Sunday, April 8, 2012

The Silent Governess by Julie Klassen

The Silent Governess
Author: Julie Klassen
Publisher: Bethany House
Genre: Fiction, Romance, Historical
Date: 2009

Olivia Keene takes off into the forest with only the small packet her mother pushed into her hands. Running wildly she is fleeing a secret that she must never reveal. Her flight takes her to Brightwell Court where she overhears a secret of great import belonging to Lord Bradley. Caught spying she is locked in a cell where she is injured by a fellow prisoner and rendered temporarily mute. Edward (Lord Bradley) fearing his secret may be revealed, takes her to Brightwell Court and employs her while keeping a very close eye on her. If his secret is found out he stands to lose his legacy, his inheritance, his reputation and if her secret is found out she fears she'll lose much more.

Initially hired to work with Edward's orphaned cousins as their under nurse Miss Keene is eventually promoted to Governess. Secrets surround Miss Keene. Her mother was supposed to be close behind her has not appeared and is assumed dead. Her father is a wanted man and is missing. Meanwhile threatening notes are being delivered to Lord Brightwell and Lord Bradley that threaten their secret. Edward can't help but feel drawn to Miss Keene and yet still find her mysterious.

The plot thickens as secrets begin to unravel. Could Lord Brightwell actually be Miss Keene's father? Why has the mysterious game keeper kept such a close eye on Edward all these years? And who is the masked woman who is searching for Miss Keene?

Julie Klassen is one of my favorite authors. I will actually go out of my way to pay full price for one of her books. She has the ability to paint such a vivid picture of her setting and characters that you are completely transported. I always walk away from finishing one of her books having gained knew historical knowledge which I so appreciate.

The Silent Governess is a captivating read. Fans of Downton Abbey will fall in love with this book. The reader gets to see life at Brightwell Court from both above stairs and below stairs. I particularly found Miss Keene's adjustment to being lonely as the governess particularly interesting. Not quite a servant and yet not family, she really doesn't fit in. 

There were a couple of aspects of this book that I question. Miss Keene's secret is created to be this monstrosity when in actuality it is not worthy of the hype. Perhaps I missed the cultural relevance of the secret or the author didn't explain it well enough but I kept rereading to make sure I hadn't missed something bigger. It seemed a little unbelievable. There were a couple of sloppy parts in the book in relation to Miss Keene's mother as well. I won't go into details but this too I called into question.

Other than a few minor things this is an excellent read. I seriously wanted to put on a "spot o tea" and read all day. You will truly find yourself transported and integrated into the book. Klassen remains one of my favorites and I applaud The Silent Governess.

Rated PG-13 for adult themes.

Thank you to Bethany House Publishers and my friends at Radiant Lit for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

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