Friday, January 17, 2014

The Hidden Gallery

The Hidden Gallery (The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place #2)The Hidden Gallery by Maryrose Wood
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

On a visit to London, the mystery surrounding the wolf-children of Ashton Place deepens when their young governess, Penelope Lumley, receives warnings of danger at every turn.

Things have barely settled down after the disastrous Christmas party when renovations at Ashton Place make a visit to London highly desirable. The three wolfish Incorrigible children are thrilled to be in a new place, but their governess worries about how their squirrel-chasing and growling tendencies will play in a big city.

It's the least of her worries, as it turns out. Miss Lumley must cope with her Hixby's Guide, the most uniquely worthless guidebook to London ever written, invitations to tea, the troubles of the querulous Lady Ashton, a chance meeting with a handsome stranger, postcards to squirrels, and eerie warnings from fortune-tellers. Her excellent upbringing at the Swanburne Academy for Poor Bright Females serves Miss Lumley well as she learns to navigate a crowded and unpredictable city.

This sequel to The Mysterious Howling has the same attractions and flaws as its predecessor: too many mysteries, not enough solutions. Miss Lumley remains charmingly eccentric, but there is a lack of a cohesive story here in this overly serialized book. Perhaps the sequel, The Unseen Guest, will hold more answers?

If you want a somewhat more satisfying series for middle readers, I definitely recommend A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket. You might also try The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall.

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