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The Whispering Road
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The Whispering Road

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3.67 of 5 stars 3.67  ·  rating details  ·  244 ratings  ·  43 reviews
In true Victorian fashion, award-winning author Michael pens a gripping, epic novel about a sister and brother whose mother leaves them at a workhouse in Manchester, England. For Joe and Annie, the choice is escape or die.
Paperback, 336 pages
Published October 5th 2006 by Puffin (first published January 1st 2005)
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Linda Lipko
This is a gem of a book! Dickinson like, it deals with abject poverty, work houses for the poor and children whose parents cannot afford to keep them and resort to dropping them off at work houses.

Realistically written without over dramatization, we travel the streets of England during the 1830's when poor were deemed unworthy, stupid, and people to be abused.

Two children, a young boy and his younger sister run away from an abusive situation at a working house. Traveling through the woods they e...more
Angela
The author was inspired to write this book after hearing the following true story that took place near her home over a century ago.

“A farmer and his wife took in two children, boy and girl, from the workhouse, to help with the run of the farm. As the years passed, people began to notice that the children never got any older. But the farm was isolated, people kept to themselves, and only when the mother of one of the children came looking for her did the truth finally emerge. The farmer and his...more
Becky
Set in 19th Century England, Joe and Annie have been sent to work on a farm. When they left the workhouse they thought they were lucky, but this is much worse - worked to the bone and violently beaten they know they need to escape. The pair make a run for it and decide to head towards Manchester, to see if they can find their mum, she always promised to come back and now is the time to reunite.
Along the way they meet a host of characters, some nice and others only want to use them, the pair must...more
Alex
This book is about the two kids named Joe and Annie. In the beginning of the book, they're servants for someone named Old Bert. Old Bert is an cruel master who constantly beats on Joe and Annie. At the start of the book, Annie was unconscious because old Bert Beat her, Joe thought she was dead. They slept in a chicken coop, which was cold and dirty. they thought it time they escaped. They lured Old Bert to the coop and knocked him out cold with a shovel. So now they're running for the gate.

I c...more
Kristian
this book is about a boy named john and a girl named amber. in the beginning of the book you see Amber getting beaten to death. right after that had happened john told her hat they are about to run away from there masters. after she heals they hop the gate and run off. as they are running they see the master along the way, they were not loud to take the main roads they were only loud to take the black roads. which were dark dirt roads. so the master knew automatically were to go and look for the...more
C. D.  Brinker
The Whispering Road tells a story that's familiar to any fan of literature. Indeed, having read numerous novels, novellas, novelettes, short stories and poetry, one would be quite comfortable with the symbolism behind roads and the thematic elements thereby expressed. The Whispering Road stays on this path (pun intended), keeping in line with the ever-ole' cliches concerning the travels through life -- figuratively and literally in this case. There are the comings of strangers and the goings of...more
Maggie
I'll be honest. I totally judged this book by its cover: it's beautiful, and it's the sole reason I picked up The Whispering Road. It's taken me some time to get through it because it's a different style than I usually read, but it's been worth the time.

To me, this is a hybridized genre: part fairy tale, part magical realism, part historical fiction. Set in 1830s England, during the height of the cholera epidemic and the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, this story follows Annie and Jack S...more
M.E.
To read my full review, check out my blog at http://maryellenherrera.com/2012/10/2...

The Whispering Road by author Livi Michael will, with no doubt, open up a whole new world for the reader. The two main characters, Joe and his sister Annie, are orphaned children who have escaped an intolerable living situation; a place where they were underfed and overworked. Once they are free, Joe decides the best place for them to hide is the big city of Manchester. Annie’s hope is to find their mother there...more
Lucy
Joe just wants to find his mother and his home, and he knows that the workhouse can’t be all there is for him. But even so, he’s willing to stay and work and wait for his mother to return, until the farmers he is working for go too far and hurt his sister Annie. That’s when he knows that he has to get them out.

And get them out he does. So begins Joe’s story, that will take him and Annie from encounter to encounter—with Travis, a kind stranger who tells Joe and Annie to never trust people in hous...more
Patricia Uttaro
I freely admit that I am a book -judger-by-its-cover kind of reader. Sometimes I get a dud, but most often I get what I got from this book — a true little gem of a story.We first meet Joe and Annie as they struggle to escape the tortuous servitude they suffer under Old Bert and The Mistress. The children manage to get away and literally bump into Travis, a man of the Road, who saves them from certain death. Travis introduces our two young heroes to life on the Road, teaching them to hear through...more
Cindy
I decided to stop about halfway through on this one, it was too dark and sad. It's about two children, brother and sister, during the industrial revolution, who are abandoned at a workhouse by their mother, and are eventually sold to work at a farm. They live a hellish existance, enslaved and abused, but are able to narrowly escape with their lives one night.

