Found running wild in the forest of Ashton Place, the Incorrigibles are no ordinary children: Alexander, age ten or thereabouts, keeps his siblings in line with gentle nips; Cassiopeia, perhaps four or five, has a bark that is (usually) worse than her bite; and Beowulf, age somewhere-in-the-middle, is alarmingly adept at chasing squirrels.
Luckily, Miss Penelope Lumley is no ordinary governess. Only fifteen years old and a recent graduate of the Swanburne Academy for Poor Bright Females, Penelope embraces the challenge of her new position. Though she is eager to instruct the children in Latin verbs and the proper use of globes, first she must help them overcome their canine tendencies.
But mysteries abound at Ashton Place: Who are these three wild creatures, and how did they come to live in the vast forests of the estate? Why does Old Timothy, the coachman, lurk around every corner? Will Penelope be able to teach the Incorrigibles table manners and socially useful phrases in time for Lady Constance’s holiday ball? And what on earth is a schottische?
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. . . .
Since returning from London, the three Incorrigible children and their plucky governess, Miss Penelope Lumley, have been exceedingly busy. Despite their wolfish upbringing, the children have taken up bird-watching, with no unfortunate consequences—yet. And a perplexing gift raises hard questions about how Penelope came to be left at the Swanburne Academy for Poor Bright Females and why her parents never bothered to return for her.
But hers is not the only family mystery to solve. When Lord Fredrick’s long-absent mother arrives with the noted explorer Admiral Faucet, gruesome secrets tumble out of the Ashton family tree. And when the admiral’s prized racing ostrich gets loose in the forest, it will take all the Incorrigibles’ skills to find her.
The hunt for the runaway ostrich is on. But Penelope is worried. Once back in the wild, will the children forget about books and poetry and go back to their howling, wolfish ways? What if they never want to come back to Ashton Place at all?
In The Interrupted Tale, Miss Penelope Lumley receives an invitation to speak at the annual Celebrate Alumnae Knowledge Exposition (or CAKE) at the Swanburne Academy for Poor Bright Females. Optoomuchstic as ever, Penelope hopes to give her CAKE talk, see some old friends, and show off the Incorrigible children to Miss Mortimer, but instead she finds her beloved school in an uproar.
And when Penelope is asked by the Swanburne Academy board of trustees to demonstrate the academic progress of her three wolfish students so the board can judge the true worth of a Swanburne education, the future of her alma mater—and of her job as governess to the Incorrigibles—hangs in the balance.
Here comes the fifth book in the Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place, the acclaimed and hilarious Victorian mystery series by Maryrose Wood.
Lord Fredrick Ashton may not feel ready to be a father, but with a little Ashton on the way, he’s sure about one thing: The wolfish curse on his family must end soon, before the child is born. Penelope willingly takes on the challenge; when Lady Constance’s doctor prescribes a seaside holiday, Penelope jumps at the chance to take the three Incorrigible children to Brighton, where she hopes to persuade the old sailor Pudge to reveal what he knows about the Ashton curse.
But the Ashtons are not the only ones at the beach in January. The passionately temperamental Babushkinov family is also taking the winter waters. The Incorrigible children may have been raised by wolves, but the Babushkinov children are the wildest creatures they’ve ever seen. Is it more than mere coincidence that these untamed children have turned up in Brighton just as Penelope and the Incorrigibles arrive?