In 1867 Nicola Douglas attends a London lecture that inspires her to change her life. With no family, but a good education, she boards a ship to Australia with high hopes of a fresh start in a new country as a governess. But Sydney is full of young women with similar hopes and equally poor prospects. When Nicola is at her lowest, she meets Nathaniel West. Try as she might, her attraction to Nathaniel West grows. She also meets a visiting American, Hilton Warner. As both men shower her with attention, Nicola reaches a crisis. She came to Australia expecting to be a governess, but finding love, and being married, shows how empty her life has been since her parents’ death. Her achievements at the Governess Home are vital to her. Can she have both? To reject both men would relegate her to spinsterhood, but if she makes that choice, would her career ever be enough to sustain her?
Heat Level: 1
Rating: 5 stars/Top Pick
Review by Maggi
When I read Anne Brear’s novels, I never know where they’ll take me. They are never predictable. I wasn’t even sure there would be a happy ending in this one, but there is and it’s very satisfying. This is a wonderfully descriptive story about late-Victorian life in Sydney, Australia, where governesses have made the long journey from England in search of work, only to be disappointed and left destitute. Heroine, Nicola Douglas is a resourceful, strong woman, something of a feminist, who has no wish to marry. She finds herself in the same boat, unable to find a position, but meets a kind benefactor and soon has a thriving business helping the less fortunate in her profession. Frances West, who runs a soup kitchen for the poor, befriends her. Frances is another lost soul, as is her brother, the scrumptious but sarcastic, Nathaniel. They have come to Australia to escape bitter family experiences. Two men vie for Nicola’s hand, but she does not intend to give up her important work. People have come to depend on her. Anne Brear doesn’t pull any punches in this story; it is her usual heart tugging, raw at times, fare. A very good read.
Kindle price $4.99 at the time of this review.
I’m an Australian author. My latest release also features a feminist governess, but is a murder mystery set in England: The Folly at Falconbridge Hall.
Maggi Andersen http://www.maggiandersenauthor.com