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The House of Arden (Fabian Time Fantasies #1)

3.89  ·  Rating Details  ·  485 Ratings  ·  42 Reviews
The famous Arden family treasure has been missing for generations, and the last members of the Arden line, Edred, Elfrida, and their Aunt Edith, have nothing to their names but the crumbling castle they live in. Just before his tenth birthday, Edred inherits the title of Lord Arden; he also learns that the missing fortune will be his if—and only if—he can find it before th ...more
Hardcover, 260 pages
Published June 6th 2006 by NYR Children's Collection (first published 1908)
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(showing 1-30 of 1,160)
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Nov 03, 2012 Dorian rated it really liked it
This is one of E. Nesbit's less well-known books, though I must say I prefer it to, say, "The Treasure-Seekers'.

Edred and Elfrida Arden, aged 10 and 12 respectively, find themselves the last heirs of the noble house of Arden, which is a step up from being the children of a seaside lodging house, but not as much of a step up as it might be, given all the Arden lands have long since been sold, and basically what they (or rather Edred) have inherited is a ruined castle and a couple of fields.

But th
Feb 15, 2012 Lloyd rated it it was amazing
A kid's book from the turn of the last century. Nesbit deserves a wider audience a hundred years on, and hopefully this edition from the New York Review of Books will help. Nesbit's slightly ornate style, uncramped by the strictures of Strunk and White, flows beautifully. For best results, read out loud.
Apr 12, 2014 Becky rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2014reviews
The House of Arden is a delightful fantasy novel. The big surprise for Nesbit fans may be that it stars just two siblings: Edred and Elfrida.

Nesbit provides readers with some family background, introduces the siblings and their aunt guardian, and then the magic begins. Edred has just learned that he is Lord Arden, he's inherited the run-down estate with crumbling-castle. (He's also recently learned that his father has died.) The good news? There are stories, legends, about the place, about trea
V. Briceland
Oct 16, 2012 V. Briceland rated it liked it
American mid-twentieth-century author Edward Eager was so smitten by Edwardian British author E. Nesbit that, in middle of his classic magical adventures, he would stop the action and encourage his young readers to investigate her books. It was from Nesbit's interlocking tales of time-travel, The House of Arden and Harding's Luck, that he paid homage to Nesbit by playing around with the central premise of the two works, when the adventures of one of his sets of protagonists dovetail with the adv ...more
Mark Dewey
This book was great. It was pretty funny, playful and adventurous, with some morals thrown in (e.g. about quarreling and such). I liked the Mouldiwarp, although, somehow I think if they made this into a movie, they would ruin that character by making him all computerized and giving him a voice that few would take seriously. I thought the narrators in the audiobook did him justice, though (as well as the other characters).

Yes, this is a time-travel story, but don't let that deter you if you don't
May 10, 2010 Nancy rated it it was ok
Shelves: middle-readers
This is an old 'children's' book, published in 1908 and republished in 1986 with the tag line "this exciting story will be enjoyed as much today as when it was first published..." I have to disagree, unless it wasn't very well liked in 1908
The story ideas are interesting. There is time travel, which is handled well. But when authors try to explain, or explore, the issue of whether or not the time travelers can or do change history, it bogs the story down, interrupts the story, muddles things, an
Julie Davis
Feb 01, 2016 Julie Davis rated it really liked it
In The Magic City I talk about E. Nesbit and why I (and others) like her so much.

This story doesn't equal The Magic City, but it has all Nesbit's trademark lack of sentimentality, humor, and practical commentary (which in itself is sometimes quite funny). A brother and sister time travel through their ancestors' past to get clues to a treasure which would restore their family fortunes.

Very enjoyable and one I'm considering reading on Forgotten Classics.
Cynthia Egbert
Jun 03, 2015 Cynthia Egbert rated it liked it
While not quite as well constructed as her other books, I did enjoy this story from E. Nesbit. My favourite part remains the voice of the author that offers us such important reminders throughout our journey with her. Here are some quotes that I really appreciated:

"The rooms that the lodgers had were furnished with a new sort of furniture that had no stories belonging to it such as belonged to the old polished oak tables and bureaux that were in the basement parlour."

