House of Many Ways, by Diana Wynne Jones
You know I can't go for very long without reading a DWJ book. Yesterday I needed to read one again, and picked House of Many Ways since I've only read it about 4 times so far. This is the third book featuring the Wizard Howl, but it's sort of interesting how Howl doesn't have all that much space in the second and third books--he's there, but not as a major character, and he spends most of his time in disguise.
Charmain lives in the tiny kingdom of High Norland, and all she really wants to do is read all the time and munch while she reads. (I sympathize!) But now she has to go take care of her great-uncle William's house while he is off getting cured of his illness. It's a magical house, which I would like to live in please, and she has no idea how to do even the most basic things.
Then an unlucky wizard's apprentice shows up. So does the world's cutest dog. Add a bunch of angry kobolds, a scary purple monster, and High Norland's royal family, and you have plenty of mayhem--but they've only just gotten started.
Howl is particularly hilarious in this story, as he shows up disguised as an improbably enchanting and beautiful little boy (with an infuriating lisp), claiming that his real childhood was very sad and he deserves another go-round. Diana Wynne Jones said that she was always mystified at the number of girls who would write to her and declare their determination to marry Howl, and I must say I'm on her side. Howl is a lot of fun to read about, but I'm glad I don't have to live with him!