When Miss Penelope Lumley, a recent graduate of the Swanburne Academy for Poor Bright Females, goes to Ashton Place to be interviewed for the position of governess to three young children, she's certain that she's found the ideal job. A knowledgeable governess who loves animals is being sought after, and Penelope is perfect for the task. But what she doesn't expect are the children's animal-like tendencies, a direct result of being raised by wolves. Rather than flee Ashton Place, Penelope is determined to stay on and teach the children all she can. But it is rather difficult to do so when she must first teach them proper hygiene and etiquette in preparation for the holiday ball to please their benefactors, all the while wondering where on earth the children came from and why certain people are perhaps too interested in them.
The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place is a charming and unconventional tale. It's told in an authentic and highly entertaining voice that lends itself to the setting of the novel, sophisticated and proper, yet very entertaining and accessible to younger readers (for example, when discussing a tableaux vivant, the narrator says, "No doubt this will sound dull to the modern viewer whose tastes have been shaped by more advanced forms of entertainment featuring zombies and so forth..."). These little references to more modern items are a bit surpsing at first, but they are few and far between. The characters are of course eccentric, from the three Incorrigibles Alexander, Beowulf, and Cassiopeia and their quirky, canine, and squirrel-chasing tendencies, all the way to the lord and lady of Ashton Place. In the middle of it all, Penelope is a clever and resourceful heroine with gumption and smarts who isn't easily cowed.
The mysteries interwoven in the novel are also quite fascinating, for they concern not just Ashton Place and the Incorrigibles, but their plucky governess and her past as well. Though not many answers are revealed, the book is never predictable nor boring, and by the time you are through, you will be in love with the Incorrigibles and Penelope. The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place is a genuinely fun and engaging Gothic book that may be tilted at kids, but anyone will enjoy it.
Cover Comments: I don't normally like a mostly brown color scheme, but this one is cute! It accurately shows that the book is historical fiction, but it isn't boring. Very nice.
ARC received from publisher.