I hadn’t planned on reading The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place, Book 1: The Mysterious Howling by Maryrose Wood, but I had seen the title on different people’s book lists, and when I saw the audiobook was free (through today, June 12) via Sync, I decided to give it a try. I’m so glad I did.
The story involves a star graduate from Swanburne Academy for Poor Bright Females, Penelope Lumley, age fifteen, who is taking up her first assignment as a governess. Her charges are unusual: two boys and a girl with somewhat…canine tendencies, having been raised by wolves. Lord Ashton found them, but Lady Ashton is less than pleased.
Penelope is up for the challenge, which has its various ups and downs, along with several mysteries: How did the children come to be living alone in the woods? What happened to Penelope’s own parents? Why does Old Timothy, trusted servant and coachman, seem to be lurking about when Penelope is outside with the children?
The writing is a delight, with the quirky flavor of the Lemony Snicket and Mysterious Benedict Society books and an abundance of colorful similes, odd sayings of Swanburne’s founder (“If it were easy to resist, it would not be called chocolate cake”), amusing asides, and references to Dickens and Sherlock Holmes.
Katherine Kellgren’s reading brought the book wonderfully to life, with a variety of accents and tones for the different characters.
I’m hooked, even though it is technically a children’s book (but then, some of the best books adults love are children’s books, e.g, Narnia, Anne of Green Gables. etc). I already checked out the second book from the library.