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The Mysterious Howling

(The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place #1)

3.91  ·  Rating details ·  16,329 ratings  ·  2,523 reviews
The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place are no ordinary children, Miss Penelope Lumley is no ordinary governess, and mysteries abound in this first volume in a new series for ages 9+.

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, perh
Hardcover, 267 pages
Published March 1st 2010 by HarperCollins (first published January 1st 2009)
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Susan Thombs My family just listened to it on a long car ride this weekend and all of us (39, 38, 13, 11, and 8) thoroughly enjoyed it! I highly recommend the…moreMy family just listened to it on a long car ride this weekend and all of us (39, 38, 13, 11, and 8) thoroughly enjoyed it! I highly recommend the audio version on Audible. Katherine Kellgren is an amazing narrator: her governess voice is equal parts Mary Poppins and Maria from Sound of Music; her housekeeper voice is reminiscent of Mrs. Potts from Beauty & the Beast; her Incorrigible voices....hilarious. (less)
Paige The unanswered questions are definitely Snicket-like, but while reading this there wasn't much of a resemblance otherwise. That is to say, it's…moreThe unanswered questions are definitely Snicket-like, but while reading this there wasn't much of a resemblance otherwise. That is to say, it's completely it's own book (or series if you're really interested).(less)

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3.91  · 
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 ·  16,329 ratings  ·  2,523 reviews

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Jan 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
An innocent young lady arriving at a mysterious mansion to look after some wealthy person's children is not exactly a new theme, but I'm quite certain it's never been done this way before. Imagine Lemony Snicket and Victoria Holt had a doomed, clandestine encounter on a dark, forbidding moor somewhere . . . and this book was their secret shame, the bastard love-child of that tear-stained coupling.


Anyway, our dear Miss Lumley, bright eyed and bushy tailed, is eager to mold the minds of her
Jul 23, 2010 rated it it was amazing
If you see the date I finished this book, you may (or may not, who can say?) be surprised to know that I started it on July 22nd and only read on public transportation and a bit while walking down 7th Ave. in Manhattan on my way to work this morning. (That's dangerous, though, and I wouldn't recommend it even if you are rather experienced at reading and walking.)

I bought the book on a whim. I liked that it had the word "incorrigible" on the cover, and the illustration appealed to me. I'm in arre
Feb 01, 2010 rated it really liked it
When you're a parent or a librarian or a teacher or a bookseller who reads a lot of children's books, you sometimes wish for fun. Children's books are often by their very nature "fun". But there's fun that's strained and trying to appeal to everyone and then there's fun that appears to be effortless. You read a book, are transported elsewhere, lose track of time, and never want the story to end. It's the kind of fun a person encounters in a book like Book One of The Incorrigible Children of Asht ...more
Hmmmm, take the story of Helen Keller and Anne Sullivan. Then make Anne Sullivan a fifteen-year-old first-time nanny from the Swanburne Academy for Poor Bright Females and make Helen Keller three children raised by wolves and found by a wealthy landowner. Then set it in Victorian England and add large punches of Lemony Snicket-y humor and you've got a fair idea of this book. Oh, yes, make it a series, with the first one ending leaving the reader wanting more.

Alexander, Beowulf, and Cassiopeia (
Jan 09, 2010 rated it it was ok
There are some serious problems with this book. I will present them in a list:

1. The sub-title, "The Mysterious Howling." This "mysterious howling" is only mentioned in the last chapter and never revealed. It is a weak attempt at drawing readers into committing to reading the next book in the series.

2. There is absolutely no reason for this book to become a series. There is not enough meat to it. It could have been a good one-off book, if the author had been allowed to address #1 and finish it a
Apr 18, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: victorian, younger
Totally implausible but endearing story-beginning of a fifteen-year-old orphan (who seems more like 30) employed as governess to three children raised by wolves. Humor and hijinks abound.
Jun 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: orphan-stories
Raised by wolves children find stately home and governess. Wolf tendencies prevail although lovely governess does her best. Stately home owners show themselves and friends in a bad light. Lots of mystery, humour, and lovely names. Lumawoo is wonderful and wise beyond her years. Some philosophy on if it's morally right to kill. The story was quite climactic at the party towards the end but reached no conclusion. I don't feel we have been left on a cliff hanger, more we have started on a huge book ...more
Destinee Sutton
Oct 04, 2010 rated it really liked it
Another Lemony Snicket-y goody! Its only shortcoming as a book is that it's the first in a series and therefore a big tease. No revelations, just setup. But really funny, smart, enjoyable setup.

