The narrator has a very distinct and important persona for this humor driven book. She is a modern person who constantly highlights the absurdity of the characters, their Victorian sensibilities, and the story. She uses distinct voices and accents, and dramatic timing for her many droll observations and asides.
I was worried that the unrelenting effort of sounding witty would be too much, and the narrator would just sound arrogant and annoying. Not to fear, however; Ms. Kellgren handles the material perfectly for a thoroughly enjoyable experience. The book is smart and funny, and is enjoyable for adults and kids (althought some of the vocabulary and literary/historical references will be lost on younger kids.)
I would recommend this book. It is a good storyline that intrigued me enough to buy the rest of the series. There are tidbits of educational information strewn through the story.
It's a bit like Mary Poppins but Penelope is more fallible.
Her characterization is really good.
Even Agatha Swanburn may not have prepared Penelope for the three Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place.
I really enjoyed this crazy story, which is odd. Normally I don't read stories set in the more distant past ... I want present-day. This one is set in England, during the time of Charles Dickens, horse-drawn carriages, and gas lamps (somewhere between 1840 and 1870).
Of all the accents in the world, I find the British accent the most difficult to cope with, despite having numerous relatives & ancestors from the British Isles. This book takes place in England, and the audio is with a British accent, which I had no trouble understanding.
At this point it is necessary to comment upon the magnificent job done by the narrator, Katherine Kellgren. All voices were distinguishable according to character, and the voices of the children were absolutely fabulous. When checking for Book Two, I first checked to see that the narrator was the same person as in this Book One.
Of course, it is absolutely essential that the listener not be looking for total realism in a story: the "... suspension of disbelief ..." is a definite requirement here.
This, especially, is true when the Governess is instructing the children by speaking in full sentences, and introducing poetry, such as the somber "The Wreck of the Hesperus", to these half wild creature-children.
But I found it a very entertaining listen, despite being so unlike my usual fare. And I even surprised myself when I went looking for the sequel.
I happened on this by accident when it was part of an Audible sale. Ashton Place is in the best tradition of children's stories which are even funnier for the adults: Rocky & Bullwinkle, Series of Unfortunate Events and now Ashton Place. Children will have fun with this, but may miss many of the jokes.
Lemony Snicket meets Jane Eyre by way of Charles Adams.
Ms. Kellgren is a delight as the POV governess, but even better as the Incorrigibles. And every other character. Each of the many voices make this performance a jewel.
Mysterious Benedict Society because adults and kids alike will appreciate the inventive and engaging plot and characters.
Narrator's voice is grating for many characters in the book.
I want to be a wolf.
This is among the strangest books I've listened to. I found it hard to suspend my sense of reality enough to get into the story. The idea was interesting but just too far fetched.