Review: The Governess (Sisters of Woodside Mysteries #1) by Mary Kingswood

Print Length: 261 pages
Publisher: Sutors Publishing (July 17, 2018)

From  When Mr Edmund Winterton of Woodside dies, his daughters find themselves penniless and homeless. What can they do? Unless they wish to live on charity, they will have to find genteel employment for themselves.

Annabelle becomes governess to the daughters of the recently bereaved Earl of Brackenwood. She has no idea how to teach, but her pupils can learn all they need from books, so how difficult can it be? She’ll need all her ingenuity to cope with the rebelliousness of her charges, and the unwanted attentions of their father. But when her past returns to haunt her, she has to make a difficult decision.

Allan is slowly getting used to life as a widower, but his mother is determined that he must marry again and produce an heir. He is determined that he won’t, although the new governess is just the sort of woman he could fall in love with. But when a face from long ago reappears and stirs up suspicion, he has to consider the possibility that his wife’s death was not natural. What is worse, he himself is the obvious suspect. If he can’t prove his innocence, he may lose everything - his home, his new love and even his life.


My Rating: 1 star out of 5

Nothing about this story made any sense. 

To begin with, why did their father mortgage the family home to give only the eldest daughter a dowry (and one that nearly matched the outrageous sum a Duke's daughter has bestowed upon her later on)? Money seemed to be the focus of most of these characters - and frankly, it became annoying rather quickly. And while it appeared that there were some significant time jumps throughout the story, I never really understood (or believed) the romance between the two main characters. They have a genuine friendship it would seem, despite her being a governess (and much to his mother's disapproval), but I didn't feel that friendship extended into love. I would have definitely liked to have seen more of their interactions that would make the romance aspect feel more believable. 

Sadly, all of these characters seemed a bit one dimensional for my tastes. The dowager hates Annabelle and goes out of her way to be hostile towards her the day she takes the position as the governess, the sister-in-law is a conniving tart and the hero? Well, he shakes at the thought of having to stand up to his mother. Oh, and let's not forget Annabelle's first love, who for reasons known only to the author keeps popping up. 

Where the mystery is concerned, honestly it made no sense. The reason for the events unfolding as they did was far-fetched, the ultimate outcome so over the top and outlandish it was laughable, but the fact that after the person responsible was caught, and events explained, there is no mention of it anywhere? No scandal to be hand? No worry from Annabelle's family?

And I'm sorry, I do not buy the whole "if sisters are taught by the same person to write in the same way they will write identical to their other sisters" idea.  They may look similar to each other, but to tell me you can't tell the difference between one person's handwriting and someone else's is laughable. 

Overall, I do believe that this story may still appeal to those who enjoy clean historical romances (there was barely even any kissing involved). I might give this author another chance in the future. 

                             The Governess is available from

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