The Unseen Guest is written by Maryrose Wood. It was published in 2012 by Balzer + Bray. It is the third (and the most recently published) book in The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place series. My review of the first and second books can be found here and here, respectively.
Genre: Historical Fiction, Mystery, and still that little bit of Fantasy.
“Since returning from London, the three Incorrigible children and their plucky governess, Miss Penelope Lumley, have been exceedingly busy. Despite their wolfish upbringing, the children have taken up bird-watching, with no unfortunate consequences—yet. And a perplexing gift raises hard questions about how Penelope came to be left at the Swanburne Academy for Poor Bright Females and why her parents never bothered to return for her.
But hers is not the only family mystery to solve. When Lord Fredrick’s long-absent mother arrives with the noted explorer Admiral Faucet, gruesome secrets tumble out of the Ashton family tree. And when the admiral’s prized racing ostrich gets loose in the forest, it will take all of the Incorrigibles’’ skills to find her.
The hunt for the runaway ostrich is on. But Penelope is worried. Once back in the wild, will the children forget about books and poetry and go back to their howling, wolfish ways? What if they never want to come back to Ashton Place at all?”
“She’s here! Oh, my hair! My face! My nose! Ah-choo!” Lady Constance wailed.
“Ma’am, your buttons have come undone!” Margaret squeaked.
“Hide,” Beowulf suggested to his siblings. No doubt he was still thinking about the possibility of a bone, for he dearly loved to gnaw. But Lady Constance misunderstood.
“Hide? Ah-choo! Very well, then—if you three will not, then I shall hide! After all, Fredrick’s mother cannot dislike me if she has not met me.” And with that, Lady Constance kicked off both of her pretty shoes and began to haul herself into the low, spreading branches of a nearby tree.”
“As Miss Lumley would later explain to the Incorrigibles, a rhetorical question is one that is asked, but that no one is expected to answer. “For what child does not like being treated kindly by an adult” is a rhetorical question. So is “Why, it seems I’ve taken your saddle by mistake, Miss Pevington; how could I be such a dunce?” Not to mention the old standby, “Do bears live in the woods?”
There are countless such examples, but to catalog them all would take weeks, and who has time for that? (Note that “Who has time for that?” is also a rhetorical question. The curious among you may feel free to search for more instances within these pages, if you find that sort of treasure hunt enjoyable. And who doesn’t?)”
Warnings: Fortunetelling and séances
Recommended Age Range: 12+
What I Liked:
The return of Simon Harley-Dickinson! Riding on wolves! Ostriches! Lady Constance in a tree! Conspiracy! More mysteries! More questions! Bad puns!
I cannot adequately express my love for this series. I feel like I’m repeating myself from my past reviews of the first two books. Great characters, great mystery, great fun…just go read the books, already, and experience the ridiculous fun for yourself.
What I Didn’t Like:
What just happened who is Judge Quinzy why is there not another book when is it coming out?
The worst part of The Unseen Guest is when it’s over. Full of ridiculous situations, shenanigans, and the loveable Incorrigible children and their sensible governess Penelope, this book will delight all who read it (unless this type of book isn’t your style).
Coming Up Next: Rose Daughter by Robin McKinley