The Silent Governess, by Julie Klassen, is one of my most favorite Christian fiction novels. Julie Klassen weaves yet another mystery in this book and captures her readers attention from the first moment. I once again was reminded of Bronte and Austen while reading this book and couldn’t stop until I’d finished it.
Our first chapter begins with a desperate woman running from something…or someone. Her terror is obvious, but Olivia Keene believes that she is the guilty party in what could turn out to be a terrible crime. She comes upon some brutes in the woods and is rescued, but her running doesn’t stop there. And when she overhears a terrible secret divulged to a young lord by his father, Olivia believes she might’ve just gotten herself into even more trouble.
Lord Edward Bradley has just been told a horrible truth by his father. But his anger is roused when he sees the young woman spying and listening from behind a tree. But his gamekeeper tosses a sack over her head and drags her away.
Olivia is locked up…but she is not alone. One of the rogues from the woods is in the same cell and she knows that she’s going to die. When he starts to strangle her, Olivia nearly looses conscienceness. Fortunately someone has come to see her and she is saved…but she finds that she cannot speak!!
This, in one way, relieves Edward. But his secret is too serious. How can he trust a strange woman not to speak of it when her voice returns? So, he employs her as an under nurse to his cousin’s children who live with him and his parents.
The Silent Governess offered us a glimpse into the early nineteenth century. Not only that but it offers a glimpse into the life of a governess during that time. She was not a servant, but not a member of the family. She was in between, and not to be associated with. It was a lowly task, being a governess during those times and her only association was to be with the children. She was to dine alone and not speak to the servants. The life of a governess during that time was very lonely.
The faith aspect of the story was, once again, not as strong as I would have liked. Though I will say that Olivia relied more on prayer then I think Lilly did in The Apothecary’s Daughter.
The story is woven so intricately. For quite a while, Olivia cannot speak and then when she does regain her voice, she’s not allowed to speak of the secrets she heard or to talk at all to anyone for a while, after Edward orders her to keep up the act of being mute. Olivia’s own secrets worry the readers and Edward’s distress him so that you feel deeply for him.
Somehow Olivia and Edward’s pasts are connected…but neither know how.
If you enjoy Bronte and Austen then you would definitely enjoy The Silent Governess!! Julie Klassen’s books just keep getting better!
Coming Soon: Her past is not what she thinks it is…look for my review of The Lightkeeper’s Daughter, by Colleen Coble, tomorrow!!