by Julie Klassen
Plot Summary:Believing herself guilty of a crime, Olivia Keene flees her home, eventually stumbling upon a grand estate where an elaborate celebration is in progress. But all is not as joyous as it seems.
Lord Bradley has just learned a terrible secret, which, if exposed, will change his life forever. When he glimpses a figure on the grounds, he fears a spy or thief has overheard his devastating news. He is stunned to discover the intruder is a scrap of a woman with her throat badly injured. Fearing she will spread his secret, he gives the girl a post and confines her to his estate. As Olivia and Lord Bradley's secrets catch up with them, will their hidden pasts ruin their hope of finding love?
Review:This novel has a plot with an interesting set-up - Olivia Keene is kept on at the Brightwell estate because Lord Bradley is afraid of her revealing his secret, and Olivia is content to stay hidden away at the estate because of a secret of her own. But the story then continues at quite a leisurely pace that gave almost episodic scenes where Olivia interacts with other characters and gradually finds out more about the people she is working for. The clues for the answers to the mysteries are well laid out, and the way the author wraps up all the loose ends, even the ones that seemed unimportant, is masterly. The building romance between Olivia and Edward Bradley was also very sweet and every mention of their confused, heartfelt feelings for each other was a treat.
The author also comments a lot on the lonely lot of the governess at that time, which I found very interesting to read. Books like Jane Eyre makes the job seem like a dream, but if you are not marrying your employer, it doesn't seem like a very desirable post at all. I liked seeing the other side of governessing in this story, though of course there is a happy ending. The story overall held my interest, even if the pace flagged at times, but character development was solid and with all the attention to detail to the story and character relationships, some parts in the ending did touch me to tears. This is a perfect clean romance read for curling up in a comfy chair on a rainy day.
First book of 20 in the 2013 Books of Eyre Challenge