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The Governess: a classic Victorian gothic romance

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Traveling beyond England hadn’t come into Estelle Winstone’s mind when she received a response to her advertisement for a position as governess. That she would have to travel all the way to Hungary sent nerves twisting inside her gut, as would meeting the mysterious count who would now be her employer. Unable to speak the language or with much to guide her, she found her n Traveling beyond England hadn’t come into Estelle Winstone’s mind when she received a response to her advertisement for a position as governess. That she would have to travel all the way to Hungary sent nerves twisting inside her gut, as would meeting the mysterious count who would now be her employer. Unable to speak the language or with much to guide her, she found her new home nestled in remote mountains where hungry wolves prowled outside a dark and drafty castle scared by a long history and recent tragedies.


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Traveling beyond England hadn’t come into Estelle Winstone’s mind when she received a response to her advertisement for a position as governess. That she would have to travel all the way to Hungary sent nerves twisting inside her gut, as would meeting the mysterious count who would now be her employer. Unable to speak the language or with much to guide her, she found her n Traveling beyond England hadn’t come into Estelle Winstone’s mind when she received a response to her advertisement for a position as governess. That she would have to travel all the way to Hungary sent nerves twisting inside her gut, as would meeting the mysterious count who would now be her employer. Unable to speak the language or with much to guide her, she found her new home nestled in remote mountains where hungry wolves prowled outside a dark and drafty castle scared by a long history and recent tragedies.

30 review for The Governess: a classic Victorian gothic romance

  1. 4 out of 5

    Preeti ♥︎ Her Bookshelves

    Solid 4* I love both the mcs but the h is special. It might be a (very) slowburn in the beginning but the charm and spirit of Camille Oster's sublime writing shines through. I love immersing in the settings she creates - of lonely women trying to eke out an life in a world /social settings brimming with loneliness and injustices. Her hs are just so real and relatable - pragmatic and simplistically brave, never self-pitying or bowing down to adverse social pressures.(view spoiler)[ Yes, it's a gothi Solid 4* I love both the mcs but the h is special. It might be a (very) slowburn in the beginning but the charm and spirit of Camille Oster's sublime writing shines through. I love immersing in the settings she creates - of lonely women trying to eke out an life in a world /social settings brimming with loneliness and injustices. Her hs are just so real and relatable - pragmatic and simplistically brave, never self-pitying or bowing down to adverse social pressures.(view spoiler)[ Yes, it's a gothic story - but also so much more - about a governess who goes to the lonely, cold wilds of Hungary to care for the 10 yo son of an aloof Hungarian nobleman. The remote castle is sparse as are the servants. The local villagers are hostile. The H's many a times absent as he travels to Budapest? for govt. work. A linguistics/anthropology professor living in the village is her only company. The H's wife's death is a mystery. But there are whispers and insinuations. And then young girls start disappearing from the village. As I said this is a slowburn and there's no instant flaring up of attraction or playing around. The cold and woman-wary H mellows slowly to her genuineness but any idea of romance or marriage comes pretty late in the story. The Christmas gift exchange had me in tears for some reason. It's not a long scene nor is it an overwrought one, but there's so much melancholia and loneliness implied as is the human capacity for love and caring. I love how the h saves the day at the end. I also loved how the h's train journey is described at the start. The train takes her to Venice from where she changes her train for her final destination. Venice seems like an important city for the Hungarians of the times as the H has properties and connections there. The h/H marry there at the end. I think Camile Oster is a very, very underrated writer. Her grasp of human emotions is exceptional in its simplicity. (hide spoiler)]

