LJ's Reviews > The Hidden Gallery

The Hidden Gallery by Maryrose Wood
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Apr 03, 11

bookshelves: juvenile-books, series-i-m-following
Read in April, 2011

Penelope Lumley, the governess known affectionately as "Lumawoo" to her charges, finds herself in London in the second installment of this series. Her flighty employer, Lady Constance just can't stand the noise of the workmen hired to restore Ashton Place after the Christmas party debacle that ended the last book. She moves the entire household to a grand house, #12, Muffinshire Lane, after wheedling and threatening her husband into agreeing to the move. Miss Lumley's first challenge after a harrowing train ride where a stranger attempts to steal their guidebook, is to find their new home. Her guidebook is no help in navigating London, and finally Penelope begs the kindness of an old gypsy woman to watch the children while she goes for help. The gypsy woman predicts that "the hunt is on," to the terrified children, reminding readers that there is a dark mystery still festering in the background of this overall lighthearted romp. Penelope also meets up with the handsome upright, and all-around nice guy, Mr. Simon Harley-Dickinson, who proves to be an excellent London navigator and escorts them to Muffinshire Lane.

There's many an adventure and funny mishap while Penelope, Alexander, Beowulf, and Cassiopeia attempt to take advantage of the treasure trove of educational opportunities that London affords, but what can you expect when one's charges have presumably been raised by wolves? Although they have learned much about what is expected civilized behavior, the children are still sometimes tempted by a passing pigeon when they have missed their supper. A meeting with Penelope's former teacher, Miss Charlotte Mortimer adds some juicy clues to the mystery of the children's (and Penelope's) parentage. Lady Constance once again gets her comeuppance when she makes a faux pas in the choice of fancy dress for the grand opening of a London play--a play in which the children take to the stage unexpectedly. All that is mentioned in the next day's newspaper is how gauche Lady Constance appeared, which makes up her mind to end their stay in London. I can't imagine too many children really getting all the tongue-in-cheek humor, and some of the vocabulary, but it's still quite a lively story and the mystery involved will motivate readers to continue with the series. I for one, look forward to more.
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