Goodreads: The Mysterious Howling
Series: The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place
Miss Penelope Lumley attends her first job interview hoping to become a governess. What she did not expect was to become a governess to three children raised by wolves. But how did the children come to be found in the woods of Ashton Place? And is someone deliberately trying to scare them away?
The Mysterious Howling is a quirky middle-grade book that delights in upending the conventions of Victorian society by introducing that most horrific of things into its stories–unmannered children. Found in the woods of Ashton Place and apparently raised by wolves, the three Incorrigible children–Alexander, Beowulf, and Cassiopeia–need a governess. But before they can learn Latin, geography, and music, they must first learn English. And how to eat at the table and wear clothes! Fortunately, fifteen-year-old Miss Penelope Lumley is up to the task. But will Lady Constance ever accept that her husband has adopted three howling children?
The prose is quite witty and often when the plot seems too incredible (yes, even a plot based on the adoption of three wolf children sometimes strains credulity), the narrative voice carries the book. The ridiculous asides to the reader, the commentary on customs then and now, Miss Lumley’s fondness for the stories of Rainbow the pony–all of it combines to attempt to keep the readers laughing. Anyone who delights in seeing proper Victorian men and women nonplussed by unusual circumstances will surely find this story a treasure.
Although marketed as middle grade, The Mysterious Howling really follows the adventures of Miss Penelope Lumley and seems to be an irreverent take on governess stories such as Jane Eyre (which also merits a a humorous allusion). It is a story that can appeal to readers young and old alike.