Series: The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place #1
Published by HarperCollins on March 1st 2010
Found running wild in the forest of Ashton Place, the Incorrigibles are no ordinary children: Alexander, age ten or thereabouts, keeps his siblings in line with gentle nips; Cassiopeia, perhaps four or five, has a bark that is (usually) worse than her bite; and Beowulf, age somewhere-in-the-middle, is alarmingly adept at chasing squirrels.
Luckily, Miss Penelope Lumley is no ordinary governess. Only fifteen years old and a recent graduate of the Swanburne Academy for Poor Bright Females, Penelope embraces the challenge of her new position. Though she is eager to instruct the children in Latin verbs and the proper use of globes, first she must help them overcome their canine tendencies.
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?
I picked this one up on audio because it was narrated by the amazing Kathryn Kellgren and after finishing the Bloody Jack books, I wanted to hear more of her work on audiobooks. This was a series I had heard a little bit about and I'll be the first to say I didn't really read the synopsis before starting it, so I just thought it was about three terrible children and the poor nanny that has to deal with them.
The first thing I noticed was the setting, definitely in the past and set in Britain. Miss Penelope Lumley, the main character is an orphan who was brought up at the Swanburne Academy and finds herself at her first governess job. What she soon finds out is that this will be no ordinary job, as her three pupils were found in the wild.
I really just loved Penelope and how well she took the job in stride. In fact, she made some shocking progress. Often, she quotes Agatha Swanburne, who has all sorts of advice that helps Penelope along. I really suggest listening to this book, because the narrator does a lovely job of how the children speak, in wolf-ish howls that eventually come to sound like English words.
Quite shockingly, we find the children in danger at their first party, where someone seems to be after them for one reason or another. It's quite mysterious and hopefully will be more revealed as to what is going on in the next book. This book was a lot more than I thought it would be and I can't wait to read more of Penelope's adventures with the children.
Definitely pick this one up if you want a solid piece of literature. I would highly suggest the audiobooks, as Kathryn Kellgren does a beautiful job of capturing the characters and bringing them to life with the help of Maryrose's wondrous prose.