The Governess by Elizabeth Bear

Image result for queen victoria's book of spells ellen datlow book cover

Title: The Governess
Author: Elizabeth Bear
In: Queen Victoria’s Book of Spells (Ellen Datlow & Terri Windling)
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: FamilyFantasy, Gaslamp
Dates read: 25th August 2019
Pace: Medium
Format: Short story
Publisher: Tor
Year: 2013
5th sentence, 74th page: But she does, and there it is, and somehow she gets her mouth around it.

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Anabelle is the governess of three beautiful children. But not all is right in the manor, and it might take the strength of a woman to make it right again.


Not sure why, but at the beginning of this story, I was kind of expecting a much more cheerful and happier outlook in this story. Maybe a bit of a rags to riches story. I was so incredibly wrong. This is a little bit dark, a little bit uncomfortable and a really enjoyable read.

The Governess is a story that highlights the plight of women. Not only through Anabelle’s trials, but those of the mistress of the manor. Both are trapped by a man who is more than a little evil, and both are filled with their own hidden strength. The ending really drives home that although both women were brutalised and subject to horrors, they find a way to rise above and focus on a new future. The grasping of their own freedom and focus on what makes them strong, rather than what made them victims was the only really uplifting moment in an otherwise dark story.

This wasn’t a heavy fantasy story, it almost read a little like a historical fiction. But with just that hint of a fantastical element towards the very ending. Actually, it kind of made me want to watch Downton Abbey because it felt kind of like that era. Yet, the beauty of the fantastical hint at the end made me want to clutch this book to my chest, and find yet more stories written by Elizabeth Bear. A great introduction to a new author.

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Image source: Amazon

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