After a long hiatus, If You Like is back! It’s all thanks to Tracy Grant, who provided this week’s guest If You Like post on one of my favorite topics: governess books.
Without any further ado, if you like governess books… here’s the lovely Tracy Grant, with some recommendations:
My book The Mayfair Affair, which releases, on May 15 is many things–a historical mystery, a spy story, an adventure. But it is also a governess story. The book begins with Laura Dudley, governess to the children of my central spy couple Malcolm and Suzanne Rannoch, accused of the murder of a powerful duke. Laura has been in the background in earlier books in the series. It was fun to explore her story and secrets. In honor of Laura, here are some of my favorite governess stories.
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. How could I not start with this? The archetypal governess book. I first read it at the age of nine and discover new things in the story to this day.
The Orchid Affair by Lauren Willig. One of my favorite books in a favorite series. I love Laura Grey, intelligent, sensible but with an adventurous heart. And I think it’s cool both Lauren and I, separately, named our quite different governess characters Laura!
Nine Coaches Waiting by Mary Stuart. When I was thirteen I thought this was one of the most romantic books I’d ever read. I still do in many ways. It’s also a Cinderella story and a wonderful, gripping adventure set in the French countryside.
The Secret Pearl by Mary Balogh. An intensely emotional story that stayed with me long after I read it. Definite echoes of Jane Eyre but with a fresh spin.
The Buccaneers by Edith Wharton. The central characters are the four American débutantes who marry into the British aristocracy, but the governess is an important character in her own right. A wonderful portrait of the limited options faced by women without fortune or family and the challenges of living as a governess part and yet not part of a family. Her name is Laura Testvalley. I honestly didn’t think about her name being Laura as well until I wrote this post. I wonder subconsciously if that’s why I named my own Laura.
What are your favorite governess stories?
Thanks so much, Tracy! I cannot wait to read your governess book. (Which, if I remember correctly, comes out this Friday.)
And why do you think there are so many governesses named Laura?
Governesses are a topic dear to my heart right now because the heroine of my upcoming book, The Other Daughter, starts out the novel as a nursery governess. Her life takes some rather strange and ungovernessy twists after that, but the opening of the book is an homage to one of my all time favorite books, Nine Coaches Waiting, which Tracy discusses above.
For more governess book recommendations, here is another list I compiled for If You Like a few years ago. You’ll notice a certain amount of overlap….