The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place, Book 5: The Unmapped Sea by Maryrose Wood is the newest book in the series. It opens not on the best note, with Lady Ashton complaining, but picks up quickly from there. She’s expecting her first baby, and the doctor prescribes sea air for her. But instead of going to Italy, as she would like, Lord Ashton decides to go to Brighton – in the off-season, when it’s cold.
Penelope Lumley, governess to the three Incorrigibles (who are wards of Lord Ashton, having formerly been raised by wolves), jumps at the chance to go to Brighton. Her friend Simon’s Uncle Pudge, who was the cabin boy for Lord Ashton’s great-grandfather, lives there, and she and Lord Ashton hope she can find out more about the wolfish curse that was put on him and reverse it before his baby is born.
While in Brighton, the Ashtons, Incorrigibles, and Penelope meet a quirky Russian family, the Babushkinovs, with whose destiny they become more entwined by the end. And Penelope and the children have another dangerous run-in with the evil Edward Ashton. This time, it seems he has gained the upper hand.
In fact, this book ended on a very sad, but hopeful note. Yet it has a lot of good fun and very clever writing in it, as all the Incorrigible books do. A lot of the threads of previous plot lines come together in this one, yet there are a few more problems to be worked out – a major one, by the end of the book – and a few more questions still unanswered.
A couple of issues parents might want to be aware of, so you can be prepared for discussing them: the Ashton family curse has come up before. If you’ve read the series up til now you’ve probably had discussions about this aspect with your children, whatever your feelings about it. The second issue is a discussion about how babies are born (apparently Lady Constance does not know, content to leave that to the doctor). Nothing explicit is said, but the discussion will probably prompt questions about it, so you might want to be ready for that. 🙂
I listened to the audiobook, once again read wonderfully by Katherine Kellgren.
(This review will also be linked to Semicolon‘s Saturday Review of Books.)