The Captain’s Log – the incorrigible children of ashton place (Maryrose Wood) – a review of one of the best series I have ever read

Ahoy there me mateys!  Did ye ever read a series that makes yer heart sing and tears come to yer eyes when it be finished?  Do ye ever feel conflicted about finishing a series because ye want to experience it all over again for the first time?  And yet yer also delighted to be able to read it again and find more nuances and favourite parts?  Do ye find yerself wanting to shout to the universe that this beloved series deserves more hype and more love and more attention?  This book was all that and more.  Seriously this was one of the best series I have had the pleasure of reading.  They say it’s a children’s book series.  Aye, it be that.  But it also be a series for anyone who loves good characters, clever writing, and books in general.  Age is just a number when it comes to this delight.  This is a series written with all ages in mind.

While the writer certainly deserves heaps of praise for tremendous work, part of what makes this series a masterpiece of fiction is the audiobook narrator, Katherine Kellgren.  With the words of the author and the transformative spirit of the narrator, the collaboration transcends into a true work of art.  When I read the mysterious howling the first time, I was seriously in awe of Kellgren’s talent.  But through listening to her read 5 of the 6 books, she moved up in me regard to a true performing artist.  Why not the 6th?  Because Katherine passed away in 2018 after a battle with cancer and wasn’t able to read the last installment.

There was a touching tribute to her from the author at the end of the last book that had me sobbing.  Me heart was broken from joy of the series, from the death of a Master storyteller, and from the fact that this series captured me heart and soul.  I know that most people won’t understand but fellow booklovers are likely to have experienced that time when a book transforms yer inner being in ways that words don’t do justice and makes the reader feel that the books were perfectly written to be exactly what was needed in that particular time and space.  These books were written specifically for me.  And everyone else.

Truly I cannot express what these books mean to me.  Also these six books were listened to in stolen moments taken in between other tasks.  Normally such disjointed listening of a book would lead to confusion or lack of absorption in the story.  But all it literally took was a couple of Katherine Kellgren’s words for the real world to float away and for me to enter a dreamy, delighted state where I avidly followed the lives of the incorrigible children.  So here are some thoughts about the six books:

the mysterious howling (Maryrose Wood)

I have never been so glad for an impulse borrow from a local library.  The basic story is about a governess, Penelope Lumley, who sets up to meet her charges and finds a crazy situation where the three children were raised by wolves.  Before embarking on the rest of the series, I listened to this book a second time.  I found it as clever and wonderful as I remembered.  This book has taken a top spot in me favourites.  I still grinned like an idiot listening to this and laughed out loud.  I borrowed all of these audio books from the library but certainly will be buying this one (and more) so I can listen to it again and again.  The delight of Katherine Kellgren’s voices appeal so much.  Also I listen to these at almost double speed and I swear it’s magic.  The wolf-speech of the children in particular.

 

She had chosen Dante because she found the rhyme scheme pleasingly jaunty, but she realized too late that the Inferno’s tale of sinners being cruelly punished in the afterlife was much too bloody and disturbing to be suitable for young minds. Penelope could tell this by the way the children hung on her every word and demanded “More, more!” each time she reached the end of a canto and tried to stop.
― Maryrose Wood, The Mysterious Howling

The Hidden Gallery (The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place #2)the hidden gallery (Maryrose Wood)

After the disastrous ending of the first book, the household travels to London.  It is in this installment that the author begins the lovely balance of absurdity of plot situations that somehow be perfect for the growth of the characters.  This section introduces a playwright named Simon.  I adored him.  The plot structure of the beginning of this one was a bit weak in parts but I didn’t care.  There is a fantastic section involving theatre that was brilliant.  And pirates make an appearance.  The London postal service is awesome.  I was delighted by Lady Ashton’s experience with the post.  Also I love ferns.

