Saturday 26 January 2013

Book Review - The Hidden Gallery

Title: The Hidden Gallery
Author: Maryrose Wood
Series: The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Palace (book 2)
Publisher: HarperCollins
Release Date: 18 Feb 2012
ISBN-13: 978-0061791130

Of especially naughty children it is sometimes said, "They must have been raised by wolves."
The Incorrigible children actually were.
Thanks to the efforts of Miss Penelope Lumley, their plucky governess, Alexander, Beowulf, and Cassiopeia are much more like children than wolf pups now. They are accustomed to wearing clothes. They hardly ever howl at the moon. And for the most part, they resist the urge to chase squirrels up trees.
Despite Penelope's civilizing influence, the Incorrigibles still managed to ruin Lady Constance's Christmas ball, nearly destroying the grand house. So while Ashton Place is being restored, Penelope, the Ashtons, and the children take up residence in London. Penelope is thrilled, as London offers so many opportunities to further the education of her unique students. But the city presents challenges, too, in the form of the palace guards' bearskin hats, which drive the children wild—not to mention the abundance of pigeons the Incorrigibles love to hunt. As they explore London, however, they discover more about themselves as clues about the children's—and Penelope's—mysterious past crop up in the most unexpected ways. . . .

My Review
I read book 1 a few weeks ago and really enjoyed it. I found it fresh and fun and wanted to know more, so I ordered this book at the library. It came in yesterday and I thought I would start it quickly. (it's quite short with good sized print so I knew it wouldn't take long).
Anyway The Hidden Gallery follows on right where book 1 ends. The house is trashed, the children in disgrace and Lady Ashton in a frightful state as usual. Deciding it's time to get away they decide to go on a trip to London. Once there things only get more confusing. The origin of the Children is still a mystery, Lord Ashton's strange behaviour is still not explained and now there is a strange Gypsy woman scaring them with crazy predictions. Why is it so important that Miss Lumley dye her hair and what has Agatha Swanburne got to do with it all.
The mystery is very well layered and will have you turning the pages to know more, but each time you think you are about to get an answer the mystery just gets deeper. This series is very Lemony Snicket like and in a way that is one of the things I love about it. It's fresh, sweet, intriguing and enjoyable. 
The Hidden Gallery is set in 1850 I think so has some historical elements which I enjoyed reading about and added a certain charm to it. The language in the book is just charming and creates a whole feel to the book and makes it all seem so much more realistic.
Lady Constance is once again very melodramatic and over the top, it would be annoying if it wasn't so funny, but I really did find myself laughing at some of her ridiculous statements.
The children are also developing well as characters and developing stronger personalities. I did get slightly irritated by the constant 'woooo's added to the end of words. It was cute at first but started to annoy me more as the book went on. But I suppose it does fit with their background and it wasn't a big issue, I could mostly ignore it so it didn't put me off at all.
Overall I think this book is full of charm and fun and great adventure. A thoroughly enjoyable read for children and adults alike. 

My Rating

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