Children's Review: The Hidden Gallery (The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place, Book II) / by Madeleine

Maryrose Wood's The Hidden Gallery is endearing, humorous, and entirely shrouded in mysteries about to be uncovered! This second installment in the series lives up to the first book in its lively tone, plucky characters, and looming mystery. As the blurb states, "something wicked this way comes," and it's up to Miss Penelope Lumley to get to the bottom of it, all while being a top notch governess to her three formerly wild pupils. Yes, she still has to placate them when upsetting situations have them howling at the moon, but overall Alexander, Cassopeia, and Beowulf are on their way to becoming civilized young children. When Lady Ashton has the family relocate temporarily to busy London, Penelope looks forward to taking the children on educational tours of the city. As soon as they arrive, Penelope feels overwhelmed and lost but is saved by the valiant (and handsome) Simon Harley-Dickinson, who soon becomes a close friend to her and the children. While in London, Penelope continues to search for answers regarding her long-lost parents, the strange circumstances of the children's abandonment in the woods of Ashton place, and the mysterious condition of Lord Ashton, who takes to scratching and howling when the full moon shows itself. These many enigmas are puzzling, and yet Penelope may just be close to finding some real answers.

This series is quickly becoming a favorite of mine. I love the historical features of the book, as Wood is deft at subtly incorporating lessons in history, literature, and the like, while still keeping the story accessible to readers. Penelope Lumley is such a wonderful character, full of wisdom and grace and devotion to her three pupils. What I love especially about this sequel is that we start to find out more about the perplexing relationship between Penelope and the children, all while even more mysteries are being added to the plot! Definitely a must read for fans of the first. This series would make a great gift for any young voracious reader, as you really do need to read the whole series to find out all the answers!

Bottom Line Rating: 5/5

  • Title: The Hidden Gallery (The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place, Book II)
  • Author: Maryrose Wood
  • Publisher: Balzer & Bray, 2011
  • ISBN: 9780061791130
  • Price: $7 on Amazon
  • Format: Paperback
  • Source: Amazon