For fans of Lemony Snicket’s Series of Unfortunate Events and Trenton Lee Stewart’s Mysterious Benedict Society, here comes the final book in the Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place, the acclaimed and hilarious Victorian mystery series by Maryrose Wood.
Unhappy Penelope Lumley is trapped in unhappy
Plinkst! Even the beets for which Plinkst is inexplicably famous fail to grow in this utterly miserable Russian village. Penelope anxiously counts the days and wonders how she will ever get back to England in time to save all the Ashtons—who, she now knows, include herself and the Incorrigible children, although their precise location on the family tree is still a mystery—from their accursèd fate.
Her daring scheme to escape sends her on a wildly unexpected journey. But time is running out, and the not-really-dead Edward Ashton is still on the loose. His mad obsession with the wolfish curse on the
Ashtonsputs Penelope and the Incorrigibles in dire peril. As Penelope fights her way back to her beloved pupils, the three brave Incorrigibles endure their gloomy new tutor and worriedly prepare for the arrival of Lady Constance’s baby. Little do they know the danger they’re in!
In this action-packed conclusion to the acclaimed series, mysteries are solved and long-lost answers are found. Only one question remains: Will Penelope and the Incorrigibles find a way to undo the family curse in time, or will the next full moon be their last?
I believe, at this point, everyone should be aware that adore The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place, yes? Well, in case you weren’t already, I do! If you haven’t read any of these books, or my reviews, make sure to check them out (after you finish reading this post, of course ;p). I also had a super rad interview with the author, Maryrose Wood herself! So, this blog could easier just turn into an Incorrigible fanpage. Anyways, ‘tis but a tangent. Let’s get on with the review!
Up until the last two books in the series, these books have been almost stand alones. Although there was some very solid overlap in the plot, and all the characters were the same, you could read almost every book individually and have a good beginning/end to a plot, and as well as know what was going on. However, as The Long-Lost Home is the conclusion to the series, that was not the case here. The story was full of plot twists that fully tied every other novel, and the shenanigans within the pages, into a cohesive, wonderfully complex, narrative. In addition, this book was (I believe…) the only in the series to have changing POVs!
As always, I loved the tone and the story telling that is used here. The stories are the kind that make you truly believe that every day could turn into a grand adventure (which it can, duh), and that one should always be prepared as such (unless it’s time for tea, in which case, feel free to relax). Unlike every other book in the series, I read this novel for the first time in print, rather than audio. However, I had the wonderful talents of the late Katherine Kellgren so fully developed in my mind, that I couldn’t help hear her wonderful characters while reading (seriously, these are some of the best audio books I have ever listened to. Kellgren is incredibly engaging and talented!). The tone did read a bit differently on print, without Kellgren’s inflections and accents, but it was delightful all the same! I couldn’t put it down.
Penelope develops wonderfully in this novel. I truly believe that MG novels sometimes hold the most wonderfully complex and well developed characters in all of literature, and Miss Penelope was a great example of this! She is not ashamed of her fear, but confronts it all the same; she puts others before herself, but still questions this selfless decision every time. Penelope is very real, but still the best possible version of herself (aka-a great literary role model!).
All in all, I adored this book. This one had some of my most favorite literary quotes of all time, so it only seems fitting to close the review with one (I loved it so much I stopped reading to take a note, because AGH it is #relatable, as the aspiring (but struggling) ballerina Veronika realizes that she doesn’t have the be the best dancer, she can just be her):
“Yet the discovery that there was no audition, had never been an audition, and would never be an audition was such a jolt to her system that it caused her to have what is known as an epiphany. (The exact nature of her life-changing insight was Veronika’s business alone. Perhaps someday she would write her own book about it, just as that young Tolstoy fellow would write his. For no, it is enough to know that the girl smiled, yawned, stretched like an ordinary child, not a dancer. Then she went back to bed, where she slept more soundly than she had in many months.)”
Everyone, make sure you check out this series! It is darling, quirky, and worthy of more than one read through! Just make sure you have your tea ready beforehand because, once you start reading, you won’t be able to make yourself stop!
5 out of 5 stars.