Her whole life changes at her father's death... The Governess of Banbury Park by Julie Matern (Review, Excerpt & #Giveaway) @singlibbooks

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The Governess of Banbury Park
By Julie Matern
Adult Historical Romance, Christian
Paperback & ebook, 174 Pages
April 14th 2020 by Cedar Fort, Inc.


At the reading of her father’s will, Sophia Cavanaugh learns that she is suddenly destitute. Impoverished, grief-stricken and alone, she sees only one course open to her – becoming a governess. With little experience and no references, securing a position proves more difficult than expected until she finds a champion in the dashing and well-connected Charles Mortimer. he quickly captures her heart but are the feelings mutual?

Sophia is provided a position by his meddling mother and the two are parted, but fate thrusts them back together. Will Sophia risk her heart and confess her love?

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On the final day, the whole company, including Sophia and Emily, was taking a walk around the estate after lunch when the redoubtable Mrs. Mortimer hung back. Sophia viewed her approach with dread and slowed her own progress, but Mrs. Mortimer, it appeared, was determined and stopped completely, waiting for Sophia to draw near.

“You appear happy here, Miss Cavanaugh,” she began, touching her perfectly coiffed hair. “You must be most indebted to our family for finding you such an agreeable situation.”

Sophia feared a verbal trap was being sprung and simply nodded.

“Is it not then a poor show of appreciation to dally with my son’s affections?” she glowered.

Sophia was caught off guard by such a direct reproach. Usually the gentry were much more discreet in their conversations. She must be absolutely furious. “I . . .” she began.

“Do not deny it!” Mrs. Mortimer spat out, eyes narrowed to slits. “Let me explain how the world works for you. There are distinct social principles that divide the classes. Under no circumstances should these be crossed!” Sophia stepped back. “Charles is destined for great things, and as my only son, certain conduct is expected of him. My grandchildren must be the progeny of both a mother and father of the highest bloodline to honor our family’s good name and standing in society. The children of a governess will not do! Do I make myself clear?” She waited for no response before ploughing on.

“Charles is weak when it comes to matters of the heart, and you are a distraction. He does not know his own mind and is easily persuaded by a pretty face. It is his duty to marry a woman of fortune and title, and therefore his history must not be besmirched by a dalliance with a servant. If you care for him at all, you must relinquish him.” She stopped and planted herself directly in front of Sophia. “Do I have your promise to give him up?”

Righteous indignation had swelled during this scolding and now rose like a genie from a bottle within Sophia, knowing as she did the heritage of the woman berating her. She was torn between calling Mrs. Mortimer out as the worst of hypocrites, which would cause Charles more grief, or agreeing with her to smooth his path. Though she felt the flame of shame burning on her cheeks, her discomfort did not deter the woman or appeal to her sympathies. Rather, Charles’s mother bore down with all the authority she could muster to pressure her into compliance. The challenge merely emboldened Sophia, though she decided that she would keep her counsel on Mrs. Mortimer’s ancestry for Charles’s sake.

My Review

THE GOVERNESS OF BANBURY PARK is a story of one woman's change in circumstances when she finds her father has made no provision for her after his death. She must make her own way and ends up making friends in a neighboring town with the possibility of a happily-ever-after ending. The characters are likable, the romance sweet, and the story heartwarming.

I really liked these characters! Sophia is a bit angry at her circumstances, but also humble and willing to work to provide for herself. After prayer she is guided to find a place to rent among an older couple who become close friends in a new town that welcomes her. There she develops friendships and a life as she searches for a position as a governess. She also runs into the gentleman who lives at the main estate and becomes friends with him and his sister, regardless of their mother's strong disapproval. The story unfolds as Sophia faces different challenges navigating her new life and a drop in station. She also faces the decision of to marry or not to marry and if it's better to have security with a spouse you have no affection for or to wait for love at the risk of never finding it and being left unprotected. There are several examples of a mix of both in the story, some with drastic consequences.

I found the story to be a bit of a mix for me. I enjoyed it overall, but there were sections that I thought were better than others. The story starts with a strong inspirational element, making the story feel very Christian. However, then that backs off a bit and the story just has a few inspirational references here and there. It felt like a mix between the two like the author couldn't quite decide which way to go. Then there were some things that felt very unrealistic to the time period while other things worked. There was an aspect dealing with abuse and an asylum that felt a bit out of place and that was a very dramatic part of the story, but I really liked Sophia's developing relationship with her charge and her charge's mother. I also really enjoyed the camaraderie between Sophia, Charles and Belinda. The banter and joking and discreet looks were all so much fun! But then I didn't get the power Mrs. Mortimer had over her children and the purse strings while Mr. Mortimer seems to not have control of the finances and Charles has no backbone. Their mom controlling the finances would not be realistic to the time period, so that didn't really work for me. To be honest, parts of the story felt like it was trying too hard, particularly at the end when the story drags on and could have ended two chapters earlier.

In the end, was it what I wished for? An overall enjoyable read. Recommended to those who are looking for something entertaining with some harsh realities of the time period, delightful characters, and sweet romance.

Content: Some violence and abuse that may be triggers for some readers.
Source: Borrowed through KindleUnlimited, which did not require a positive review. All opinions are my own.

About the Author

This is the second regency romance by Julie and the third is well underway.

Julie was born and raised in London, England and still visits often to see family, wander around her old haunts and order cream teas with scones full of clotted cream and jam and a big cup of hot chocolate. She loves all things Jane Austen as well as mysteries, photography, chocolate, shoes, pickle ball and …chocolate.

Tour Schedule

Follow along with the tour over on SLB Tours.

Tour-Wide Giveaway

-(2) winner’s will receive a $10 Amazon Gift Card (open Int.)
-(1) winner will receive an ebook copy of The Secret of Haversham House (open Int.)
-(1) winner will receive their choice of a print copy of one of Julie’s books (US only)

Giveaway ends May 13 at 11:59pm MT.
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