Customer Reviews for

The Silent Governess

Average Rating 4.5
( 185 )
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(96)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

9 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

Another Hit from Klassen

Julie Klassen has become one of my new favorite historical fiction writers. Her books bring to life Regency England and make reading history fun even for those who normally hate reading history. In this book, we meet Olivia Keene, a young woman escaping her past who is ...
Julie Klassen has become one of my new favorite historical fiction writers. Her books bring to life Regency England and make reading history fun even for those who normally hate reading history. In this book, we meet Olivia Keene, a young woman escaping her past who is caught in the wrong place at the wrong time. She becomes injured and cannot speak and is placed on the staff at an estate. There she meets Edward, who is the heir of the estate who has his own secretive past. The two soon find out that they are connected because of this past and seek to find out why all the secrets had to exist.

This book totally plays out like a gothic romance or something akin to a Jane Austen novel. Klassen brings to life both the aristocrats and the servants by allowing to reader to see behind the scenes of life at an estate. I enjoyed reading about what it was like to be a governess in that time period and the solitary lifestyle they were supposed to live was sad. It was different from the life of a teacher because you were there 24/7 and had no contact with the outside world or even the adults in the house. My favorite part of the book was the transformation of Croome throughout the story. I was convinced from the beginning of the book that he was a dodgy character that was up to no good and could be potentially harmful to both Olivia and Edward. As the story progressed, we see that armor that's been protecting him all these years begin to chip away slowly to reveal a character that's not what he seems. It was definitely one of the best transformations in a story complete with heartache, humor and joy.

What I like best about Klassen's books is that she weaves a mystery inside all her historical tales. They are done extremely well, to the point where (and shame on me) I HAVE to peek at the end to find out what really happens. This is no fault to the author as the storyline is written very well. I'm just very impatient and want to find out the ending very quickly. I was pleasantly surprised with the ending on this one. It was not what I had expected and I had to flip back to see what I had missed. Also there is not a heavy focus on romance. While the subject is there and a good deal of the plot is focused on it, the story is not a regency romance and more attention is paid to the mystery. There are a few slow sections in the book that do drag on a little, mainly because the action does not take place in the central location. They are not really a bother, but I did find myself wanting to get back to the heart of the story.

Overall I really enjoyed reading this book. The storyline is intriguing, the characters engaging and the setting just sumptuous. I can easily see myself transported back to this time period and living among the characters. Julie's books have been a delight to read and I eagerly await her next offering. If you are a big fan of Regency novels, this is a must read.

posted by Deborah_K on April 26, 2010

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Most Helpful Critical Review

1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

Good

I like Julie Klassen's works but this one wasn't up to other efforts.
The "reason" for the Governess silence is too contrived and impossible
to enforce. But, I enjoy Klassen's writing and the details she offers
describing the era. Better choices would be Lady of Mi...
I like Julie Klassen's works but this one wasn't up to other efforts.
The "reason" for the Governess silence is too contrived and impossible
to enforce. But, I enjoy Klassen's writing and the details she offers
describing the era. Better choices would be Lady of Milkweed Manor
and the Maid of Fairbourne Hall.

posted by alfFL on July 8, 2012

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 1, 2012

    Twists and turns!

    I enjoyed trying to figure out this story. Some I guessed and some surprised me. Good read and neat characters!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 7, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    The Silent Governess

    This is just a really fun, interesting book.

    Olivia is pretty much blackmailed into working at Brightwell Court after overhearing a secret about the owner's son (an adult). She's soon appointed to be the children's governess, and she kind of develops a thing for the owner's son (hence why I stressed he's an adult).

    There's a love story and a mystery and it's just fun.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 27, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    excellent read for Everyone!!!!

    this book is an excellent read!! really it is. i read it and i LOVED it!! it is clean and wholesome and funny......i reccommend it to everyone!!
    i love to just escape the trials of everyday life and this is the perfect type of read for that.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 22, 2012

    Highly recommended. Great story.