  2. 5 out of 5

    Debbie DiFiore

    Very Gothic I loved it. The hero annoyed me a time or two but all in all this was a wonderful way to spend an hour. Estelle was a great heroine. She wouldn't let the hero get away with his boorish behavior. She fought back quite well actually. He taunted her about wanting him way before she even did. There is only one intimate scene and it was not graphic and very well done. Quite steamy. The boy Tommy stole the show though. He was great. Need to write a book about him one day. The heroine travel Very Gothic I loved it. The hero annoyed me a time or two but all in all this was a wonderful way to spend an hour. Estelle was a great heroine. She wouldn't let the hero get away with his boorish behavior. She fought back quite well actually. He taunted her about wanting him way before she even did. There is only one intimate scene and it was not graphic and very well done. Quite steamy. The boy Tommy stole the show though. He was great. Need to write a book about him one day. The heroine travels to Hungary to take care of a young boy of 8. She gets to the castle and meets the dark hero and a tragic tale of his first wife's untimely death. And the hero is very cold and aloof. Of course the village is not welcoming and someone is warning her about the hero and his dark desires. Girls start missing from the village and it happens every time the hero has to go out for 'business'! Cue the organ music. Then she starts to think maybe he is doing it. But then he kisses her and she is all aflutter. This tale even comes with villagers attacking the castle looking for the monster! Just so wonderful! I loved it. Highly recommend.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Wende

    Creepy It is worth a borrowing from kindle unlimited. I enjoyed it mostly but there were slow boring places that seemed to go on forever. The local was so creepy and I enjoyed that also the two were likable together. I wish there was more of a spark there but it was fun read for the most part

  4. 4 out of 5

    Kathy Love

    I really enjoyed this. It was a perfect gothic romance for a dreary winter day. It had all the elements I was looking for in a good gothic. The creepy castle, a foreboding landscape, a curious and strong heroine, a brooding hero, a plucky kid, and murder. The murderer was easy to figure out, but that didn’t detract from the story. I also really liked that it had a little steaminess. I definitely recommend this book and will be checking out more of Ms. Oster’s other novels.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Christina Thorpe

    A wonderful book!!! This is a well written. It kept me reading even as I was falling asleep. I would recomend this story to anyone who likes to read.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Brandy

    The Governess (Kindle Unlimited) By: Canille Oster 3.5 Stars A governess from England is dispatched to care for the son of a Count in a sprawling castle in Hungary. The premise was typical gothic romance, except it was missing the ghosts!! 😢😢 HOWEVER, it did have a murder mystery and 3 missing teenage girls, so all was not lost! I enjoyed this one, but did find it a bit predictable. I had the mystery of the missing girls figured out too soon, with just minor details that I wasn’t sure of. I wish th The Governess (Kindle Unlimited) By: Canille Oster 3.5 Stars A governess from England is dispatched to care for the son of a Count in a sprawling castle in Hungary. The premise was typical gothic romance, except it was missing the ghosts!! 😢😢 HOWEVER, it did have a murder mystery and 3 missing teenage girls, so all was not lost! I enjoyed this one, but did find it a bit predictable. I had the mystery of the missing girls figured out too soon, with just minor details that I wasn’t sure of. I wish that part had been a little more surprising. Overall, a quick and enjoyable read for a rainy afternoon.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Carrie Wilson

    A Good Read I enjoyed the book very much. I would have liked it if the count would have called her by her actual name more and the same with her toward the count. I couldn't even remember the counts actual first name until the epilogue, but still a great story A Good Read I enjoyed the book very much. I would have liked it if the count would have called her by her actual name more and the same with her toward the count. I couldn't even remember the counts actual first name until the epilogue, but still a great story

  8. 5 out of 5

    Brianna Clark

    I really enjoyed this novel. It begins in London in 1871, where 27 year old Estelle is packing to go to her new governess job, located in Hungary. She has no idea what she's heading into. She doesn't even know if her new employer or his child speak English. Everything was arranged through a solicitor. The reason she accepted was because she needed a job, and the salary offered was very generous, apparently to compensate for the position being located so far away and in a foreign country. It's on I really enjoyed this novel. It begins in London in 1871, where 27 year old Estelle is packing to go to her new governess job, located in Hungary. She has no idea what she's heading into. She doesn't even know if her new employer or his child speak English. Everything was arranged through a solicitor. The reason she accepted was because she needed a job, and the salary offered was very generous, apparently to compensate for the position being located so far away and in a foreign country. It's only a short term job, because the boy will be going away to boarding school soon. It turns out that her employer is a Count, and he lives in a castle. And she is relieved to find out that the Count and his son, Thomas, do speak English. She and Thomas get along immediately. He is a kind, polite boy. The Count, however, is alternately cold and withdrawn, even insulting, and then apologetic and friendly. There is some mystery surrounding his wife's death---was it a suicide, or was she murdered? He is gone quite a bit on government business, leaving Estelle and Thomas alone in the castle with a small group of servants. The villagers are not friendly. There are apparently hard feelings going back generations between the "peasants" and the Count's family. Then, local girls start disappearing. At first, Estelle tries to convince herself that they ran away, maybe eloped. But then she has to face the fact that the villagers are so insular in their remote, isolated village, that it would be very unlikely for a young person to leave by choice. Something heinous is happening, and Estelle is horrified when she discovers that the Count is under suspicion. The author does a good job of creating a foreign setting, through Estelle's reactions to Hungary.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Sandy

