Genre: Children’s/Middle Grade Fiction, Mystery, Historical Fiction
Summary from Goodreads:
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?
This book is incredibly charming and funny. I appreciate that the author is able to take a serious and a ridiculous subject (feral children and the idea of hunting them) and make it funny and lighthearted.
The characters are quite loveable. Miss Lumley is a great governess. I had a hard time believing she was only 15! You could definitely tell she loved the children and her job. I’m a bit of a sucker for cute kids so I quickly fell for Alexander, Beowulf, and Cassiopeia. Much like “real” kids, they are so desperate to please so they were able to learn the basics of civilized living quick enough. They still had the tendency to howl and a love of squirrels but those are only small problems, right? 😉 To be honest, my favorite “character” is the narrator. He/she takes the story very serious even though it’s hilarious. I loved the little side notes sprinkled in the story.
The story moves quickly along. It was the perfect amount of mystery for a children’s book. It was mysterious enough to keep you reading but there weren’t major bombshells being dropped. Some of the mysteries were solved but the big one (why the kids were in the woods to begin with) wasn’t. I hope that gets resolved in the other books in the series. That seems to be a major thing to forget or overlook.
The bottom line? Very enjoyable. I’ll need to pick up the next book in the series!