Can you tell a book by its cover? All I know is when I saw the cover illustration which sports three children and a pale governess, I was sold. My husband commented on how nicely bound the book was, and he IS the authority in this house, as he did take a class on book binding in college. More than a nice cover, The Mysterious Howling is a fun, feel good story about how a little love and understanding can make even the most daunting situation, rewarding.
The story begins when Miss Penelope Lumley is given the job as a governess to three children who appear to have been raised by wolves. This would be no easy task to a seasoned governess, but Penelope is only fifteen and a graduate of the Swanburne Academy for Poor Bright Females. Lord Ashton found the children while hunting and much to his wife, Lady Constance’s, annoyance he insists “Finders Keepers” and refuses to send the children away. Thus Penny is forced to teach the children the basics of a good etiquette as well as how to stop chasing squirrels.
Wood keeps the story lively in the Lemony Snickett style without being quite so over the top and precocious. The narrative is peppered with memorable sayings from Agatha Swanburne, founder of the Academy, my favorite of these was, “If it were easy to resist, it would not be called chocolate cake” How can one dislike a book with such a wealth of wisdom? The book also provides sufficient mystery to encourage a reader to continue on with the series. For example, what WAS the howling? Why is Thomas, the coachman, always lurking around? Who are Penny’s parents and where are they? Where are the Incorrible’s parents? I look forward to the second installment.