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The Silent Governess Review by Amy M. O’Quinn

By Julie Klassen
Bethany House Publishers
11400 Hampshire Avenue South
Bloomington, Minnesota 55438

I love good fiction, and I am always thrilled when I find a new author who has a wonderful writing style, a great voice, and a compelling story. But because I had never heard of Julie Klassen or her books, I didn't know what to expect when I received my review copy of The Silent Governess. However, after reading only the first few pages of this historical novel set in Regency England, I was hooked. In fact, I found it so hard to put the book down that I read late into the night to find out what happened to Olivia and Lord Bradley--it was that riveting!

Julie Klassen is an outstanding writer, and her story is about a young woman running from home after a terrible incident and fearing for her life (Olivia Keene) and the unmarried wealthy heir to a large country manor (Lord Bradley), who will lose everything if the truth of his past comes to light. When Olivia inadvertently overhears the secret that could ruin his future, Lord Bradley gives her little choice but to accept a post as governess at his home, Brightwell Court, after having her released from jail where she has been unjustly imprisoned. Even though Olivia has temporarily lost her voice after a brutal attack by another prisoner, Lord Bradley takes no chances and wants to keep her under his watchful eye. Having her take care of his niece and nephew seems to be the solution to his dilemma, especially after her throat recovers and her voice returns. But will she keep his secret?

As the story unfolds with all of its unexpected twists and turns, Lord Bradley finds himself undeniably attracted to the lovely young governess. And although she, too, is attracted to the young lord, Olivia struggles to find her place in manor life, where she is neither family nor servant. She also yearns to find the answers to her ever-growing questions, yet fears the truth as well. What really happened to her mother? Did her father commit an unforgivable crime, and is he really her father? What was the relationship between Lord Bradley's father and her own mother years ago, and why did her mother's family disinherit her? What is going on at the manor house, and why is nothing as it seems?

Klassen keeps readers on the edge of their seats as they try to unravel the mysterious sequence of events and figure out what actually took place the night Olivia fled from her home and who is behind the plan to expose Lord Bradley's secret and destroy his future. She also seamlessly weaves in the intriguing account of 19th-century English manor life and interesting facts about the role of governesses during that time.

I liked The Silent Governess so much that I immediately logged onto my library's online catalog system to place a hold on Mrs. Klassen's other two books, Lady of Milkweed Manor and The Apothecary's Daughter. I savored those novels as well, and I look forward to her next installment. Readers who enjoy the flavor of Jane Austen or Charlotte Bronte will certainly find The Silent Governess and Ms. Klassen's other novels to be a good fit for their reading tastes. You can find out more about Julie Klassen and The Silent Governess at Highly recommended!

Product review by Amy M. O'Quinn, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, May 2010