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Chadwick Family Chronicles Books In Order

Publication Order of Chadwick Family Chronicles Books

Looking Forward (1998) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Holding On (1999) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Winning Through (2000) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Prodigal Wife (2009) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle


A British author hailing from Somerset, the writer Marcia Willett has been writing for some years now, to an ever increasing audience building worldwide, having started at the age of fifty and building her backlog in a relatively short amount of time. Winning awards as well, she has quickly grown not just in popularity, but in stature as well, with many publications such as Readers Digest selecting her for their recommendations. Releasing her début novel back in 1995, she now has approximately twenty-novels behind her and counting. One series that she’s particularly well known for is that of the Chadwick Family Chronicles series, which charts one particular family featuring a group of sisters. Starting out in 1957 it follows them as they make their way in the world as a group orphans, fighting and struggling, and the bonds they share in due course. With many readers worldwide, this has managed to garner a lot of attention from not just the critics, but the general public as well.

Getting an insight into the life of each family member, they span themselves out, giving them room and space to breathe in the process. This allows for a more expansive and richly rewarding experience that involves the readers on a deeper and highly immersive level. With this being the case, it appears their may be more expected to come from this series yet, as the plenty more stories to be told about this particular family.

Looking Forward

Initially published on the 3rd of December, 1998, this was to be the first book in Chadwick Family Chronicles series from Marcia Willett. Setting up the central premise it works at introducing all the key players, whilst also building the world that it’s set within. It also works at establishing the time period too, being evocative of the era it’s set within, with a clear eye for both detail and accuracy.

Telling the story of the Chadwick Family of the title, Willett dives right in, giving a fully formed portrait of the family as a whole. Taking each individual and analyzing who they are, it works overall, giving the reader a clear idea of who they are and where they’re going. Through generations it looks at how they work together, getting over their troubles helping to overcome their past and their grief. The interplay between the adults and the children is also something to note, as Willett makes the most of her protagonists and their situations. Set in Devon, it really gets a feel for the countryside and the rural expanses there, something which can reflect the mood of the characters at times. Willett has really managed to capture what it is like to live there, seeing into the lifestyle and how it can affect those growing up. It definitely works at capturing that idyllic quality, lending the characters an extra level of gravitas in both their outlook and perspectives.

Following the tragic and untimely death of their older brother and parents in Kenya, the three Chadwick children have to go and live with their grandmother in Devon. With the help of her minister brother-in-law, the grandmother Frederica ‘Freddy’ Chadwick has to help them deal with the grief, along with coping with her own sadness amidst it all. As this is a difficult time for them all, they must be there for one another, helping each other to make it through, as the bonds of family grow ever stronger. Will they be able to pull through? What does family really mean? Can they start looking forward?

Holding On

First published in 1999, through the Headline publishing label, this carries directly on from where the last novel left off. With everyone somewhat older now, it works at providing the next chapter in their story and how they’ve each progressed as people. Following in much the same style and tone as before, it doesn’t deviate from the readers have now come to know and love about the series overall.

Charting the next part of each characters journey overall, this manages to build upon what came before, both in story and in character. With them all being a little older and wiser now, many of the children move off out into the world, looking for life and adventure. Going overseas, Willett really allows the readers to witness their growth as people, as she explores all the possibilities that come with growing up. This change is also seen in the older characters too, as the grandparents also get to share this change as well, witnessing the evolution of their children throughout the ages. Just as the characters move on, so to does the landscape, taking in such countries as Hong Kong in their travels abroad. This distance becomes a key factor in of itself, as it comes to reflect the inevitable growing apart between all the children. Whilst each of them are leaving home though, their hearts still lie back in Devon, as it very much remains the lynchpin of the whole story.

As the three children begin to depart ‘The Keep’ as it has come to be known in Devon, they all begin to make their way in the world. Fliss is moving to Hong Kong with her husband, Mole is starting up in a naval career, whilst Susanna is falling in love herself, all the while their grandmother is hoping to see the next generation come through. Will she live to see another generation rise up? Can she help them on their way? What will become of their home in Devon to which they keep holding on?

The Chadwick Family Chronicles Series

Like any generational saga, it could so easily fall into becoming convoluted and overbearing with so many strands shooting off at once. Marcia Willett avoids all these potential pitfalls though, keeping it on just the right of not being overcrowded, allowing each character to flourish. Their plot-lines are also well developed, creating a true arc for each of their personalities to follow, as they find their own individual paths. Creating a timeless story that endures regardless of the era it’s set in is difficult, but Willett achieves it here with her classic tale of growing up and moving on. Showing how people change over the years, she has managed to capture a moment in time, distilling it on the page for her readers. As it seems there’s a lot more books set on the horizon, it appears she wont be stopping any time soon, as she continues on into the foreseeable future.

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