Nowadays, people resort to all kinds of activities in order to calm themselves after a stressful event: performing yoga poses in a sauna, leaping off bridges while tied to a bungee, killing imaginary zombies with imaginary weapons, and so forth. But in Miss Penelope Lumley’s day, it was universally understood that there is nothing like a nice cup of tea to settle one’s nerves in the aftermath of an adventure- a practice many would find well worth reviving.
― Maryrose Wood, The Hidden Gallery

The Unseen Guest (The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place, #3)the unseen guest (Maryrose Wood)

The incorrigible children and their governess have returned to Ashton Place.  An ostrich takes center stage.  Silliness abounds.  The children have to go deep into the forest for the first time since their dramatic rescue.  Will they want to come back out again?  This book is where family secrets are spilled and chaos reigns.  Some answers are delivered but just lead to more questions.  This may annoy some readers.  I just hung on for the ride and enjoyed.  Highlights of this book include Lord Ashton’s mother and a séance.  And the racing ostrich.

“Busy hands and idle minds have knitted many a sweater; Busy minds and idle hands have knitted many a brow.”
― Maryrose Wood, The Unseen Guest

The Interrupted Tale (The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place, #4)the interrupted tale (Maryrose Wood)

Miss Penelope Lumley has been invited to be a guest speaker at her old alma mater.  She expects to spend a delightful weekend catching up with old friends and showing her beloved school to her current pupils.  Alas the school is under attack and Penelope must find a way to save it.  This plot is zany.  The silliness is growing in each subsequent book and I adore it.  This may be me second favourite of the bunch.  I can’t really make up me mind.  The mystery plot thickens and the bad guy has been identified.  Some dastardly characters from previous books reappear.  There is a cool cat.  I still love ferns.

The girl sounded uncharacteristically bashful as she offered her gift. It was a small, hand-sewn pillow, with one word embroidered crookedly on its front. Loveawoo, it said.
― Maryrose Wood, The Interrupted Tale

the unmapped sea (Maryrose Wood)

The incorrigible children and their governess go to the sea on holiday.  Only it’s February.  In Brighton.  The Ashtons and their household find this vacation anything but relaxing.  This book introduces fellow travelers named the Babushkinovs.  The interactions between the two groups are hysterical.  Also Katherine Kellgren’s talent shines through in the voices that she picks for this family.  Answers to the mystery are provided but the outcome is far certain.  I absolutely loved Lady Ashton in this one.  She is a riot.  I was chuckling throughout this one.

Hard-hearted people may be no fun to sit next to at parties, but they are just as entitled to earn a living as the rest of us. Fortunately-for them, at least-the need for insurance adjusters, tax collectors, theater critics, and the like continues to this very day.
― Maryrose Wood, The Unmapped Sea

The Long-Lost Home (The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place, #6)the long-lost home (Maryrose Wood)

I won’t tell ye where this one takes place because of spoilers!  What I can say about the series is that I actually loved how it resolved.  One of the things that I took from the whole series is how deftly the author uses themes and images over and over again in each installment.  There are jokes that be delightful because of how they be intertwined in the various stories.  There is lots of clever wordplay.  There are tons of references to other famous books throughout.  For those who complained of the books being too drawn out, I humbly disagree.  The payout is not just the ending but in the entire journey itself.  The point was to live in the moment and savour.  I certainly did.  Also I have to give props to the narrator of book 6, Fiona Hardingham.  While I was seriously missing Katherine Kellgren, I can say that she did a good job with an impossible situation.  The ending was sweet and me salty heart softened quite a bit.

In me previous post, I stated that Katherine Kellgren narrated over 270 audiobooks before cancer stole her from us. I be glad there is lots of her work to experience and remember her by.  I look forward to celebrating her life and talent by listening to her bring other books to life.  This article lists the top five of which the first book in the series was one.

