Tuesday, 25 December 2012

Book Review - The Mysterious Howling

Title: The Mysterious Howling
Author: Maryrose Wood
Series: The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place
Publisher: HarperCollins Childrens Book
Release Date: 1 Feb 2011
ISBN-13: 978-0061791109

Found running wild in the forest of Ashton Place, the Incorrigibles are no ordinary children: Alexander, age ten or thereabouts, keeps his siblings in line with gentle nips; Cassiopeia, perhaps four or five, has a bark that is (usually) worse than her bite; and Beowulf, age somewhere-in-the-middle, is alarmingly adept at chasing squirrels. Luckily, Miss Penelope Lumley is no ordinary governess. Only fifteen years old and a recent graduate of the Swanburne Academy for Poor Bright Females, Penelope embraces the challenge of her new position. Though she is eager to instruct the children in Latin verbs and the proper use of globes, first she must help them overcome their canine tendencies. But mysteries abound at Ashton Place: Who are these three wild creatures, and how did they come to live in the vast forests of the estate? Why does Old Timothy, the coachman, lurk around every corner? Will Penelope be able to teach the Incorrigibles table manners and socially useful phrases in time for Lady Constance's holiday ball? And what on earth is a schottische?  

My Review
I was looking up some books for a customer at work and ended up checking amazon for something, I noticed this in the 'recommended' bit underneath. When I was finished what I was doing I went back to have a look. The tile was the first thing to catch my attention as it's very unusual. Reading the synopsis made me think a little bit of Lemony Snicket (which I love) sort of crossed with children's adventure stories like Chris Mould's Wickedly Weird series (again which I love). So I looked it up on our library system and found it in one of the branches and requested it. 
The storyline sounded silly enough to be fun. so I settled down with it to start reading.
Miss Penelope Lumley was brought up in the school for 'Poor Bright Females' and has graduated a year ahead of her class, we meet her as she is setting off, just 15 years old on her way to her first ever job interview as a governess. She comes across as very sensible and instantly likeable. Within the first few pages I was prepared to find out more about this lady.
She travels to a posh estate house called Ashton Place dreaming of being the perfect governess to happy, bright children with lots of animals and they'd have all sorts of wonderful learning experiences, but little does she know that the children are not at all what she is expecting.
Lady Constance runs the house and is the one to hire Penelope, she is a typical stately woman, young but married into wealth. Her husband is hardly ever around and they don't seem to have a good relationship for fairly newly weds but it adds to the mystery of the book. Lady Constance made me laugh quite a lot as she is so melodramatic.
The children act like wolves, found in the woods they were dragged back to the house, but Penelope doesn't run off, she is determined to give them a proper life and make them act like proper children.
Alexander is the eldest, then Beowulf and Cassiopeia (named by Lord Constance) they are fun and exciting to read about and I think kids will love their adventures. All mischievous yet intelligent they must adapt to high social life quite quickly.
I really enjoyed this book and read it quite quickly, the characters really come to life off the page and I found myself giggling quite a few times. 
There are quite a few mysteries in this book, some of which are solved and others which lead you on and I hope will be solved in the next parts. 
Written for Middle Grade/Children this book has fun and loveable characters that children will surely enjoy reading about. Although there is some more difficult language in it that they may need help understanding but only rarely, overall it's written in a way that flows nicely and keeps the reader interested.
I was glad I gave this a try and really enjoyed it. Quick and charming read, I hope I can get hold of book 2.

My Rating


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