    This is my second book by this author and unfortunately, I did not enjoy it as much as the first one (The Haunting at Hawke's Moor) and I'd give this about 2 1/2 stars. For about 30% of the book it just drags. Estelle leaves England for a lonely castle and meets her charge and gets her bearings but it just feels like nothing is happening. About halfway through the book there still isn't a hint of romance and then about 60% in it comes kind of from nowhere. The Count basically ignores her initial This is my second book by this author and unfortunately, I did not enjoy it as much as the first one (The Haunting at Hawke's Moor) and I'd give this about 2 1/2 stars. For about 30% of the book it just drags. Estelle leaves England for a lonely castle and meets her charge and gets her bearings but it just feels like nothing is happening. About halfway through the book there still isn't a hint of romance and then about 60% in it comes kind of from nowhere. The Count basically ignores her initially and then is downright rude, accusing her of having designs on him and then he does a complete 180 and awkwardly shows an interest. It's jarring and doesn't make sense and then after a few awkward kissing scenes we jump right into a quick sex scene. The creepy scene setting was initially good but then it just became repetitive - it's a desolate place, she doesn't know anyone, bad things are happening, the forest is creepy. Repeat. I found myself skimming several parts of the book hoping it would pick up. It does pick up in the end but then it's kind of rushed. I had my suspicions on who the bad guy was and was right but that part also just seemed kind of thrown together. And the romance part that was there for the second half was mostly awkward. She's attracted to him, he's attracted to her but there didn't feel like much chemistry between them and I actually really liked the count, even though he was grumpy. It was often uncomfortable pauses and stilted conversations, even when they were supposedly getting along. For a longer book, a lot of things just seemed glossed over (something you could forgive in a novella). Some examples: - The professor - is he young? old? Handsome? Tall? Anything? All we get is he has high cheekbones and blue eyes and wore a finely tailored suit. Seriously, that's all we get. - The descriptions of Estelle and the Count are not much better. - Weirdest of all is we NEVER know the count's first name until the epilogue!! It actually confused me to suddenly see the name Konrad; I thought it was someone else. It's a shame because I do like the writing and the story ideas but I just had too many issues with this book.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Tim

    Very Close To Very Good (I’m not the target audience — please consider my review with that admission) The good: -the ‘spooky’ nature of the castle, it’s remote surroundings, the risk Estelle is taking, this really comes across well in the author’s writing. -Estelle’s decent, sweet but curious nature and how her mind is easily swayed to over thinking/concern, fright, seeking experience. -Thomas portrayal as a rambunctious but otherwise good natured boy. -Description of the Count’s cold and stoic wa Very Close To Very Good (I’m not the target audience — please consider my review with that admission) The good: -the ‘spooky’ nature of the castle, it’s remote surroundings, the risk Estelle is taking, this really comes across well in the author’s writing. -Estelle’s decent, sweet but curious nature and how her mind is easily swayed to over thinking/concern, fright, seeking experience. -Thomas portrayal as a rambunctious but otherwise good natured boy. -Description of the Count’s cold and stoic ways and looks. The bad: -insufficient descriptions of Estelle. When I’m reading a story I personally like to know what the main character looks like, how they’re dressed, what others think of what they see. In this novel I sensed Estelle was almost without physical description. -Banter between Estelle and the Count mostly lacked humor and, IMHO, connection. I like a good period piece, remote castle, elements of things to be frightened of, a main character who has to persevere against tough odds. This novel delivers that well. For me, however, it needed just a bit more pep/action with the two main characters’ banter being a bit more well received by the other. Overall I’d give it a recommend.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Janet Welling

