The Interrupted Tale is written by Maryrose Wood. It was published in 2013 by Balzer + Bray. It is the fourth book in The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place series. My reviews of the first three books can be found here, here, and here. Wood’s website can be found here.
“Of especially naughty children it is sometimes said, “They must have been raised by wolves.”
The Incorrigible children actually were.
Turning sixteen is a bittersweet occasion for Miss Penelope Lumley: Her parents remain disappointingly absent, and her perfectly nice young playwright friend, Simon Harley-Dickinson, has not been heard from since he went to visit his ailing great-uncle Pudge in the old sailors’ home in Brighton.
Luckily, an invitation to speak at the annual Celebrate Alumnae Knowledge Exposition (or CAKE) at the Swanburne Academy for Poor Bright Females provides just the diversion Penelope needs.
Optoomuchstic as ever, Penelope hopes to give her CAKE talk, see some old friends, and show off the Incorrigible children to Miss Mortimer, but instead she finds her beloved school in an uproar. And when Penelope is asked by the Swanburne Academy board of trustees to demonstrate the academic progress of her three wolfish students so the board can judge the true worth of a Swanburne education, the future of her alma mater—and of her job as governess to the Incorrigibles—hangs in the balance.”
What I Liked:
It’s here, it’s here, it’s here! I was so excited when I got this book! And Wood did a really good job of reminding the reader about certain revelations in the past three books, so I wasn’t lost at all despite it being about a year since I read the last book.
The first three Incorrigible Children books were fantastic fun, and this one was no exception. I’m pretty sure I laughed every minute or so, and every single page was so much fun to read. The children, Penelope’s “optoomuchtism” and observations and her entire one-hour-and-three-quarters-long speech about ferns, Lady Constance, Simon Harley-Dickinson, the narrator’s asides about random things a la Lemony Snicket…I can’t even begin to express my delight with this book.
So, my theory is that Penelope is Miss Mortimer’s daughter or related to Agatha Swanburne, and that the three children are somehow related to her (Penelope), due to the color of their hair. Also, Lady Constance is definitely pregnant.
What I Didn’t Like:
Despite what I just said, I do think that more reveals should have been made. The Interrupted Tale was really just a continuation of The Unseen Guest with the mysteries only extended, not solved (well, at least one was confirmed instead of speculated). It’s also a bit of a downer to finish a great book like this one and not have the pleasure of the next one right away.
Recommended Age Range: 12+
Genre: Mystery, Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Children’s
Under the changing leaves of the trees near the house, she entertained them with some vigorous skipping and dancing games that she had recently invented. The games were meant to show the various types of poetic meter: iambic pentameter, for example, which William Shakespeare used to marvelous effect in many of his poems and plays. (Scholars have written lengthy books on the subject of iambic pentameter, a topic of great complexity that can only be mastered by experts, geniuses, college professors, and the like. Fortunately, Penelope did not know this. She thought iambic pentameter sounded like five strides of a gallop—ta-TUM, ta-TUM, ta-TUM, ta-TUM, ta-TUM—and could easily be learned by pretending to have a pony race, after which anyone might read the works of Shakespeare with far greater enjoyment than before.)
“We are ghosts,” Alexander explained to the capsized woman.
“‘Sheeted ghosts.’ As in Longfellow,” Beowulf explained.
“He means Hespawoo,” Cassiopeia added, for indeed, “sheeted ghost” was a phrase taken from “The Wreck of the Hesperus,” an absolutely thrilling poem about a ship wreck that the children knew quite well.
I’m thinking I actually prefer this series to A Series of Unfortunate Events, but the one note of concern I have is that the Incorrigible Children seem to be going the same way as Snicket’s series, which is to Unsolved Mysteries Forever territory. But the books are still some of the most entertaining I’ve read.
You can buy this here: The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place: Book IV: The Interrupted Tale