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The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place, Book IV: The Interrupted Tale

Review

The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place, Book IV: The Interrupted Tale

Written by Maryrose Wood with illustrations by Eliza Wheeler

What could be more exciting than a turning sweet sixteen and celebrating with cake? If you are Penelope Lumley, governess to the Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place and graduate of Swanburne’s Academy for Poor, Bright Females, the answer is an unexpected visit from a charming young playwright, more clues about the howling affliction that the Ashtons suffer from, a book about a shipwreck written in invisible ink and a trip to your alma mater for some CAKE (the Celebrate Alumnae Knowledge Exposition, of course).  Yes, Penelope and her wolfish and wonderful charges Alexander, Beowulf and Cassiopeia are back in THE INTERRUPTED TALE, the fourth installment of Maryrose Wood’s fantastic series.

While birthdays were never a very big deal at Swanburne’s, her own sixteenth makes Penelope miss her friends and teachers from school, and especially her old headmistress, Miss Mortimer. But the servants at Ashton Place and the three children she cares for do manage to surprise Penelope with a lovely little birthday party. The action really gets underway when Penelope is asked to return to Swanburne’s to deliver an important speech about her professional successes since leaving the school a year ago. She is thrilled and flattered and cannot wait to show the Incorrigibles the school where she grew up. In the meantime, however, there is the matter of writing the speech itself, getting the children to Heathcote on the train and trying not to worry too much about why she hasn’t heard from her friend Simon Harley-Dickinson.

Every page is a finely crafted delight: funny and so very smart, interesting and just a bit strange

Her arrival at Swanburne’s is cause for a shock; the once proud brick school is covered in ivy, even its motto hidden by the leaves. And, at the door, they are met by the shady, possibly nefarious Judge Quinzy, who has made some disturbing changes at the school. Could Quinzy be the presumed-dead Edward Ashton? Could Swanburne’s library hold the key to the mystery of the howling Ashtons, the Incorrigible Children and the long-lost Lumley parents? Why must Penelope continue to apply Miss Mortimer’s hair poultice? Will Simon be a changed man now that he is a pirate? What happened long ago on the island of Ahwoo-Ahwoo?  And, finally, will Penelope ever finish writing her CAKE speech?  THE INTERRUPTED TALE circles around these questions with Wood’s characteristic wit and wordplay.

Not all questions will be answered in this book but Wood moves readers closer to those answers as Penelope and the Incorrigibles have yet another madcap adventure, all the while quoting the great oratories of ancient history, speaking in iambic pentameter, enjoying the beauty of ferns and experiencing the joy of a tasty goulash. In THE INTERRUPTED TALE readers will find mayhem and bedtime stories, an unbelievable cake, many secrets and old friends and new. Every page is a finely crafted delight: funny and so very smart, interesting and just a bit strange. There are jokes for kids and adults alike to discover and Penelope Lumley and the Incorrigibles continue to be amazing and heartfelt characters. Eliza Wheeler's black and white illustrations continue to add visual personality to the story. This enchanting book, part of one of the most unique children’s series out today, doesn’t disappoint! 

Reviewed by Sarah Rachel Egelman on December 31, 2013

The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place, Book IV: The Interrupted Tale
(The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place #4)
Written by Maryrose Wood with illustrations by Eliza Wheeler

  • Publication Date: December 17, 2013
  • Genres: Youth Fiction
  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Balzer + Bray
  • ISBN-10: 0061791229
  • ISBN-13: 9780061791222