Genre: children’s historical fiction
Length: 272 pages
Setting: Ashton Place, England, late 1800s
Interest: It was a children’s chapter book available to borrow as an audiobook from our library. It’s the first book in the The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place series.
Summary: Miss Penelope Lumley, recently graduated from the Swanburne Academy for Poor Bright Females, is taken on as governess at Ashton Place. Her charges are not what she expected. The three children were found by Lord Ashton in his woods on a hunting expedition (and subsequently named Alexander, Beowulf, and Cassiopeia). Lady Ashton is a flighty society lady who wants nothing to do with the barking, growling, and biting children. It’s up to Miss Lumley to teach the children how to function in society and speak English, including many socially useful phrases so they won’t shame Lady Ashton at her Christmas party.
Final thoughts: Not at all what I was expecting, based on the name. I was thinking it would be a mystery, but it was more of a quiet story. The audio version we listened to was excellent. The narrator frequently would break the fourth wall and explain a tricky phrase or explain how different things were back in the 1800s compared to today. The story reminded me a bit of Mary Poppins, with Miss Lumley believing absolutely in the children, while Lady Ashton, in all her drama and hysterics, just wanting the children gone. The end of the story hinted at a deeper mystery than just where the children came from.
Title comes from: The mysterious howling the children and Miss Lumley heard in the last scene of the book behind a hidden door in the attic.
Reading challenges fulfilled: none, since this was an audiobook
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