Saturday, April 30, 2011

The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place: Book II: The Hidden Gallery by Maryrose Wood

Summary/Cover Image from Publisher's Website:

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.
Review:

Charming, hilarious, and full of page turning fun, Maryrose Wood’s The Hidden Gallery is middle grade fiction at its finest.

The Hidden Gallery opens up just as Miss Penelope Lumley, governess to the three “wolf cubs” Alexander, Beowulf, and Cassiopeia, learns that they as well as the Ashtons will be making a trip to London. Even though this trip is due to serious repairs the house is under because of the children, Penelope is nothing short of excited. She is looking forward to not only visiting London and seeing her old governess, but getting away from the troubles that have seem to follow her and the children lately. However, after a mysterious, haunting warning, Penelope, Alexander, Beowulf, and Cassiopeia are left on a wild goose chase, which involves meeting new people, mysterious fortunetellers, and hidden galleries. Will everything turn out okay in the end? Will Penelope’s as wells as the children’s true origins ever come into play? Only time and more pages can tell in this exciting adventure!

First, the characters in The Hidden Gallery were nothing short of the funny lovable ones readers hope to find in books. Penelope was savvy, smart, and likable, and I always loved her, as well as Agatha Swanburne’s, random spurts of wisdom thrown in. On the other hand, the children were lively and chaotic little things that nearly always managed to still the spotlight with their interesting appearances. The other characters in this managed to be the same, because from the spoiled Lady Ashton to the other unique staff, I was continually chuckling due to their dialogue and actions.

The plot of this was another high point. One thing I always love about middle grade fiction is the fact that there is also a lot of action and fun, and Maryrose had ample amounts of both in The Hidden Gallery. I was repeatedly flipping the pages, dying to know what would happen next. Would Penelope and the children ever find out the truth behind the mysterious occurrences? Better yet, what about their backgrounds- did they have something to do with it? There was not a moment where I was not completely immersed in the story.

Wood’s writing was also great! I loved how she never once dumbed the story, instead presented a complex story filled with intricate yet necessary details and backstory that I am sure children, teens, and may even adults will enjoy. The only thing I would have liked more of was character development, but as there are more books to come in the series, I am sure the characters will have plenty of room to develop.

In all, if you read one middle grade book this year, let it be Maryrose Wood’s The Hidden Gallery. Full of twists and turns to keep nearly any reader happy, I am sure it will become a fan favorite. Especially for fans of Stephanie Burgis’ Kat, Incorrigible and Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events series. I can only hope the next addiction will be as good…

Grade: A+

The Hidden Gallery is now out!

Source: Publicist at DLK Communcations- thanks Laura!

3 comments:

  1. i love this cover and it sounds like the book is awesome too!! thanks for the great review, i'll have to check it out.

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  2. I still need to read the first book, but these books just sounds so Marry Poppins cute. ;) lol

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  3. I enjoyed this quite a bit and am excited for the next book to be released :)

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