Tuesday, September 22, 2015

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


Rating: WORTHY!

This story follows on shortly after the end of the first volume. Lady Constance is in a tiswas over the renovations to her home which are necessary to repair the damage which the incorrigibles' rampage caused, and is inadvertently persuaded to go for stay in London until the repairs are completed. There was hardly sufficient damage caused to necessitate several months of repairs, but this story is absurdist anyway, so adding a little more absurdity is hardly a fault.

The whole household, very nearly, is dispatched, with Penelope and the incorrigibles in the vanguard. One of the joys of the first book was that Penelope was a single girl who needed no man to validate her. My fear in this book was that we would lose this because she almost immediately met a charming gentleman of her own station, who adored the children. Fortunately, he, and indeed they together, was not something which I found to be obnoxious, so I ended-up loving this story, too.

Alexander, Beowulf, and Cassiopeia incorrigible are suitably advanced in their learning and language skills at this point, and avidly taking to hear the lessons of the Peloponnesian war. Indeed, so advanced are they that they are constructing a trireme out of a potted plant, and Cassa-woof has a pet squirrel, of all creatures. The squirrel's name is, of course, Nutsaru.

Despite all of this, forces continue to conspire against the children's equanimity. The highlight of this is their attendance upon a performance of a play titled, The pirate's Holiday, wherein the thespians inhabit their maritime roles so completely that after the children cause a disruption of the play, the result is a piratical hue and cry which pursues them all the way to the British museum, which is of intrigue because Penelope seems to have acquired for herself the only existing copy of a guide to a special and infrequently visited exhibit wherein likes yet more clues to both her and her charges' origins.

Once again Katherine Kellgren excelled in her reading, and the author excelled in her writing. The book was a charmer, with scores of laugh-out-loud moments. It pleased me immensely and I therefore recommend it to you as a very worthy read. Unfortunately after this point the series took a dive, so this is the last volume I can recommend.


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