"'What is the letter about,
Jan 02, 2015 Kayli rated it it was ok
This was only okay, not very fast-moving although it did have its moments. I probably only finished it because I was on vacation and didn't have any other books on hand.
BUT I do want to point out something that really stood out to me. So, the book was first published in 1908-- so while reading this story about time traveling it's actually kind of weird because you are sort of time traveling just reading it, it being written for kids more than a hundred years ago. But that's not the part that st
Feb 20, 2009 Kathleen rated it liked it
If I had to list my favorite books as a child, or even my favorite Childrens Books today, this novel wouldn't make the cut. That said, of all the books I read as a child, this one most influenced my literary preferences. It was the first time travel story I ever read. I was completely fascinated by the Guy Fawkes rhyme being important political intelligence.

Ever after I have been, and will always be, a fan of the genre.
Jun 18, 2012 Diana rated it liked it
Shelves: children-s
In this 1907 children's book, Edred and Elfrida find that a distant relation has died and that Edred has inherited the title of "Lord Arden", as well as a crumbling family castle. There's an old family legend that if there is a Lord Arden who is under 10 years old, he can recite some magical words and find family treasure that was hidden long, long ago. They find the spell, of course, and use it to find a magical helper, and then they spend most of the rest of the book travelling through time an ...more
Leore Joanne Green
That was a fun read.
This is one of the Edith Nesbit books which I have NOT read as a child (actually, I think it is the only one). I bought it in England on my fifteenth summer and read it on the flight back home.
The truth is, that when I took it off the shelf yesterday, in search of something which will be a bit more interesting (and magical) then the Hemingway I was reading, which was starting to bore me - I didn't really remember the plot.
What dissapointed me in the book was its' similiarity
Victoria Prescott
Jan 11, 2014 Victoria Prescott rated it it was amazing
I absolutely loved this book when I was a child, and that's why I've given it five stars. Elfrida in particular was a favourite character.