To visit the author’s website go to:

Maryrose Wood – Author

To buy the novels please visit:

the incorrigible children series – Books

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

32 thoughts on “The Captain’s Log – the incorrigible children of ashton place (Maryrose Wood) – a review of one of the best series I have ever read

  1. Wow! I will be checking this one out – I recall your glowing endorsement of Lockwood & Co, which I’m absolutely loving. If this one is a fraction of the quality of that fabulous series, then I will have a wonderful July/August as I’ve loved June with Lockwood:)).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am so very glad that ye be enjoying the Lockwood books. I will reread those in the future for sure. I didn’t listen to the audiobooks of them but I think for a reread I would. I do hope ye check out the Incorrigible series because I think ye will certainly appreciate them as both middle grade works and as layered writing pieces in and of themselves. Of course I may just be bonkers in how much they delight me.
      x The Captain

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  2. Weirdly, I don’t remember reading many children’s books outside of school unless they were Goosebumps books. What you’ve experienced with this series sounds like how many readers feel about Anne of Green Gables. Her book is listed as children’s lit, but I know that I tried and failed to read that first sentence (which is a full paragraph long) about a dozen times when I was young and just let Anne’s story go until a few years ago.

    I also checked out a library book called The Snow Queen just recently. On the spine, the library has it labeled as “children’s lit,” but this book is 500+ pages long. Perhaps when I think “children” I’m picturing someone they are not? Children, to me, means chapter books at the most. I’d like to learn more about how libraries and publishers categorize their readers based on age.

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    1. Anne of Green Gables is in fact one of me more beloved children’s series. Aye, I be with ye in terms of classifications but I think that be because of me age. For me there was children’s books which were chapter books and board books and easy readers. Then there was young adult with the snow queen and other longer books. And then adult. So I don’t like the further breakdowns into middle grade and such. I don’t like to limit children in terms of what publishers say are age appropriate. Then again even when I was a child, I was reading adult books. And I am not a parent but I can see how parents might want to influence their child’s reading. I am just so glad that my family never limited what I could or couldn’t read. Thanks for the thoughtful comment.
      x The Captain
      ps still getting caught up!

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      1. Thanks for following up! Sounds like you’ve been busy. For me, reading levels are more about whether or not the reader can (or developmentally should) be able to comprehend a certain sentence structure. Anne of Green Gables and The Snow Queen: pretty challenging! I remember my mom gave me a Harlequin novel when I was in 8th grade, and she kept asking, “Is anything bad happening in there?” I wasn’t sure what that meant until I got to a sex scene at the very end! The writing, however, was very much middle school-hard, so it’s interesting.

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      2. I remember reading sex scenes and being bored by them and wanting to get back to the plot. I was also a late bloomer though. I think that most kids will kinda gloss over the parts that don’t make sense and focus on what they like. For me, I always have enjoyed going back to old childhood favourites from an adult (ish) viewpoint to see how the story has changed with the current lens.
        x The Captain

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      3. Well I didn’t have the internet those days to look things up. All I had was a ridiculous book called Changing Bodies, Changing Lives. It’s on its third edition (I just looked it up). I wonder how much has changed?
        x The Captain

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      1. If you like the Beatrix Potter stories, that audiobook was an enjoyable way to experience them. But there are a lot of them, even though they’re short, so it can be easy to overload on the stories if you aren’t a fan. Also, I did miss the illustrations from the paper copies I’d read of some of the individual tales.

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      2. I don’t think I would listen to them all at once. Maybe just a couple of the favourites. I also love the illustrations. I want to read the graphic novel Nimona and have been trying to decide if I should listen to it or read it. I might get both from the library at the same time and look at the pictures while listening to it.
        x The Captain

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      3. Oh then I will keep it on me list and check it out. I haven’t liked many (any?) of the graphic novels I read but this one still appeals to me for some reason. I think the combination might allow me to appreciate it more. I am not visual at all and so I miss a lot of the storytelling cues.
        x The Captain

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    1. I think Fiona Hardingham is a great narrator. I listened to the scorpio races read by her. I didn’t love the book but thought she did a good job with it. I want to listen to her version of Sherwood. Though the reviews of that seem all over the place. We shall see.
      x The Captain

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      1. I want to listen to her version of Sherwood, too. Well, if I read the book at all I want it to be audio narrated by her. I’m still kinda on the fence about the book itself.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yeah, I’m not sure what to think about Sherwood. Maybe if I waffle about it long enough my library will get a copy of the audio version and I can try it before I buy it.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. I think everyone should read the first book at least. But of course I am now a bit of a nut about it. I did tell the first mate that he has to listen to it at some point. I am interested to see what his literature major mind will think of it,
      x The Captain

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