The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place. Book 1: The Mysterious Howling by Maryrose Wood. Read by Katherine Kellgren.
When we meet fifteen-year-old Penelope Lumley, she is a recent graduate of the Swanburn School for Poor Bright Females, on her way to her first job interview at the imposing Ashton Place. Only after accepting the position of governess does she meet the children – three children who have been raised by wolves. Penelope’s challenging job is to teach Alexander, Beowulf and little Casseopeia not only English, but also how to behave at a formal ball and how to do the Schottisch – whatever that is – before Christmas. Its vague references to novels starring plain governesses or set in large manor houses went right over Lightning Bolt’s head but greatly amused my love and me. The children are unbelievably quick to learn human ways but cling endearingly to some wolfish traits like chasing squirrels, howling at the moon, and adding wolfish noise to their words – “Miss Lumley” becomes “Lumeroo”. There are several mysteries, however: Who left the children in the woods in the first place? Does Penelope herself still have parents? And why is Lord Ashton so very attached to his almanac? The story is told in classic style by a narrator who puts in frequent notes along the lines of, “Now that we have gotten to know Miss Lumley, we may call her Penelope.” As always, Katherine Kellgren does a superb job of narrating, including in this case, the voices of children who sound partly like children and partly like wolves. We listened to it twice over before bringing it back to the library, and I at least am going to keep an eye out for the next books.
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