Reading it again as an adult I can tell that it started out as a serial in a magazine - it's a bit episodic, and doesn't have the depth that some of E. Nesbit's full length works do. And some aspects of the time travelling aren't explained - such as what happened to the children whose places Edred and Elfrida took. But it's fantasy and shouldn't be examined t
Nov 12, 2012 Sally rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
I bought this book at a library sale, and it has been around here for a few years. The title put me off; it sounded like a dreary Gothic tale of a dynasty's downfall, a version of the Fall of the House of Usher! But Dempsey just read it recently, and seeing as how it went well with our history studies, I decided to read it myself. The plot centers on two young children from the Arden line who live with their aunt in the ruined family estate. Their father is missing, and their only hope to improv ...more
Sep 25, 2012 Maggie rated it really liked it
It's always fascinating to me how some books manage to transcend time. E. Nesbit's books do perhaps move a bit slower than today's titles, but not remarkably so. Her tone reminds me--surprisingly--of Lemony Snicket. The humor, although not quite so pointed, is much the same style (although the book ends on a more cheerful note!). Although certainly not the first time-travel novel, this story is one of the earliest time-travel novels written for children, and I was surprised to find that Nesbit d ...more
Apr 05, 2016 Lynda rated it it was ok
I checked this out the library because the reviews were by some well-known writers who loved her writing, and this was an old book. (JK Rowling, for one)
I'm not sure I liked it though. There was a lot of description and I wasn't overly fond of the two main characters.
Eldrid, the boy and Elfrida, the girl were very annoying at times. Throughout most of the book, I found myself not caring so much what happens to them as just getting through the book.
The two children go through magical time to sea
Jan 18, 2010 Phoebe rated it really liked it
A great E. Nesbit title, though not as wonderful as her other better-known books. Two children, Edred and Elfrida, find themselves in a magical time travel adventure when Edred learns he is the new Lord Arden. His tumbledown castle could use an infusion of cash and so the children are in pursuit of a great treasure, hidden somewhere in the castle, that they must travel through time to find, with help from the small white mole called the Mouldiwarp. Some plot threads are left untied, but overall ...more
Jan 17, 2014 Vivian rated it liked it
Shelves: children-s
This serves up well as a read-aloud to ages 7-17 of any persuasion. First published in 1908, the New York Review selected this title to add to its "Children's Collection" in 2006. Ten-year-old Edred finds himself suddenly owner of the title "Lord Arden", along with the dilapidated family castle. With the help of his 12-yr-old sister Elfrida, he resolves to discover the fabled lost treasure of the Ardens and restore the castle and grounds to their original splendor which must be accomplished as l ...more
Z Coonen
Jul 28, 2015 Z Coonen rated it liked it
Good story of time travel, bro/sis, castles, search for treasure. Better than 5 Children and It, not as good as the Railway Children.
Sep 08, 2008 Janet rated it really liked it
Anyone who has loved, read, or written children's fantasy needs to read E. Nesbit. All of her books are good, some are great, but what impresses me is that she always gets the children exactly right. Their reactions are absolutely believable, every time. I also like the way the fantasies flow out of games and fantasies children actually have. Imagine having your own ruined castle to explore. It has a cool attic full of mysterious chests. The chests are full of clothes from olden days - and when ...more
May 09, 2015 Logan marked it as to-read
Shelves: british-isles
WHY: I and Logan have loved the E. Nesbit books, but this title, reissued by the New York Review, is unfamiliar to me. The famous Arden family treasure has been missing for generations, and the last members of the Arden line, Edred, Elfrida, and their Aunt Edith, have nothing to their names but the crumbling castle they live in. With time travel, the help of a magical talking creature (the temperamental Mouldiwarp), and adventures involving witches, highwaymen, and renegades, they attempt to sav ...more
Apr 29, 2016 Ben rated it liked it
This was a pleasant early-20th Century jaunt through a magical corner of England with a little time-travel twist at the end. It was nice that the siblings discovered a greater treasure than what they were originally searching for. The occasional injection of author narrative was an interesting method of writing, and it was amusing to have multiple references to Lewis Carrol's works from a near-contemporary. Although pleasant, with some elements similar to John Masefield's books, it didn't fully ...more
Nov 30, 2015 Wendy rated it liked it
3.5 stars
Valerie Kyriosity
Fun, but not spectacularly so. Multiple readers, all OK.
Sue Lyle
Jan 28, 2014 Sue Lyle rated it it was amazing
My second favourite book of my childhood.
Edred and Elfrida are the last of their line, the proud House of Arden, and are too young to have previously understood the family has fallen on hard times financially. Once they realize it is up to them to find the legendary treasure that will restore the family fortunes, they embark on a series of magical adventures with the help of the dour Mouldiwarp. Along with Harding's Luck, a related novel, these are my favorite Nesbits.
Apr 28, 2015 Kailey rated it it was amazing
I enjoyed this book even more reading it the second time! I love dynamic between Edred and Elfrida, fighting and making up just the way siblings do, teasing and snapping at each other, but really caring about one another underneath.
I love the crusty old Moldiwarp and how crabby he is all the time! haha! What a wonderfully imaginative character!
Just a perfect magical tale, with loads of mystery and daring adventure!
May 22, 2010 Sylvester rated it it was ok
Slow at the beginning, speeding up toward the middle. I liked it, but it was all over the place for me. When she brought in the bit about finding their Dad, I felt like it was an awkward add-on. But still, not a bad story. I listened to the Librivox recording of this, and the man who read the majority of the book had an interesting accent - not the greatest reader, but not the worst either.
May 08, 2016 Amelia rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book. It took me back to the kinds of stories I enjoyed so much as a kid. One slight downside was that I knew from the start what was going to happen at the end, and one subplot that didn't resolve, and probably could have. It was a sweet story despite that.
Anne J
Feb 28, 2015 Anne J rated it it was amazing
Shelves: children-s
E. Nesbit is always charming, but this book is an absolute gem. A beautiful and entertaining story complete with time-travel adventures, talking animals and exotic peoples. Most of all, though, this story teaches that family is the greatest treasure.
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Edith Nesbit (married name Edith Bland; 15 August 1858 – 4 May 1924) was an English author and poet; she published her books for children under the name of E. Nesbit.
She wrote or collaborated on over 60 books of fiction for children, several of which have been adapted for film and television. She was also a political activist and co-founded the Fabian Society, a socialist organisation later connec
More about E. Nesbit...

Other Books in the Series

Fabian Time Fantasies (2 books)
  • Harding's Luck (Fabian Time Fantasies, #2)

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“It is all very wonderful and mysterious, as all life is apt to be if you go a little below the crust, and are not content just to read newspapers and go by the Tube Railway, and buy your clothes ready-made, and think nothing can be true unless it is uninteresting.” 11 likes
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