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The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place: Book II: The Hidden Gallery Paperback – 18 Feb 2012
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“Another series of uproarious escapades. fans of the first book will be happy to go along for the madcap ride.” (School Library Journal)
“[A] madcap sequel. Great fun, and it wouldn’t be optoomuchstic to expect more to come.” (Kirkus Reviews)
From the Back Cover
Of especially naughty children, it is sometimes said: "They must have been raised by wolves." The Incorrigible children actually were.
Thanks to their plucky governess, Penelope Lumley, Alexander, Beowulf, and Cassiopeia are much more like children than wolf cubs 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.
Yet the Incorrigibles are not entirely civilized, and 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. As they explore the city, Penelope and the Incorrigibles discover more about themselves as clues about the children's--and Penelope's own--mysterious past crop up in the most unexpected ways. . . .--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition. See all Product description
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I requested this book at the library and they were very good and ordered it for me, it actually came in quite quickly. So I settled down to find out what was behind the mysteries.
In that respect I was slightly disappointed, nothing is really answered in this book. More mysteries and questions are created but nothing is really solved. We still don't know where the children came from, why Lord Frederick has illness of a werewolf, who Judge Quinzy really is or why Penelope has to disguise her real hair colour. All of these questions are driving me mad!
The plot thickens in this book, we find a bit more about the children's earlier years in the wood and get closer to some of the other characters but I'm still left wondering!!! Whilst I am frustrated, I did still enjoy the book. The children are growing up and learning new skills and developing individual personalities, they captivate you and make you want to know more about them. You also see Penelope really mature in this book and it was refreshing. She still maintains a certain about of childhood innocence but she is definitely becoming more mature.
Filled with charming illustrations to go with the story, this book is delightful to read, it holds your attention and the plot flows well so you are never bored or waiting for something to happen. Some bits are very silly and unbelievable, but it's all part of the books charm.
I hope there will be another one out soon because I really want to solve this whole mystery and these books are strangely addictive.
It is such a pleasure to read such a funny series, with so much heart underneath the humor.
My favorite Swanburne-ism from this book: "As Agatha Swanburne once said, 'To be kept waiting in unfortunate, but to be kept waiting with nothing interesting to read is a tragedy of Greek proportions.'"
I am definitely a Swanburne girl wannabe!
Anyway The Hidden Gallery follows on right where book 1 ends. The house is trashed, the children in disgrace and Lady Ashton in a frightful state as usual. Deciding it's time to get away they decide to go on a trip to London. Once there things only get more confusing. The origin of the Children is still a mystery, Lord Ashton's strange behaviour is still not explained and now there is a strange Gypsy woman scaring them with crazy predictions. Why is it so important that Miss Lumley dye her hair and what has Agatha Swanburne got to do with it all.
The mystery is very well layered and will have you turning the pages to know more, but each time you think you are about to get an answer the mystery just gets deeper. This series is very Lemony Snicket like and in a way that is one of the things I love about it. It's fresh, sweet, intriguing and enjoyable.
The Hidden Gallery is set in 1850 I think so has some historical elements which I enjoyed reading about and added a certain charm to it. The language in the book is just charming and creates a whole feel to the book and makes it all seem so much more realistic.
Lady Constance is once again very melodramatic and over the top, it would be annoying if it wasn't so funny, but I really did find myself laughing at some of her ridiculous statements.
The children are also developing well as characters and developing stronger personalities. I did get slightly irritated by the constant 'woooo's added to the end of words. It was cute at first but started to annoy me more as the book went on. But I suppose it does fit with their background and it wasn't a big issue, I could mostly ignore it so it didn't put me off at all.
Overall I think this book is full of charm and fun and great adventure. A thoroughly enjoyable read for children and adults alike.
What a treasure to find, the writing bounces along taking the reader along for the ride with intriguing plot lines and well rounded characters.
The only criticism I have is that whilst the book is a joy to read, I did feel that the plot didn't move along as quickly as I would have liked.
More exciting, varied and involving than the first.
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