The Silent Governess

( 185 )

Overview

Olivia Keene is fleeing her own secret.
She never intended to overhear his.

But now that she has, what is Lord Bradley to do with her? He cannot let her go, for were the truth to get out, he would lose everything--his reputation, his inheritance, his very home.

He gives Miss Keene little choice but to accept a post at Brightwell Court, where he can make certain she does not spread what she heard. Keeping an ...

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The Silent Governess

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Overview

Olivia Keene is fleeing her own secret.
She never intended to overhear his.

But now that she has, what is Lord Bradley to do with her? He cannot let her go, for were the truth to get out, he would lose everything--his reputation, his inheritance, his very home.

He gives Miss Keene little choice but to accept a post at Brightwell Court, where he can make certain she does not spread what she heard. Keeping an eye on the young woman as she cares for the children, he finds himself drawn to her, even as he struggles against the growing attraction. The clever Miss Keene is definitely hiding something.

Moving, mysterious, and romantic, The Silent Governess takes readers inside the intriguing life of a nineteenth-century governess in an English manor house where all is not as it appears.

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Editorial Reviews

Violet Nesdoly
The Silent Governess is an interesting and satisfying sojourn in 19th century England. Fans of the Janes (Austen and Eyre) won't want to miss it. The paperback edition includes discussion questions, making this a good choice for book clubs and reading groups.
BlogCritics.org
5 Minutes for Books
The Silent Governess is a tale filled with secrets and a story that demonstrates that we can never leave our past completely behind. I lost myself in the pages and could easily picture myself walking the hallways of Brightwell Court with the characters. The Silent Governess is a delightful page-turner, and although I figured out some aspects of the story on my own, Julie Klassen saved some surprising twists and turns for the end! .... Whether you enjoy Jane Austen's England, or you just like a good suspenseful, romantic story, The Silent Governess is a great addition to any reading list.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780764207075
  • Publisher: Baker Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 1/1/2010
  • Edition description: Original
  • Pages: 448
  • Sales rank: 342,353
  • Product dimensions: 5.30 (w) x 8.74 (h) x 1.24 (d)

Meet the Author

Julie Klassen is an editor and novelist who has worked in Christian publishing for many years. She is a graduate of the University of Illinois and has a background in advertising. Julie and her husband have two sons and live in St. Paul, Minnesota.
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Read an Excerpt

The Silent Governess


By Julie Klassen

Bethany House Publishers

Copyright © 2009 Julie Klassen
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-0-7642-0707-5


Chapter One

It is nought good a slepyng hound to wake. -Geoffrey ChauCer

Twelve years later November 1, 1815

Heart pounding with fear and regret, Olivia Keene ran as though hellhounds were on her heels. As though her very life depended upon her escape.

Fleeing the village, she ran across a meadow, bolted over the sheep gate, caught her skirt, and went sprawling in the mire. The bundle in her cape pocket jabbed against her hip bone. Ignoring it, she picked herself up and ran on, looking behind to make sure no one followed. Ahead lay Chedworth Wood.

The warnings of years echoed through her mind. "Don't stray into the wood at night." Wild dogs stalked that wood, and thieves and poachers camped there, with sharp knives and sharper eyes, looking for easy game. A woman of Olivia's four-and-twenty years knew better than to venture into the wood alone. But her mother's cries still pulsed in her ears, drowning out the old voice of caution. The danger behind her was more real than any imagined danger ahead.

Shivers of fear prickling over her skin, she hurled herself into the outstretched arms of the wood, already dim and shadowy on the chill autumn evening. Beneath her thin soles, dry leavescrackled. Branches grabbed at her like gnarled hands. She stumbled over fallen limbs and underbrush, every snapping twig reminding her that a pursuer might be just behind, just out of sight.

Olivia ran until her side ached. Breathing hard, she slowed her pace. She walked for what seemed like an hour or more and still hadn't reached the other side of the wood. Was she traveling in a circle? The thought of spending the night in the quickly darkening wood made her pick up her pace once more.

She tripped on a tangle of roots and again went sprawling. She heard the crisp rip of fabric. A burning scratch seared her cheek. For a moment she lay as she was, trying to catch her breath.

The pain of the fall broke through the dam of shock, and the hot tears she had been holding back poured forth. She struggled up and sat against a tree, sobbing.

Almighty God, what have I done?

A branch snapped and an owl screeched a warning to his mate. Fear instantly stifled her sobs. Hairs prickling at the back of her neck, Olivia searched the moonlit dimness with wide eyes.

Eyes stared back.

A dog, wiry and dark, stood not twenty feet away, teeth bared. In silent panic, Olivia scratched the ground around her, searching for something to use as a weapon. The undergrowth shook and the ground pulsed with a galloping tread. Two more dogs ran past, one clenching something round and white in its jaws. The head of a sheep?