    Enjoyable Gothic Romance. This was an enjoyable read by Camille Oster. Lots of great Gothic elements including a creepy and secluded castle in Hungary, a dark, brooding Count, an intrepid heroine, hostile villagers and missing girls. I would have liked a bigger build up of suspense before the climax. The majority of the book covers very mundane activities. The romance between Konrad and Estelle really does not have a lot of time to develop and as a result it feels rushed and unauthentic. Good Go Enjoyable Gothic Romance. This was an enjoyable read by Camille Oster. Lots of great Gothic elements including a creepy and secluded castle in Hungary, a dark, brooding Count, an intrepid heroine, hostile villagers and missing girls. I would have liked a bigger build up of suspense before the climax. The majority of the book covers very mundane activities. The romance between Konrad and Estelle really does not have a lot of time to develop and as a result it feels rushed and unauthentic. Good Gothic stories require some skill and commitment by the author in developing an overall sense of foreboding and suspense. Unfortunately, this book lacks that wonderful atmospheric quality.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer Saint-preux

    Something Missing This is my second time reading a gothic novel and this novel was also written from the perspective of the heroine only which makes it hard to read bc I wanted to learn more about him. We don't ever find out how old he is and we find out his first name in the epilogue. The book was pleasant and I found the heroines behavior reasonable (she didn't wander into the darkness on a good and stormy night for example) which is refreshing. I thought the seduction scene was fine....their r Something Missing This is my second time reading a gothic novel and this novel was also written from the perspective of the heroine only which makes it hard to read bc I wanted to learn more about him. We don't ever find out how old he is and we find out his first name in the epilogue. The book was pleasant and I found the heroines behavior reasonable (she didn't wander into the darkness on a good and stormy night for example) which is refreshing. I thought the seduction scene was fine....their romance sort of cropped out of nowhere but that's usually the case with romance novels...I think having the Counts perspective might have helped to make the connection between them more palatable. It was pretty clear to me who the villain was early on. Thomas was adorable.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Amanda Esposito

    This was a perfectly enjoyable book, but I found that I really didn't appreciate the authors writing style. It seemed childishly ignorant at times, and the main character was very naive and impressionable. Instead of the romantic relationship building up over time, it felt rushed and awkward. Conversations were a little stilted, and left me feeling like there was supposed to be more. I gave it three stars, as I did enjoy the overall story-line and the scenes it painted in my mind: a desolate, re This was a perfectly enjoyable book, but I found that I really didn't appreciate the authors writing style. It seemed childishly ignorant at times, and the main character was very naive and impressionable. Instead of the romantic relationship building up over time, it felt rushed and awkward. Conversations were a little stilted, and left me feeling like there was supposed to be more. I gave it three stars, as I did enjoy the overall story-line and the scenes it painted in my mind: a desolate, remote Hungarian fortress surrounded by a dark and brooding forest.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Tamotha clark

    Connect to you This story is about a governess and the father with a son that is smart, intelligent and adorable kind to her, his governess. His father eye look at her whereabouts around the castle as she goes with his son, but slow to have follow-up or check up on meeting with her, very distance with her . He the father thinks she had design on him as a husband but find she has a backbone. Then he wants her in his life more ,and start to include her in his time and life... happy ending is deligh Connect to you This story is about a governess and the father with a son that is smart, intelligent and adorable kind to her, his governess. His father eye look at her whereabouts around the castle as she goes with his son, but slow to have follow-up or check up on meeting with her, very distance with her . He the father thinks she had design on him as a husband but find she has a backbone. Then he wants her in his life more ,and start to include her in his time and life... happy ending is delightful.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Tisha

    I gave this book a 5 star rating not so much because it changed my life, but because it was such a perfect representation of the genre and was exactly what I wanted when I typed in the search criteria. A young, innocent governess with a core of strength; a dark and brooding, somewhat rude master of the house; a dark and creepy mansion and a mystery of evil, all wrapped up neatly, complete with plot twist and satisfying ending. What's not to love? Highly recommend for fans of the genre. I gave this book a 5 star rating not so much because it changed my life, but because it was such a perfect representation of the genre and was exactly what I wanted when I typed in the search criteria. A young, innocent governess with a core of strength; a dark and brooding, somewhat rude master of the house; a dark and creepy mansion and a mystery of evil, all wrapped up neatly, complete with plot twist and satisfying ending. What's not to love? Highly recommend for fans of the genre.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Heather

