Tuesday, September 22, 2015

The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place The Unseen Guest by Maryrose Wood

Rating: WARTY!

I was sorry to see this series go downhill after volume two. I had been a thrilled and willing reader, but volume two wasn't as good as volume one, although still eminently readable. Volume three, this volume, was not even in the same class as the previous two. It quickly became boring and never improved. Perhaps the intended age group for which this was written will not notice this and still be fans, but for me it was blahh! I think this is an object lesson in why series are generally a bad thing, because they are essentially the same story over and over again. While some writers can do this and keep the story fresh and exciting, others cannot, and this is what I encountered here. If this entire series had been sold as a single novel, with large chunks of the boring edited out, it would have been a much better story.

The entire story here is really nothing more than a stray ostrich and a psychic, which you would think would make for an hilarious tale, but no. We meet Lord Ashton's mother and her beau, Admiral Faucet ("for-say"), who, it turns out is merely after her money, not her hand in marriage, because he wants to start an ostrich farm and a chain of ostrich restaurants.

His one ostrich is running around the Ashton estate, and for reasons beyond anyone's ken, it's decided that Ashton, Faucet, Lumeru and the three babes from the woods will go on an expedition to find it. Over the course of this expedition, Lumeru is led to the cave where the kids were raised, and she decides that Faucet is not honorable. Knowing that the Widow Ashton has doubts about remarrying, Lumeru invites her favorite psychic to contact Edward Ashton, and then tries to fake his appearance by clandestinely employing Simaru to impersonate him, but she's too late - someone else already is!

Anyone who is in any doubt at this point as to the outcome of this series is obviously not paying attention! But this volume was worse than volume three and at this point I have no desire to pursue this series. This marks four volumes and virtually none of the questions posed in volume one have been answered. The titles of the volumes are misleading, too, because this unseen guest has been around since volume one with promises of discovery and none have come! It's annoying at best and a cheap ploy at worst. When a writer behaves like this, a reader gets to the point of not caring what reveals there are. I certainly don't!

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