The first dog turned and bounded after the other two, just as Olivia's fingers found a stout stick. She gripped it tightly, wishing for a moment that she still held the fire iron. Shivering in revulsion,

Olivia thrust aside the memory of its cold, hard weight. She listened for several tense seconds. Hearing nothing more, she rose, stick firmly in hand, and hurried through the wood, hoping the dogs wouldn't follow her trail.

* * *

The moon was high above the treetops when she saw it. The light of a fire ahead. Relief. Wild animals were afraid of fire, were they not? She tentatively moved nearer. She had no intention of joining whoever had camped there-perhaps a family of gypsies or a gentlemen's hunting party. Even if the rumors of thieves and poachers were stuff and nonsense, she would not risk making her presence known. But she longed for the safety the fire represented. She longed, too, for its warmth, for the November night air stole mercilessly through her cape and gown. Perhaps if another woman were present, Olivia might ask to warm herself. She dared move a little closer, stood behind a tree and peered around it. She saw a firelit clearing and four figures huddled around the flames in various postures of repose. The sound of men talking and jesting reached her.

"Squirrel again tonight, Garbie?" a gravelly voice demanded.

"Unless Croome comes back with more game."

"This time o' night? Not dashed likely."

"More likely he's lyin' foxed in the Brown Dog, restin' his head on Molly's soft pillows."

"Not Croome," another said. "Never knew such a monkish man."

Laughter followed.

Every instinct told Olivia to flee even as she froze where she stood. This was no family, nor any party of gentlemen. Fear slithering up her spine, she turned and stepped away from the tree.

"Wha's that?"

A young man's loud whisper stopped Olivia's retreat. She stood still, afraid to make another sound.

"What's what? I don't hear nofin'."

"Maybe it is Croome."

Olivia took a tentative tiptoe step. Then another. A sticky web coated her face, startling her, and she stumbled over a log onto the ground.

Before she could right herself, the sound of footsteps surrounded her and harsh lamplight blinded her.

"Well, kiss my bonnie luck star," a young man breathed.

Olivia struggled to her feet and pushed down her skirts. She brushed her fallen hair from her face and tried to remain calm.

"Croome's got a mite prettier since we saw 'im last," said a second young man.

Beside him, a bearded hulk glowered down at her. In the harsh, gravelly voice she had first heard, he demanded, "What are ya doin' here?"

Panic shot through her veins. "Na-nothing! I saw your fire and I-"

"Looking for some company, were ya?" The big man's leer chilled her to the marrow. "Well, ya come to the right place- hasn't she, lads?"

"Aye," another agreed.

The big man reached for her, but Olivia recoiled. "No, you misunderstand me," she said. "I simply lost my way. I don't want-"

"Oh, but we do want." His gleaming eyes were very like those of the wild dog.

The stout stick she had been carrying was on the ground, where it had landed when she fell. She lunged for it, but the man grabbed her from behind. "Where d'ya think yer going? Nowhere soon, I'd wager."

Olivia cried out, but did manage to get her hand around the stick as he hauled her up.

"Let go of me!"

The burly man laughed. Olivia spun in his arms and swung the stick like a club. With a thwack, it caught the side of his head. He yelled and covered the wound with his hands.

Olivia scrambled away, but two other men grabbed her arms and legs, wrestled the stick from her, and bore her back to the fire.

"You all right, Borcher?" the youngest man asked, voice high.

"I will be. Which is more'n I can say for her."

"Please!" Olivia implored the men who held her. "Release me, I beg of you. I am a decent girl from Withington." My brother lives near there," the youngest man offered.

"Shut up, Garbie," Borcher ordered.

"Perhaps I have met your brother," she said desperately. "What is his na-?"

"Shut yer trap!" Borcher charged forward, hand raised.

"Borcher, don't," young Garbie urged. "Let her go."

"After the hoyden hit me? Not likely." Borcher grabbed her roughly, pinning both arms to her sides with one long, heavy arm and pressing her back against a tree.

She tried in vain to stomp on his foot, but her kid slippers were futile against his boots. "No!" she shouted. "Someone help me. Please!"

His free hand flashed up and clasped her jaw, steely fingers clamping her cheeks in a vise that stilled her shouts. She wrenched her head to the side and bit down on his thumb as hard as she could.

Borcher yelled, yanked his hand away, and raised it in a menacing fist.

Olivia winced her eyes shut, bracing herself for the inevitable blow.

Fwwt. Smack. Something whizzed by her captor's ear and shuddered into the tree above her. She opened her eyes as Borcher whirled his head around. Across the clearing, at the edge of the firelight, a man stood atop a tree stump, bow and arrow poised.

"Let her go, Phineas," the man drawled in an irritated voice.

"Mind yer own affairs, Croome." Borcher raised his fist again.

Another arrow whooshed by, slicing into the tree bark with a crack.

"Croome!" Borcher swore.