    Good gothic Estele father was vicar in England upon his death she becomes a governess since she is 27 she on the shelf. She takes a post Romania for a counts . Upon her arrival the people are ride and the count is cold Then when ppl start disapearing and rumors of the countless death years before her arrival she wonder where she came to. Yet something about the count draws her eye. Good book nice gothic mystery with a dash of romance

  17. 4 out of 5

    Diane

    Victoria Holt revisited A wonderful story, written well with the characters so well developed you feel as if you "know" what they are going to do or say next. A perfect gothic read complete with a Count, a castle with hidden passages, and in the end? Dreams really can come true. This was a delight to read, the second novel I have read from Camille Later and certainly not the last, either! Victoria Holt revisited A wonderful story, written well with the characters so well developed you feel as if you "know" what they are going to do or say next. A perfect gothic read complete with a Count, a castle with hidden passages, and in the end? Dreams really can come true. This was a delight to read, the second novel I have read from Camille Later and certainly not the last, either!

  18. 4 out of 5

    Kristi

    Definitely a slow starter for me It took me a very long time to really get into this book. For some reason I just found it extremely slow and kind of boring. However, the last third of the novel really held my attention and I liked the way it ended. I like gothic books so I am ok with slow moving stories, but this one just seemed extra extra slow to me. I don’t regret reading it though, and I’m glad that I kept going.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Angela

    The Governess This was a really good sort of classic gothic romance like I used to read years ago by Victoria Holt and the like. I also liked the seduction scene, which now that I’m older I appreciate and am glad they are included. Just adds that finishing touch to the completion of their love.

  20. 5 out of 5

    BobaFett114

    Great Gothic! This book is set in Hungary, during the winter. Estelle goes to the castle to be a governess for a young boy. The village people are a bit rude and she doesn't speak the language. Some young woman have disappeared without a trace and it looks like it could be Estelle's employer the Count. This is a must read. Great Gothic! This book is set in Hungary, during the winter. Estelle goes to the castle to be a governess for a young boy. The village people are a bit rude and she doesn't speak the language. Some young woman have disappeared without a trace and it looks like it could be Estelle's employer the Count. This is a must read.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Caitlin Pollock

    Loved this book and I now seek this author out. The romantic tone of the book practically begs the reader to do so by a hearth with a cup of tea in a snow storm. I felt like I was the protagonist and I fell in and out of love with The Count right along with Estelle many times throughout the book.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Sarah Miller

    Somewhere it the vicinity of "it was good" and "I enjoyed it". Would have been better if the hero had better development. He was just flat for me, very one dimensional. Estella was good, maybe not as good as a vicar's daughter should have been so that was hard to believe. Somewhere it the vicinity of "it was good" and "I enjoyed it". Would have been better if the hero had better development. He was just flat for me, very one dimensional. Estella was good, maybe not as good as a vicar's daughter should have been so that was hard to believe.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Squeaky

    Loved the Hungarian aspect of this... true gothic novel

  24. 5 out of 5

    Deborah Necessary

    Mildly entertaining, just so-so.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Diane Pope

    The rose This was a magical story. The count, the young boy, and the English governess came together to save each other.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Caroline

    Gothic Feeling Lovely gothic romance with a Hungarian count, a castle and villagers. It's great fun without beinf silly or ridiculous. Bravo! Gothic Feeling Lovely gothic romance with a Hungarian count, a castle and villagers. It's great fun without beinf silly or ridiculous. Bravo!

  27. 4 out of 5

    Karen Darling

    This book bored my to tears. I made it to chapter 10, I think I suffered enough. Please don't let me ever pick up another book by Camille Oster. This book bored my to tears. I made it to chapter 10, I think I suffered enough. Please don't let me ever pick up another book by Camille Oster.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Kathy Holm

    The Governess A Very interesting story...very similar to the classic stories of old...stay,with this story Because some great surprises will befall you.

  29. 4 out of 5

    KrysdaleKate

    The heroine is Amazing! I love that the epilogue is the hero's POV The heroine is Amazing! I love that the epilogue is the hero's POV

  30. 5 out of 5

    Carole J Haley

    Someone needs a dictionary... Still, a good read. This author writes with an interesting and enjoyable storylines and likable characters. I will definitely read more by this author but she still needs a dictionary...............

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