About this book:
This is the story of Olivia Keene, a middle class woman of the nineteenth century – brilliant at arithmetic, a teacher at a school for girls, and with a mostly unremarkable life. Until the day she comes home to find her mother in the midst of being strangled. It only takes a few moments for her life to be altered forever.
She finds herself fleeing for her life, and eventually ends up at an English Manor House far from her own village. You might think she would be able to breathe freely there, but before she knows it she is caught up in a new ring of secrecy involving the Lord of the Manor. Will the truth set her free, or only make things worse?
Isn’t that a lovely cover? It definitely drew me in, as did the title. I had high hopes, but this is a complicated review for me. I really loved the story line and the characters initially, but The Silent Governess didn’t keep my attention all the way to the end. I tried, but by the time I had read about three-quarters of the book I was ready to put it down and pick up something else. I forced myself to finish it because I wanted to write this review, and because I was hoping it would get better later. But it didn’t, unfortunately.
I require much, I guess – because the books I truly love and want to read and re-read are few and far between. I like characters I can connect to and that are real and believable, a plot and storyline that keeps me guessing, true depth, and a book that surprises me by being different from the norm.
I have to admit that when it comes to a compelling story line, The Silent Governess was more than satisfactory. If you like shows like Upstairs, Downstairs or anything depicting the difference in the classes and the struggles on each side (servant/master relationship), this book will touch on the subject and pique your interest. It didn’t quite reach a depth I was hoping for, but it is really a great story. One of my favorite extra little touches to the book is that each chapter is preceded by a quote about being a teacher, a servant, or a governess from a governess’s old published journal, a poem, or a historical book – I loved these quotes and read each and every one with interest.
So as to why this book only earned 3 hearts rather than 5 for me, the main reason is that Olivia’s character was too perfect, and not really developed as much as I would have liked. I never could really relate to her. Also, it was fairly predictable, though there were a few of what I”ll call “mini-twists” that I liked and didn’t expect. But by the end it seemed that everything was tied up too nicely.
Honestly, I hate criticizing an author’s work. And that’s not really what I’m doing – I’m just telling you how I felt about it as an avid reader. I respect Julie Klassen for writing books that people enjoy (I see five-star reviews all of the time), for creating great characters, and for all of the work she obviously put into this book. I enjoyed the first part of The Silent Governess, the quotes, and the mini-twists in the plot that I didn’t see coming. But I wouldn’t keep this one on my shelf to read again. I’ll pass this one on and who knows? Maybe the next person who reads it will really love it. :-)
You can purchase this book at Amazon.com, and read many (mostly five-star) reviews there.
I would like to thank Bethany House Publishers for sending me a copy of this book in order to write a full and honest review. This review is in my own words and was not edited or reviewed by anyone.
I am an Amazon.com Affiliate. :-)