Monday, April 30, 2012

The Mysterious Howling

The title: The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place: The Mysterious Howling
The authors: Maryrose Wood
Publication: HarperCollins, 2010
Got it from: Gift to someone MC, loaned back to me

This book is what would happen if Lemony Snicket wrote Jane Eyre.  Miss Penelope Lumley, fifteen years old and a graduate of the Swanburne Academy for Poor Bright Females, goes to live as governess at Ashton Place.  The only problem is that her three charges were literally raised by wolves, and only found weeks earlier by Lord Ashton on a hunting expedition.  They are given the names Alexander, Beowulf and Cassiopeia Incorrigble.  Like My Fair Lady, Miss Lumley must not only instruct her pupils on the basics of literarure, math and science, but also on correct behaviour in Victorian society.  

Miss Lumley herself is the least interesting character in the story, behaving rather oddly for a fifteen-year-old governess in the way she immediately begins ordering the other servants around.  But the three children themselves are absolutely adorable, especially the way they add "awoo" to the end of every word ("Lumley" becomes "Lumawoo," a squirrel they make friends with is "Nutsawoo," the "wreck of the Hesperus" because "Wreck of the Hespawoo.")  This is a very silly story with lots of silly details, such as two guests' last names being Maytag and Hoover.  And there are lots of unanswered questions: who are the Incorrigbles?  Is there really somebody trapped in the wall?  Is there some relation between Miss Lumley and the children?  What does the coachman know that he's not saying?  No doubt the rest of the series will provide some answers.

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