It's a fantastic audiobook--I dare say possibly better than reading it because the narrator does some awesome howling. Today I kept hearing "Lumawoo" and "Cassawoof" and "Nutsawoo" in my head. So great!
Nov 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This was such a fun book to listen to (Audible). The story was funny and engaging, and would be enjoyable for both children and adults alike. A thoroughly enjoyable book!
May 16, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I might start with a quote (no, not by the great Ms. Agatha Swanburne; no, neither is it by the plucky heroine of our story, Miss Penelope Lumley). I start with a quote by the authoress herself, Miss Maryrose Wood:

If you have ever opened a can of worms, boxed yourself into a corner, ended up in hot water, or found yourself in a pretty pickle, you already know that life is rarely (if ever) just a bowl of cherries. It is far more likely to be a bowl of problems, worries, and difficulties. This is
The Captain
Dec 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: young-adult
Ahoy there mateys! This was an impulse borrow from a local library. I needed an audiobook to listen to and this was the only one that sounded even slightly good to me in me mood that day. I thought the narrator, Katherine Kellgren was fantastic and she made the book for me. Her voices had me giggling. There is a sequence with a squirrel that was just divine. The story is about a governess who sets up to meet her charges and finds a crazy situation where the children were raised by wolves. I fell ...more
Jan 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: january-2017
I don't often read children's books nowadays (I hide almost entirely behind the guise of being a sophisticated adult), but I had heard great things about Maryrose Wood's work - namely that her Ashton Place series is much like a cross between Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events, and my beloved Jane Eyre. It also reminded me quite a bit of Colin Meloy's Wildwood books.

The Mysterious Howling, the first in the Ashton Place series, is well written throughout, and engaging from the very be
Mar 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing

I had only vaguely heard of this book until this spring, when Maryrose Wood spoke at a conference I attended. She was so lovely I bought this and had it signed for my kids, mostly to sort of high-five her for her great keynote address. But I thought I'd read it myself before passing it on... So wonderful! I don't really like a lot of recent middle grade- shocking, I know! There are too many bickering siblings and idiot parents for my taste. But there was none of that here. Instead it
Mar 11, 2011 rated it liked it
I read this in one sitting last night. It was very "Lemony Snickett-y" is the tone and sense of humor. I thought Miss Lumley (also known as Lumawoo) was adorable in her no-nonsense governess position. And the children, so funny, the little wolflings with their wild habits and trusting ways. I will look for the next in this series. I will also recommend them to my nieces (ages 10 and 9) as I believe this is a good series for little girls.
May 26, 2013 rated it it was ok
I really wanted to like this book. The set-up was fun, and the writing is endearing, but when you think of the premise of an overly young Victorian governess bringing children raised by wolves into high society, well, antics ensue, right? Yes. On page 220.

The rest of the book is about a nice schoolmarm that teaches these three students with unbelievable effectiveness whilst they behave themselves. The book is more a catalog of what they learn and how good they are (oops one accidentally opens a
Mar 04, 2010 rated it really liked it
This is the thoroughly charming Victorian tribute/spoof tale of Miss Penelope Lumley, fifteen years old and a new graduate of the Swanburne Academy for Poor Bright Females, and her first job as governess. When she arrives at Ashton Place, she is greeted the a wildly enthusiastic young mistress (recently married) who seems rather too eager to engage Miss Lumley in the position, even going so far as to have her sign a contract. The "mysterious howling" noise Penelope hears gives her only momentary ...more
Jackie "the Librarian"
In this amusing book, similar in style to the Lemony Snicket "Series of Unfortunate Events" series, but not as dark or arch, 15 year old Penelope Lumley, nervous but determined, is sent from the Swanburne Academy for Poor Bright Females to work as a governess (in the style of Jane Eyre). She is hopeful of finding bright young children to fill up with learning and, ideally, ponies. She has a thing for ponies.

The gimmick is, the children, two boys and a girl, need some remedial work first, as the
I wasn't quite sure what to expect about this book. Feral children, yes, certainly, but the synopsis makes it sound anything but serious. And I was delighted to discover that it really isn't.

