Children's Review: The Mysterious Howling (The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place, Book I) / by Madeleine

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The Mysterious Howling introduces us to Miss Penelope Lumley, a fifteen-year old recent graduate of the Swanburne Academy for Poor Bright Females. She has accepted a position as a governess for the children of Ashton Place, but when she arrives at the sprawling estate, she finds not the hopeful, young pupils she's expecting, but rather a trio of wild children whom Master Frederick Ashton had found in the woods while hunting. Penelope is taken aback, but as the wise founder of her alma mater once said, "No hopeless case is without hope." Penelope sets about educating and acclimating her new wards, and soon finds out that Mistress Ashton- who has no interest in playing the role of mother- expects the children to be fully adjusted in time for her first Christmas ball as lady of the house. It seems as though the children have little chance of being ready for the party, but Penelope takes on the task with all of the determination of a true Swanburne girl.

This book was serious and playful in equal measure. I loved the character of Penelope; she is a confident, bright young woman with a true sense of justice and a kind heart. I found myself thinking that perhaps I could try to be a bit more like her. Besides the endearing qualities of Miss Lumley (and the children), Wood has created a quirky and intriguing environment for this series. This first book ends with a subtle foreshadowing and a somewhat eerie cliffhanger. I couldn't wait more than a day before ordering the next two in the series, as I am keen on discovering whether my own predictions are correct.

Bottom Line Rating: 5/5


  • Title: The Mysterious Howling
  • Series: The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place, Book I
  • Author: Maryrose Wood
  • Publisher: Balzer & Bray, 2010
  • ISBN: 9780061791109
  • Price: $6.99 on Amazon
  • Format: Paperback
  • Source: Amazon