The Silent Governess - Julie Klassen I noted while I was reading that this book was like vanilla pudding with vanilla sprinkles on a very vanilla day.

Upon finishing, I still hold to that statement.

The plot was bland, the conflict was bland, the romance was bland (not because of the lack of, um, physical carnality but because there was not even a fizzle—much less a spark— between the two characters), and the characters were bland. There was a great deal of potential in the plot, such as: a governess who stumbles upon a secret is forced to remain as a mute in the secret-holder's household. This is an even better setup for intrigue and sizzle than the setup in Jane Eyre! But, believe you me, this book ain't no Jane Eyre.

I'm surprised I got through this book, especially considering one of the most glaring flaws was characterization. Not only is Olivia, our heroine, supremely gifted with math (to the point where she, after an hour's perusal, finds that one niggling flaw in account books that various authorities couldn't find after poring over the same books for hours upon hours), but she's also pretty, nice, and extremely likable. She's not an aristocrat, but that doesn't matter because with her innate qualities, she has the capability to attract all manners of men to her effusively kind-spirited self, from jaded earls to sour old woodsmen.

*******

Excuse me while I take this time to issue a belated MARY SUE ALERT.

This is not a drill. Please proceed to the nearest exit in an orderly fashion.

Don’t mind the Mary Sue heroically and self-sacrificially herding everyone out of the building as she will miraculously emerge alive anyway, even after the building collapses on her.

Mary Sues always come back.

*******

I was going to give this book one star, but looking back, the writing itself wasn't bad. And I do think this style of storytelling would appeal to some people. Also, I don’t really regret reading the book, though I feel no particular joy in having read it. I like my books with more realism, conflict, and shades of gray. So, to make up for my (potential) bias, I decided to bump up my rating to two stars.