More than anything, I would call this a sort of gentle poke at (and tribute to) Victorian governess stories, with a narrator that felt somewhat Lemony to me. It's enhanced by the deliberately dramatic reading of the narrator on the audiobook, which made the whole thing great fun to listen to. Sure, it's wond
Melissa Chung
Aug 31, 2014 rated it it was ok
I wanted to like this book more, but I just didn't. The beginning started off very well. Penelope Lumley, a fifteen year old graduate from Swanburne Academy is on her way to, hopefully a new job. Penelope is very nervous, this being her first job interview. When she arrives at Ashton Place, she is disturbed to hear howling and barking. The lady of the house, Lady Constance, hires Miss Lumely before giving any details about the children. We the readers find out in the first chapter that the child ...more
Jul 24, 2011 rated it really liked it
Imagine a cross between Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events and Jane Eyre, and that would give you an idea of how engrossing and enjoyable the first book in Maryrose Wood's The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place series is. Miss Penelope Lumley is 15 years old, and having completed her studies at Agatha Swanburne's Academy for Poor Bright Females, she is summoned to an interview at Ashton Place, the home of Lord and Lady Ashton. She is expecting a rigorous interview, and is instead ...more
So much fun. And kind of adorable while being funny and mysterious.
Penelope Lumley, new governess, arrives at Ashton Place and must care for three orphaned children who seem to have been raised by wolves, based on their howling and proclivities. Penelope has her work cut out for her, She is determined that they'll be reading latin, among other things eventually, all while learning good manners and deportment. Using respect, warmth and kindness, Penelope makes great strides forwards with the chi
Kiwi Begs2Differ  ✎
I picked this book because I liked its retro drawings, in addition to the cover, the book includes a number of sketches that illustrate events in the story, they bring back memories of my childhood well thumbed) books.

This book target audience is 7-12 years olds and it has wonderful descriptive language, which is something that I appreciate in children’s books. I read it alongside my son who also approved this novel (great bonus, Yay for mum!). The story is engaging, the appeal of a mystery and
May 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I’m looking forward to passing this one on to my Granddaughter, and finding out what she thinks of it.....
Kayla Edwards
Feb 16, 2016 rated it really liked it
This was a really intriguing novel about a young governess who gets tricked into taking care of three children who seem to have been raised by wolves before being found by a hunter one day. But there's something very fishy going on; someone seems to sabotaging the children's efforts to assimilate, but who? It is reminiscent of Jane Eyre, kind of a children's version with a touch of The Jungle Book. I got into and it was very fast-paced. It would have easily had a 5 star review if not for the end ...more
Elizabeth (Miss Eliza)
Miss Penelope Lumley is eager to embrace her first job as a governess. She has just graduated from the Swanburne Academy for Poor Bright Females and is ready to put the sayings of the school's founder, the redoubtable Agatha Swanburne, into action. Though her plans to teach her pupils Latin declensions might have to be put on hold for awhile at least. The thing is, when she arrives at Ashton Place she learns the truth, her three charges were found in the woods where it is presumed they were rais ...more
Amanda Payne
Jan 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I reserve 5 stars for books that are life-changing, deeply impactful in a thought-provoking or touching way, or just plain ‘ol so good I couldn’t give it 4 stars. Only a small percentage get 5 stars - the 4 star books are Great books.

I gave this one 5 stars because of a few of reasons. It was so clever and funny, every chapter was a relentless joy! Also, we listened to this on audio and the narrator excelled - a better reading I’m not sure I’ve Ever heard. I was blown away with her acting and c
Feb 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is an enchantingly silly and endearingly sweet book. I read it aloud to my kids over the past month or so, and we all enjoyed it so much, we got the next book out of the library as soon as we returned this one.

My husband and I laughed more over this book than our kids did, to be honest. A lot of the humor was aimed more adults, very subtle with lots of allusions to other books or the way the "real world" works. Nothing risque or "adult" so much as just turns of phrase that made us laugh or
Jamie (ReadsinTrees) Dacyczyn
A cute Victorian era story for middle readers. I can see this series appealing to fans of Bunnicula and the Enola Holmes mysteries.

I listened to it on audio, and as ever Katherine Kellgren was a treasure.
Hafsa Sabira
May 26, 2018 rated it liked it
As much as I enjoyed the plot and the characters, the length of the movel did not work for me. Apparently a 150 page novel stretched long which became a bit burdensome to read.
Mar 21, 2019 rated it liked it
3.5 stars. This was super cute and enjoyable. I could easily see myself continuing on in the series. For fans of The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place and Jane Eyre.
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Soon in paperback! THE LONG-LOST HOME paperback edition is available for pre-order now. Pub date is August 13th. Book 6 in the Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place series is also available in hardcover, ebook and audiobook formats.

Would you like to get a weekly "Sayings of Agatha Swanburne" email from me? It will arrive every Monday in your inbox, complete with all-new commentary from me and som

Other books in the series

The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place (6 books)
  • The Hidden Gallery (The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place #2)
  • The Unseen Guest (The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place, #3)
  • The Interrupted Tale (The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place, #4)
  • The Unmapped Sea (The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place, #5)
  • The Long-Lost Home (The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place, #6)
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