"Next time, I shall aim," the man called Croome said dryly. Though he appeared a slight, older man, cool authority steeled his words

Borcher released Olivia with a hard shove. The back of her head hit the tree, where long arrows still quivered above her. Even the jarring pain in her skull did not diminish the relief washing over her. In the flickering firelight, she looked again at her rescuer, still perched on the stump. He was a gaunt man of some sixty years in a worn hat and hunting coat. Ash grey hair hung down to his shoulders. A game bag was slung over one of them. The bow he held seemed a natural extension of his arm.

"Thank you, sir," she said.

He nodded.

Glimpsing the stout stick by the light of the forgotten lamp, Olivia bent to retrieve it. Then turned to make her escape.

"Wait." Croome's voice was rough but not threatening. He stepped down from the stump, and she waited as he approached. His height-tall for a man of his years-and limping gait surprised her. "Take the provisions I brought for these undeserving curs."

She accepted a quarter loaf of bread and a sack of apples. Her stomach rumbled on cue. But when he extended a limp hare from his game bag, she shook her head.

"Thank you, no. This is more than enough."

One wiry eyebrow rose. "To make up for what they did to you-and would have done?"

Olivia stiffened. She shook her head and said with quiet dignity, "No, sir. I am afraid not." She handed back the bread and apples, turned, and strode smartly from the clearing.

His raspy chuckle followed her. "Fool ..."

And she was not certain if he spoke of her or of himself.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from The Silent Governess by Julie Klassen Copyright © 2009 by Julie Klassen. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 185 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(96)

4 Star

(54)

3 Star

(28)

2 Star

(4)

1 Star

(3)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 186 Customer Reviews
  • Posted November 8, 2011

    I Also Recommend:

    great

    I enjoyed reading this novel. I loved the characters, the plot. it was hard to put down.

    9 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 26, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    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 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.

    9 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 17, 2010

    Olivia Keene has a secret

    I loved this book from beginning to end. There were certain twists and turns in the story that had me gasping in surprise. With Julie Klassen's book I can lose track of time and found out that I have been reading for hours. Julie is a wonderful writer and she has made it to my list of top 5 favorite authors. I can't wait for her next book.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 2, 2012

    This Silent Governess Speaks Volumes!

    I have read all of Klassen's books, and they're all phenomenal. However, this one outshines the rest in terms of realistic characterization, mystery, suspense, and drama. Klassen beautifully weaves the themes of identity and trust into this novel where no one is who they seem to be. Though I'm looking forward to future books from Klassen, it's hard to imagine that any will outshine this!

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 26, 2011

    Great book

    Love all her books but this is my favorite

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 6, 2011

    My FAV Julie Klassen so far!!!

    This Julie Klassen is my absolute favorite! I have read all four of her books, and this one is my most favorite. I especially liked the story line & plot. I was on the edge of my seat the ENTIRE time I first read the book. Since then, I have re-read it several times and loved it every time. I would definitely recommend this book as a good mystery/suspense/romance read. AWESOME book!! :D

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 18, 2011

    Really enjoyed this book!

    I have now read all of Julie Klassen's books and I think I like this one best of all! Exceptional character development and very interesting story line - I hope Ms. Klassen writes another book soon! I have loved each of them!

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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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!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 27, 2011

    Wonderful book.

    Wonderful story and very well written!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 16, 2010

    The Silent Governess by Julie Klassen

    THE SILENT GOVERNESS by Julie Klassen is an Inspirational fiction romance. It is written with rich detail of the Regency era. It gives insight into the family members, the governess and other servants in the household during this era. The story has romance, intrigue, mystery, family secrets, faith, friendship and loyalty. It will capture you from the first page until the last. The main characters are realistic and charming. The secondary characters are charming and enchanting they help carry the story along. This is a delightful story with wonderful characters. If you enjoy the Regency era, history, romance and mystery you will totally enjoy this one. It is a keeper. I would highly recommend.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 5, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Amazing!

    I absolutely loved this book! I have read all of Julie Klassen's books and this one is my favorite. This book was so well written and you fall easily in love with the characters. I could not put this book down and I loved the connection and love that was built between the two main characters. I can not wait for her to write her next book! You must read this!!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 21, 2012

    Good read

    I enjoyed this story so much the characters revisited me in my dreams. I grew to love them all. I was saddenened when my fears of the blackmailers was confirmed.

    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

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 15, 2012

    Good Buy and Good Read!

    This book is definitely worth reading and buying. I ABSOLUTELY loved this book very much!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 14, 2012

    Like Heaven

    This book is so twisted and always throws you for a loop every time you think you figured it out. I adore Julie Klassen's books. I have never been dissapointed by any of her writings.

    2 out of 2 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.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 1, 2012

    Get this book!

    This book is awesome! Like my favorite book ever!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 23, 2012

    Wonderful

    Wonderful

    2 out of 2 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.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 15, 2012

    Loved it

    Great read!
    I enjoyed this book so very much!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 186 Customer Reviews

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