The Mysterious Howling is book One of The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place by Maryrose Wood. The first thought that crossed my mind when I finished the book was “charming” and the second was “I wish it was longer!” (Lucky for me it’s the first of a series).
Miss Penelope Lumley, a recent graduate from the Swanburne Academy for Poor Bright Females, has taken her first post as governess. Little did she know that it would be an unusual post indeed! Ashton Place, a huge estate, is home to Lady Constance and Lord Frederick and now to three unusual children. Found running wild in the woods, the three appear to have been raised by wolves! Alexander (age 10ish), Beowulf (age 7ish?) and Cassiopeia (age 4 or 5ish) appear entirely wild at first meeting. It’s up to Miss Lumley to tame and teach these unusual siblings.
And, as the Goodreads summary puts it: “But mysteries abound at Ashton Place: Who are these three wild creatures, and how did they come to live in the vast forests of the estate? Why does Old Timothy, the coachman, lurk around every corner? Will Penelope be able to teach the Incorrigibles table manners and socially useful phrases in time for Lady Constance’s holiday ball? And what on earth is a schottische?”
Penelope is practical, witty, and idealistic. She’s a tenderhearted young woman who sets upon her task with determination!
The three Incorrigibles are active, interesting, and eager. They are fast learners but forever distracted by squirrels!
Lady Constance is young, chatty, and perhaps a bit flighty. She’s also rather miffed at having three foster children suddenly thrust upon her!
Lord Frederick seems to spend a lot of time at his Gentleman’s club, but why?
Old Timothy is mysterious.
All in all, I really enjoyed this book. It was a light, quick read, meant for a bit younger audiences, and with enough quirky narrative comments that it reminded me pleasantly of “A Series of Unfortunate Events”, though with less unfortunate events.
I’m quite looking forward to trying out the rest of the series! 4/5