Welcome to Part 1 of the Baker Publishing Group/Revell Blog Tour for January 2010! Today and tomorrow, I’ll feature reviews for two books (now available) that I’ve read as part of the tour. I’ll be providing honest reviews to these books, and please feel free to ask any questions that come to mind – either about the review or each book itself.
So, without further ado, here’s book one!
The Silent Governess – Julie Klassen (Bethany House, 2009)
Olivia Keene is running away from her own secrets, but when she accidentally overhears a dangerous secret belonging to the Lord Bradley, she has little choice but to accept a post at his father’s court — a place where Lord Bradley can ensure Olivia’s silence about his own secret.
As Miss. Keene teaches the children at Brightwell Court, Lord Bradley finds himself both drawn to her and frustrated by her. What is the secret she hides, and why does his heart feel so conflicted?
At first glance, The Silent Governess is an intriguing tale of relationships in nineteenth-century England: familiar characters, social mores, elegant costuming, and people who never quite say what they mean. It’s fairly typical of this style of historical fiction, and fans of Julie Klassen’s previous work will find much to appreciate here.
The characters are well-drawn, and sub-plots arise at every turn — and not only that, but Klassen manages to weave them all together at the end with skill, leading to a relatively satisfying conclusion. However…
My primary issue with the book was the amount of crying/weeping/tears from the main character throughout the first half of the novel. Every ten pages or so, Miss. Keene either cries, holds back tears, or feels teardrops rolling down her cheeks. Yes, admittedly, she goes through quite a bit at the beginning of the book, but do we really need to join her at every moment of her tears? It gets rather tedious, and at one point I actually shouted at the novel, “Listen, just suck it up and deal with it!”
At the end of the book, the resolution with Miss. Keene’s father also seemed somewhat contrived. It felt as through Klassen was desperate to tie up all the threads into a neat little bow, and that subplot in particular was resolved far too conveniently and neatly to be believable. It’s eye-roll worthy, to say the least.
That aside, the book held my interest at length — I read the entire thing in one evening. I suspect that, despite its flaws, people who are a fan of this genre and of Klassen’s work will enjoy The Silent Governess. On the whole, I much preferred Klassen’sLady of Milkweed Manor — but, it’s worth giving this one a try.
I’d also recommend it for church libraries, as I think it would find quite a large readership there.
Available now at your favorite bookseller from Bethany House,
a division of Baker Publishing Group.