This novel is terrifically entertaining, so delicious in its personalities, settings, and language that you might not notice at first how nourishing it is - packed with positive thinking and sterling character traits. Maryrose Wood takes her readers on a romp through the English governess genre, complete with unbearable rich people, a vast stately home (Ashton Place), and a dose of gothic intrigue in the form of a mysterious pack of children raised by wolves. The tone of the book is perfectly balanced - warm, lyrical, and unrelentingly funny. You might think that a gag about canine children ending every word in "awoooo," like a howl, would get old after a while. But the product-tester in my house, aged seven, fell for it every time.
One thing I appreciate is that the story is truly safe for children - even though
there is a degree of suspense and mystery, there is none...
Beyond the Book
Nurses, nannies, governesses, tutors, and companions: a taxonomy
The childcare arrangements of the nineteenth-century British upper crust have spawned a dynasty of classic literary characters. Can you tell your nursemaids from your nannies, your tutors from your governesses?
Nurse was in charge of the nursery regime - the diapers, the baths, and, especially in the case of the wet nurse, the nourishment. Polly Toodle of Dickens's Dombey and Son
is a classic wet nurse, standing in place of a mother and passing on a bit of lower-class affection along with her milk. Nursemaids were nurse's underlings and probably got the nastiest jobs.
The word "nanny" is a close synonym of "nurse", and may derive from a babytalk diminutive....