    Olivia is a strong female character. The story had a beginning, middle and end. The Lord Bradley character was a little weak, but Olivia's strength made up for it. A very good read

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 3, 2012

    I loved it.

    This book had me from page one, I didn't want it to end.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 23, 2012

    Wonderful

    Wonderful

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 22, 2012

    Very Enjoyable Reading

    The main character, Olivia, is very likeable. I found that she got into trouble quite often - even realized that she would wind up in trouble if she continued on her chosen path - but she did it anyway. Quite remarkable for someone in this timeframe to be female, yet take so many chances.

    The story line was very intriguing and kept my interest from beginning to end. I did not put the book down until I had read it completely.

    The only reason I gave it 4 stars instead of 5 is because I was able to figure out all the twists and turns of the plot and found that I did not have many surprises waiting at the end. BUT, with that said - I would read it again and will certainly pick up another Julie Klassen regency book to read.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 13, 2012

    Never disappointed with a Klassen

    I always love her stories, detailed and complex but delivering a simple story. (and beautiful happy endings)

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 13, 2014

    The story takes place in the nineteenth century in England. Oliv

    The story takes place in the nineteenth century in England. Olivia runs from home believing she had committed a crime. While on the way to a school for refuge, she accidentally overhears a conversation that was not meant for her ears. Caught eavesdropping, the only thing the earl's son could do to make sure she keeps her mouth shut about what she heard is to hire her as his cousins nurse and later governess.
    I loved this story. At first it reminded me of a little of Jane Eyre, but as I read farther it realized it reminded me more of the Sound Of Music. A well-loved governess, the building of attraction between the characters, the 'other woman', and Olivia running away. The story had many things going on at once, many scandals and questions thrown into the book. It kept the story going and kept it interesting. It flowed in the story quite well, keeping it at a good pace. The scandals had pulled me in and locked me into the story. I came up with my own theories and groaned when they didn't exactly pan out. That didn't stop me from loving what Julie Klassen wrote in "The Silent Governess". I loved the mystery in the book and the gothic feel. This book has realistic characterization, mystery, suspense, drama, and, don't forget, romance. Julie Klassen shows her talent at weaving the themes of identity and trust into the book.
    However, it was lacking something for me. Edward, the earl's son, and the groundskeeper, Mr. Croome. Without ruining the story, all I can say is that I wish there were more interaction between them. And the ending could have been stretched out more. It seemed to end rather quickly. There needed to be more emotion, I feel. Julie Klassen did a good job at Edward's growing attraction to Olivia, but Olivia's attraction to Edward seemed to happen a little sudden.
    Other then that this is sure to be a story that I would read again and again. I makes me wonder about Julie Klassen's other books.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 31, 2012

    Great book

    Could not put it down.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 26, 2011

    Great book

    Very enjoyable read, great story. Love all her books.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 22, 2011

    Interesting read, hard to put down.

    Exciting from page one, first book I read of ms. klassen. looking forward to others.

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  • Posted December 11, 2011

    A Nice Read

    OK, it's not the Great American Novel but it is a good Jane Austen "wanna be". I rather enjoyed my time spent with this book. If you want a graceful historical novel that is not quite but close to a bodice ripper this is your book.

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  • Posted December 7, 2011

    Wonderful Surprise

    I was pleasantly surprised by this book. I bought it as sale book, and didn't have high expectations. However, I enjoyed this book from start to finish. History, faith and romance came together in this wonderful tale, and other books by the author are now on my wish list!

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  • Posted December 7, 2011

    Nice Way to Spend an Evening

    Well written, good use of vocabulary. Plot takes awhile to develop. Author researched the historic period and did a good job of getting reader to visualize throughout the story. Time well spent for a cozy evening read.

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  • Posted November 22, 2011

    Highly Recommend - a must read for regent readers

    As Olivia (the main character) is torn from her home suddenly, you feel her insecurity and the unknown she is facing. She has no idea where her new life will lead her. Her curiosity gets her into trouble that leads to a successful ending. There's twists and turns where you can't quite figure out the ending. If you love reading about the regent period, this is a must read. Julie Klassen has new ideas for this time period. It's very good.

