Miss Slighcarp, villainess of 'The Wolves of Willoughby Chase'. The fast-paced, intricately- plotted story comes to a very clever ending.
As usual Joan Aiken is brilliantly spoofing 19th century literature. Adults will find the parody hilarious while children thrill to the melodrama.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great book for young women Oct. 14 2007
I was born and raised on Nantucket and I read this book when I was 10 years old. I fell in love with it immediately. I have read it every so often since then into my adult years. The first reviewer explains the story so I wont go into it. I am just saying that if you have a daughter 10 or older this is a must read. I still love it and I'm in my 40s ;-)
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5.0 out of 5 stars Nightbirds on Nantucket Sept. 25 2001
By A Customer
As a child I LOVED this book and read it several times
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