The Governess of Greenmere
Young orphan Elise Cooper applies for a job as governess. Leaving the bustling city to work for a rural aristocrat should have been peaceful, and yet… Hardly has Elise settled in at the remote Barsetshire estate of Greenmere House before she finds evidence that her employers are at the center of an ancient mystery. She quickly realizes that her understanding of history and the world around her are about to be fundamentally challenged.
Armed only with her good common sense and strange abilities she didn’t know she had, Elise finds herself pulled into a shadowy otherworld, the scene of a great battle between good and evil. Can she prove her worth and rise above the challenges, and in the process save Britain from the evil powers that lurk in the darkness?
Review of The Governess of Greenmere
What if Arthurian legends and biblical angels secretly fought to protect Britain from evil? Paul Leone’s The Governess of Greenmere envisions such an alliance. Elise Cooper becomes governess to the young heir of Greenmere Manor, but all at the country estate is not what it seems. Strange paintings hint at other realities, and household members seem to revere peculiar saints. Before Elise can unravel these mysteries, she is whisked away to Faerie by none other than Merlin himself, who has chosen her for his heir as guardian of Britain. But can Elise’s newfound power and long-held faith stand against the dark forces arrayed against them? Obscure Arthurian and Celtic references blend with biblical imagery and high heroism in this brief yet old-souled story.
Best for: Adults and older teens as well as any fans of Arthurian fiction, older-style fantasy stories, and plucky heroines.
Discern: Discussions of limbo and its inhabitants in light of Catholic faith, heroic characters use magic against villains, vague lines between good wizards and evil witches, semi-fallen angels and elves fight for God in Faerie.
Review: I love it and I cringe at it, for it is exactly the sort of thing that I wanted to write as a mythology-obsessed, tryhard teenage dweeb, before I was crippled by self-awareness. It is a beautifully polished lump of self-indulgent escapism, unsoured by irony, that wants so desperately to be smart. It it were any other kind of wish-fulfillment fluff, I would only grant it a forgettable 3 stars, but because it gives me existential dread, I give it four out of five.
It’s the same sort of thing as Susan Cooper’s The Dark is Rising series, but with mystic powers carefully sanitized to suit tradcath sensibilities.