Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place: The Mysterious Howling by Maryrose Wood

Penelope Lumley is a Victorian orphan (or so we presume) ho grew up in a school for poor bright girls.  Upon graduation from the school, she takes a position as a governess at grandiose mansion in the English countryside.  She soon discovers that her three charges are children who had recently been discovered in the woods on the estate.  The children have been raised by wolves and when she first meets them they have decidedly doggy behaviors,  have never worn clothing, and speak with barks and growls.  Undaunted, the plucky Miss Lumley takes them under her wing and starts to teach them the art of being human. There are some very funny scenes where Miss Lumley is faced with the dubious tasks to teaching the two boys how to put on trousers, trying to get all three children to stop chasing squirrels, and how to teach them to say "socially useful phrases" at the appropriate times.  The mistress of the mansion does not like the children and does not understand why her husband of six months wants to keep them. Miss Lumley wonders this as well, and begins to believe there are sinister motives afoot. This was a delightful read.  I chuckled all the way through.  The juxtaposition of the prim and proper Miss Lumley with the wild but endearing children is handled so well and the all the side characters are funny and interesting.  The only drawback to the book is that it closes with many unanswered questions.  Never fear, there is a sequel and I will read it as soon as I get a chance. (267 p)

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