The Hidden Gallery (The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place #2) by Maryrose Wood
Of especially naughty children it is sometimes said, "They must have been raised by wolves."
The Incorrigible children actually were.
Thanks to the efforts of Miss Penelope Lumley, their plucky governess, Alexander, Beowulf, and Cassiopeia are much more like children than wolf pups now. They are accustomed to wearing clothes. They hardly ever howl at the moon. And for the most part, they resist the urge to chase squirrels up trees.
Despite Penelope's civilizing influence, the Incorrigibles still managed to ruin Lady Constance's Christmas ball, nearly destroying the grand house. So while Ashton Place is being restored, Penelope, the Ashtons, and the children take up residence in London. Penelope is thrilled, as London offers so many opportunities to further the education of her unique students. But the city presents challenges, too, in the form of the palace guards' bearskin hats, which drive the children wild—not to mention the abundance of pigeons the Incorrigibles love to hunt. As they explore London, however, they discover more about themselves as clues about the children's—and Penelope's—mysterious past crop up in the most unexpected ways.
This was a simply fabulous and rollicking good read that had me chuckling out loud as I experienced the various adventures alongside Penelope and her charges. The main character, Miss Penelope Lumley, is a governess to the three Incorrigible children- Alexander, Beowulf, Cassiopeia- and it was such fun reading about their experiences and the mischief the three children got involved in. The Hidden Gallery begins with Miss Lumley and the Incorrigibles preparing to leave for a trip to London. From there, the foursome will encounter some mysterious people, get into their share of mischief, and learn that things are not always what they seem.
Miss Penelope Lumley was such a likable heroine. She had a solid head on her shoulders and was a bright and determined young woman. When she, Mr and Mrs Ashton, and the three youngsters venture to London, Miss Lumley is in for an adventure unlike any other. No matter what trouble the kids caused, Penelope always handled it with dignity and a smile- she was very optimistic. Each of the characters in The Hidden Gallery had something unique about them and I enjoyed getting to know them all. Alexander, Beowulf, and Cassiopeia were adorable and extremely lovable.
There was a mysterious undertone throughout the book that had me anxiously reading into the night, dying to know what was going to happen next. There were a few clues dropped over the course of the story and it was fun trying to piece them together. While this was an overall light and fun story, there was some darker happenings going on that left me eager to read the next addition to the series as soon as possible!
Maryrose Wood has such a wonderful writing style. I loved all the British terms and catch phrases that she included and I couldn't help but smile at the words Penelope and her charges made up. While this is a middle grade novel it will appeal to older readers as well because it was such a magical and well written novel.
I very much enjoyed The Hidden Gallery even though I did not read the prequel (The Mysterious Howling) and I recommend picking it up right away. London is one of my favorite places to visit, and I thoroughly enjoyed getting a tour of the city through the eyes of Penelope. They visited some intriguing places and had such exciting times while there. It made me all the more anxious to return!
In all, The Hidden Gallery was a delightful story that was both humorous and mysterious with a hint of romance and adventure. I can't wait to read the next book in the series.
Overall: 5 out of 5 stars
March 1, 2011/Balzer + Bray/240 Pages/Middle Grade/Book Two
Source: DLK Communications (ARC)
Other books in the series: The Mysterious Howling (Book One)