Their goal is to get to Manchester, the last know whereabouts of their mother. Along the way they find people who help them, but also peop...more
Emma
4,5 Sterne

Ein Kinder-Jugendbuch mit ein kleinen fantastischen Hauch, das mich wirklich sehr begeistert, mitgenommen und manchmal auch traurig gestimmt hat.
Eine Geschichte über 2 junge Geschwister die wirklich ans Herz geht.
Joe, der ältere Bruder, aus welcher Sicht auch das Buch geschrieben ist, ging mir teilweise sehr auf die Nerven, weil er öfters sehr dumm gehandelt hat. Aber dies ist auch der Sinn der Sache, damit der Leser aus den Fehlern des Jungen lernen kann.
Einen kleinen Abzug gab es d...more
SJ
I didn't get to finish this book because
I only read it when I was around 7 or 8 years old. And now I'm dying to finish this one. I only read half of this book from what I remember but really, even though I was still a child back then, this was my favorite book from what I remember.
I am currently hunting for this book because the one that I have when I was still young is now gone. :) anyway this was a good book.
Lia
This is a dark tale for sure. Sadly, it is based not only on historical knowledge, but on actual people. It concerns two children left at the poorhouse by their widowed mother and all that befalls them as they are "farmed out" to hard work and little food in a cruel household. They escape and have many unhappy adventures that encompass many spheres of life including travelling freak-shows, children's street gangs, working class revolution, and the prejudices of the upper class.

The speaker of the...more
Katie
This book absolutely surprised me. I started it under the impression that it was some sort of fantasy, but it turned out to be an exceptional work of historical fiction. I loved the authenticity of the characters, particularly the "voice" of Joe. I've heard that it's a "tale that's been told before"---by many, most notably Charles Dickens. But rather than just being a "rewrite" of an old story, Livi Michael's novel is unique in its approach (combining historical fiction with hints of fantasy) an...more
Anna
Nice book, whilst not a great piece of litrature (which doesn't always mean it's going to thrill you anyway), it was interesting and somewhat gripping.

The fact that the fiction was based on fact and real people made it even more fascinating.
Emma
I was drawn to this book by the Victorian and workhouse themes which are the settings for the book.

It started off really good though I was extremely doubtful about it when characters such as dog-women (half women, half dog) came into the plot. I usually only like realistic books but this did keep me gripped and though it is a children's book I found it gritty enough for my taste.

I loved the author's note at the end when you find out that some of the characters were real people who fought for the...more
Angela
This book was recommended to me by a friend whose 14 year old son had just finished it too. They both thought it was fantastic and so did I.Livi Michael vividly portrayed the hard life that Joe and Annie led and the tragic circumstances surrounding them. They met some amazing characters on their travels and the element of the supernatural introduced by the author was a plus for me. I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys an intriguing read whether they are teenage or adult.
Louize


When I first picked up this book I thought it's some kind of fairytale (with ghost on the side). I didn't realize that it's more of a historical fiction that tackles social interests in Old Manchester- human rights, poverty and industrial filth.

Joe and Annie's adventures and hurdles on the road, to find their mother, was heartbreaking indeed. Being a mother myself, it's quite disturbing for me to know children going through that sort of life. Good read.
Becca
Siblings, Joe and Annie are both different to each other and everyone else. When they escape the workhouse they embark on a series of adventures each mysterious and interesting.
This book flowed well and had a storyline which separated it from the rest. A quirky book which is for anybody who wants to read something none of their friends have.

N.B. Please note the actual name is The Whispering Road, not Whispering Pond
Haley
This book has to be the best children's fantasy story I've ever read. It's now out of print, but sometimes you can find it from second buyers. It's storyline is constantly changing in new directions, but I think my favorite thing about it is the characters. Each one is vivid and real in front of your imagination, and it's impossible to not like a character because of this. Love love love this book.
Lisa
This book had a strong start but I think it was just too long by about 50 or 60 pages. I was really pushing it at the end. Annie was my favorite character, so when she and Joe are separtated, the story went downhill for me (Joe is the narrator). It was okay, but too long, and most of the really interesting stuff (Annie's visions, Dogwoman) happen in the first half of the book.
Gill
Nearing the end of this book and have enjoyed it more as I have gone along. It is written from a your Victroian young lad's point of view. He and his sister have escaped the brutal farmer they were given to by the Workhouse. Their journey sets out to explore the people they meet along the way and show how in life you can need to be careful of who you trust.
Alison
awesome! i really enjoyed this story about the adventures of two children during industrial revolution england. nice fairy-tale qualities, but also portrayed the realities of every-day life among the poor. it made me cry, but almost everything does these days.

thanks emily for recommending it and letting be borrow your copy!
emily
I really liked this book: a whimsical, dark, early industrial fairy tale with ornery children. The magical elements so prevalent at the beginning of the book come roaring back at the final denouement. And a suprisingly happy ending for this gritty dickensian tale.
Natali
I thought it was good. Not amazing and sort of hard to keep up with, but was still good. This story takes place in London, about the time when the Stamp Act was created. The book talks about the abuse some children had to go through during this time.
Asia
This is one of those books that stay in your mind forever. I read this when I was a kid and I still remember it like a movie I watched. A great book for people of all ages because it deals with historical poverty. Strongly recommend people to read it :)
Dbest Dbest
THE BEST BOOK EVA!!!!!!!!!!!!! LOVEEEEEEE ITTT!!!!!!!!MY FAVOURITE BOOK EVA!!!!!!!!!!!!1!!!!!!!!!!!!!!LUVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVV ITTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTT SOOOOOOOOOOO MUUUUCCCCCHHHHHHHHHHHH
BubblesTheMonkey
This book had a great influence on me because now I know how tough things could get for me in the future. It's a great book about an adventurous boy named Joe, but he also has many other names.
Whitney Oaks
Bought this on a whim at the Dollar Tree, but surprisingly, it was actually an okay book. I was surprised too, that it is classified as a juvenile book.
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Goodreads Librari...: German title issues and edition questions 6 18 Feb 02, 2014 12:10PM  
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