Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Review: The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place: The Unseen Guest by Maryrose Wood

The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place: The Unseen Guest by Maryrose Wood is the third book in Wood's series and it proves to be another wild romp through howling, mysterious caves, a random ostrich and the danger of hunters. This is a fabulous series for middle grade readers and it keeps getting better.

Synopsis: Of especially naughty children it is sometimes said, "They must have been raised by wolves."

The Incorrigible children actually were.

Since returning from London, the three Incorrigible children and their plucky governess, Miss Penelope Lumley, have been exceedingly busy. When Lord Fredrick's long-absent mother arrives with the noted explorer Admiral Faucet, gruesome secrets tumble out of the Ashton family tree. And when the admiral's prized racing ostrich gets loose in the forest, it will take all the Incorrigibles' skills to find her. But once back in the wild, will the children forget about books and poetry and go back to their howling, wolfish ways? (publisher)

There is something wonderful about this series. Every time I open the book, I love digging into the wisdom of Agatha Swanburne and seeing Penelope put that advice to use when dealing with the Incorrigibles. Those three kids are trying to be more human-like and they are doing a great job. I loved seeing Alexander, Beowulf, and Cassiopeia put their new learned wisdom to use and I also continue to love that Penelope lets them be kids. Of course, she does want to see them educated but she also enjoys their silliness and scuffles.

And what scuffles! Be prepared for some very zany antics yet again in this installment. The hunt is indeed on and it's not just the Incorrigibles being hunted. There is an ostrich afoot on the Ashton estate and the Incorrigibles have excitedly embraced the task of helping to find it. Of course, nothing goes quite as planned and Penelope is left scrambling.

Some new secrets and twists are revealed in this book, particularly revolving around characters who have been quite mysterious in the past (I'm thinking of a certain judicial figure). Maryrose Wood has really mastered the art of creating clues with some answers but creating tons of questions on top of them. I have my own theories in regards to the mysteries surrounding the Incorrigibles of course but it's interesting to see how it all plays out. I will say though that sometimes this book dragged a bit. Part of it was I thought this was the conclusion to the series so I kept expected some wrapping up of the story but that is not the case. There are more books to come so if I had known that, perhaps I wouldn't have been a tad frustrated while reading.

My reading experience for this series is highly, highly compromised (in the best way!) by having listened to the first two books on audio (you can read my review of The Mysterious Howling if you're inclined) so as I was actually reading this book, all the voices of Katherine Kellgren stayed in my head, particularly that of the mistress of Ashton Place, Lady Constance. I couldn't get those voices out of my head and it improved my reading experience.

This is one of my favorite book series for middle graders right now and it's partly because Maryrose Wood does such a great job of mixing the mundane in with the mysterious. Penelope and the Incorrigibles are definitely a great team and I knew they would persevere through all their troubles. It is kind of scary just how weird adults are when it comes to the Incorrigibles and all the wacky schemes they have in store for them.

If you enjoyed the first two books in Maryrose Wood's series, you definitely need to read The Unseen Guest. It's worth revisiting the Incorrigibles and you get to see them in their natural habitat.

The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place: The Unseen Guest is available today so run out and buy it! And be sure to come back to the blog on Friday for a special guest blog from Agatha Swanburne herself! It's not to be missed.

ARC provided by publisher for blog tour.


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