Maryrose Wood's The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place: The Mysterious Howling was such a clever, fun read. This one is definitely going on my next library order - perfect for my upper elementary kids and also would make a great read aloud.
Penelope, a fifteen year old graduate of the Swanburne Academy for Poor Bright Females has been sent to Ashton Place to become a governess for three young children. Set in the British countryside in the 1800s, what I thought was going to be a typical British nanny story is very different. Penelope's young charges are children that Lord Frederick found in the forests on his land while he was hunting. The children are totally uncivilized, yet Penelope seems rather oblivious to this fact, and charms them by reading to them and speaking to them in low voices. As the story unfolds, Penelope becomes aware that things aren't exactly as they seem. There is a bit of mystery lurking at Ashton Place - she and the children think they can hear someone behind one of the house's walls and someone is trying to antagonize the children into acting wild again so that they may be hunted by Lord Frederick's friends.
Not all of these mysteries are resolved, and this first book seems to end just as the suspense is building. The second book in the series, The Hidden Gallery comes out on February 22, 2011 - a long while to wait to find out what will happen to Penelope and the three children.
The cover on this one didn't immediately attract me, but the story is wonderful, and my own children would also enjoy this as a nightly read aloud.