David's Reviews > The Mysterious Howling

The Mysterious Howling by Maryrose Wood
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Jul 04, 10

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bookshelves: kids-fiction
Read from July 03 to 04, 2010

The Mysterious Howling is a send up of Victorian society and gothic novels, with a heroine, Penelope Lumley, who at age 15 finds herself governess of three children, the Incorrigible's, apparently reaised by wolves. This will probably be a book you will either love or tolerate for its strong narrator's voice, often quoting Agatha Swanburne, founder of the Swanburne Academy for Poor Bright Females. Penelope, the main focus of most of this book, is so bright and so capable it strained my credibilty, along with the astounding, unlikely progress she made with three feral children. Nagging is the fact that the book is all set-up for the upcoming volumes: we are introduced to the children, possible villains and other characters, and a mysterius howling coming from upstairs, to discover we must wait for the next book for any answers.

However the book is funny, quirky, and has great language. Among the illustrations is a classic showing a retelling of The Wreck of the Hesperus with a child tied to a potted plant. It is a fast read and many will want to find out answers to questions raised: Why does Lord Ashton disappear so frequently, who were the parents of the children and of Penelope, why was Penelope's hair dyed regularly at school, why is Old Timothy often lurking and what does he know, and what is the mysterious howling heard upstairs?

Hopefully the next volume will begin to answer these questions and more. I would rate this book three and a half stars, but couldn't bump it higher due to the lack of resolution of any mysteries. For middle grade children and higher, and for those who love a strong heroine and gothic settings.
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Reading Progress

07/03/2010 page 225
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