Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Review: The Hidden Gallery - Maryrose Wood

The Hidden Gallery by Maryrose Wood
Series: The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place #2
Genre: Middle Grade, historical fiction, mystery
Published on March 1, 2011
Published by Balzer + Bray
Pages: 313

Thanks to the efforts of their plucky governess, Miss Penelope Lumley, Alexander, Beowulf, and Cassiopeia are much more like children than wolf cubs now. They are accustomed to wearing clothes. They hardly ever howl at the moon. And for the most part, they resist the urge to chase squirrels up trees. 
Despite Penelope's civilizing influence, the Incorrigibles still managed to ruin Lady Constance's Christmas ball, nearly destroying the grand hound. So while the Ashton Place is being restored, Penelope, the Ashtons, and the children take up residence in London. Penelope is thrilled, as London offers so many opportunities to further the education of her unique students. But the city presents challenges, too, in the form of the palace guards' bearskin hats, which drive the children wild - not to mention the abundance of pigeons the Incorrigibles love to hunt. As they explore London, however, they discover more about themselves as clues about the children's - and Penelope's - mysterious past crop up in the most unexpected ways. . . .


This series is certainly going to develop in some interesting ways - ways that I am having a hard time imagining. The Hidden Gallery is actually better than The Mysterious Howling; a great rarity, that, for a sequel to be better than its predecessor. Penelope Lumley continues to be a terrific heroine - sensible, brave, and not one to give into silly whims or brook any nonsense. When she wants something, she accomplishes it; no questions asked. And the children are just as cute as before - perhaps more so.

The Hidden Gallery introduces many new characters, one of them being Simon Harley-Dickinson - a truly wonderful, unannoying young man who also happens to be an actor - and a few other mysterious ones. Maryrose Wood manages to offer just enough answers and allusions to what may be going on without giving too much away, maintaining the Reader's curiosity and suspense. At times, The Hidden Gallery was strange - the chase scene towards the end had me truly baffled; I had to wonder if I was reading it correctly. But judging by how this series is turning (and believe me, I was never expecting it), I think that strange is probably going to be quite normal for it. But I feel that it will be a good strange, maybe mixed in with a little "okay, that was odd" strange.

I desperately look forward to the next installment!

Others in The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place Series:
1)The Mysterious Howling

2)The Hidden Gallery
3)The Unseen Guest
4)The Interrupted Tale

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