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  • Posted September 13, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    A Pretty Good Read

    Running away after what she thinks she's done, Olivia finds herself working at a mansion belonging to Edward Bradley. All because he wants her to keep quiet after she overheard a secret of his. He finds that because of a throat injury, Olivia can't speak. While working there, Olivia wonders if her Mom is alright and gets to know everyone including Edward. What secret had Olivia heard that Edward would want her to be silent? What did Olivia do that she ran away? Recommend reading the book to find out. The pace and writing was good. There was also good character development too. I wasn't disappointed by this book and will check out the author's other books as well.

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  • Posted April 11, 2010

    Delightful Christian fiction Regency period romance and mystery set in rural England.

    Very enjoyable storyline that is further helped along with good detail to life in rural nineteenth century England. I personally enjoyed the fact it was not set in London, as so many Regency novels are. The author excels at character development, which adds the dimension of rooting for something good to finally happen for the downtrodden. The ending was a little sudden, like the author had used up her word count, but still she tied up all the loose ends.

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  • Posted February 22, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Brighter Tone with Eyre-like Elements of Plot

    I should have guessed other readers of the genre knew what they were talking about. Though this was my first taste of Klassen's writing she has definitely become a must read after just one book. Thankfully I have her two earlier books somewhere in my TBR to sate my reading appetites for historical novels if needed till another new one comes along. Olivia Keene though the daughter of a villager and a displaced gentlewoman, is raised with as complete an education as possible and goes on to use her knowledge and talents to educate young ladies of the following generation. When she happens upon a man attacking her mother, she attempts to protect her and attacks him thinking it is her father under the influence of liquor. As time goes on both her mother and father disappear as does Olivia herself but their paths are fated to intersect mysteriously once again and truth that was garbled then eventually arrives at the logical conclusion of a tangled course. Though it takes several tries to piece together the perplexing bits of fact that can still be traced, the reality of circumstances eventually corroborate a very different story from what anyone expected to encounter. While Klassen's tale is much brighter in tone than Bronte's Jane Eyre, it is still highly reminiscent in content of that famous narrative involving orphaned youngsters with unknown or questionable lineage who still managed to acquire the knowledge of a privileged education. Unfit by provenance for a life of leisure they find themselves limited to the position of a governess where they are considered not a servant yet not an equal of the family either or teaching in a school where station doesn't signify provided they are bright enough to impart the esoteric subjects to children whose family name or status won't gain them entry to the famous institutions that the noble classes enjoy despite their nonchalant attitudes at times toward an honest education. Thank you to Bethany House for a review copy.

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  • Posted January 26, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    for lovers of clean historical fiction

    With its stunning cover and enticing synopsis, this book beckoned me to read it from the day I received it. So I put down the book I originally planned to read and eagerly began to devour the pages of this one. With its intricate plot, fine set of characters, and 19th century small village English Manor setting, it was easy to become fully absorbed in this novel, keeping me up late several nights.

    Julie Klassen has given us a well-written tale that skilfully blends mystery, intrigue, secrecy, and romance to create a book with which I loved to escape. Plenty of situations are thrown into the plot leaving the reader wondering how it will all come together in the end. But the author leaves no plot thread loose as she brings the novel to a satisfying conclusion.

    If there was something that had me frowning in confusion at times was the inconsistency of some of the characters. Mrs. Hinkley, the housekeeper, for example, was cool and aloof (as required by her station) but was suddenly considered a friend toward the end by Olivia Keene, the main character, and I had no clue when the transition took place. There are other examples but because I enjoyed reading this book, they are considered minor and did not detract too much. Some of the characters I liked best were the secondary ones, like Mr. Tugwell, the vicar, and Mr. Croome, the gamekeeper.

    If you like historical fiction with some romance and mystery, this one will surely please. In addition, although considered Christian fiction, I believe it will appeal to anyone who enjoys a good story.

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