the 3rd in The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place
by Maryrose Wood
340 pages of mysterious adventure
The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place grow on you from book to book, as does their tutor, Miss Penelope Lumley – trained at Swanburne Academy for Poor Bright Females. They are smart, resourceful, brave and fun.
In this book we meet Bertha, Admiral Faucet (fah-say – not to be confused with the plumbing) and Lord Frederick’s mother. We learn that she remains in mourning after the tragic loss of her husband in the medicinal tar pits while on a spa holiday many years before. We also learn that Lord Edward (as that was his name) suffered an affliction that befell him at each full moon – he would scratch and howl and bark and yip. This ceased upon Frederick’s birth, though it seems that Frederick acquired the symptoms. His mother knows this. His wife, Lady Constance, does not. He did not want to bore her with the details. Miss Lumley, of course, has had her suspicions.
Lord Frederick’s mother has returned to the manor to ask for her son’s blessing on her marriage to the Admiral. She is struggling to decide whether to follow her head or her heart in this matter. The Admiral plans to use her money to establish ostrich (that is what Bertha is) racing in England and to produce all the accoutrements needed to support the venture. He sees millions in his future, but first he must track down his bird. Bertha has escaped into the woods of Ashton Place and the children are needed to help track her down. Once in the woods their animal side is more pronounced and Miss Lumley fears she may have lost them. After all why not stay in the woods when there is a dry, comfortable cave supplied all the quilts and feather pillows you need along with candles, art supplies, all you desire for learning, AND a picnic hamper full of delicious sandwiches – your exact favorite kinds!
Simon Harley-Dickinson comes back to help, as well as Madame Ionesco. Old Timothy, the groom, again seems to mysteriously appear in all the right places at all the right times. Things happen because he knows – ALL that he knows remains a mystery.
I am looking forward to the next book. Until then I will enjoy the notions of never thinking about ELKS and the image of Alexander, Beowulf and Cassiopeia tossing their peas into the air to catch each time the raven calls, “nevermore” as Poe’s poem The Raven is read (Professional educator that she was, Penelope was proud to have devised a way to combine the study of poetry and the eating of vegetables into a single enjoyable lesson.) and Lady Constance’s attempts at hide and seek.
Who is Judge Quinzey?