The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place

Book I: The Mysterious Howling
by Maryrose Wood

{ 2010 | Balzer + Bray | 272 pgs }

This children’s book satisfactorily answers the question, What would happen if I combined Lemony Snicket and P. L. Travers? (Oh, come on. P. L. Travers wrote the Mary Poppins books.) I first picked it up because I heard it had phenomenal illustrations by Jon Klassen. And then I had to pick up the second book – it’s a series! – because the first was so enjoyable. And the third – well, it hasn’t been written yet.

Our main character, Penelope Lumley, is a recent graduate of Swanburne Academy for Poor Bright Females, and has been offered a position as governess at Ashton Place. If you weren’t sold by the time you read “Swanburne Academy for Poor Bright Females,” maybe this isn’t the book for you. But I loved it. The writing style falls somewhere between intriguing and flippant – is there a word for that? It’s very Lemony Snicket, only more fun. It isn’t quite so sinister (yet).

I’m always a little hesitant to start reading a new series of books, particularly one still in progress. The Mysterious Howling leaves a lot of loose ends and doesn’t necessarily work on its own. I feel almost like none of the questions raised during the book were answered, and there was no real closure – the best you get is a sort of “Miss Lumley resolved to face the uncertain future with optimism.” Which, really, doesn’t mean much, and seems like a way of ending the book without a real ending.

That being said, the second book, The Hidden Gallery, was published this year, so you can at least read the first two books of the series. I don’t mean to suggest that you avoid the series until it’s complete – but be aware that these are not self-contained stories by any means.

Buy The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place on Amazon


Be opinionated! We certainly are.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s