Review: The Governess of Banbury Park was a fun read. The author, Julie Matern, shows her expertise in writing by developing well-defined characters with interesting attributes and personalities. She builds drama and interest from the very beginning of the story and continues to draw the reader in with twists and turns. The story also has similar elements to historical Gothic and romance novels. It's a well-developed romance and I look forward to reading more books by Matern. I would highly recommend reading this book as well as Matern's first book, The Secret of Haversham House.
Life Is What It's Called - What inspired you to write this story?
Julie - When I wrote The Secret of Haversham House there were several couples who had arranged marriages in it. I find the whole idea intriguing. I set out to write a story that examined several models of arranged marriage, but due to editor cuts and suggestions, it became a book about one family’s situation and the threat of arranged marriage on other characters.
Unless the main character was, herself, part of an arranged marriage (which is the case in my next book) I had to create a character who had the ability to be in the household as a witness - hence Sophia becomes a governess.
Life Is What It's Called - What do you hope readers gain from this story?
Julie - First and foremost, I hope that readers can escape from life for a while when they read my books, and get swallowed up in the romance and the story. I want them to root for Sophia and Charles - to like them enough that they care about what happens to them.
There are some characters in this book that were so fun to write and I hope they are as fun to read about, such as adult twins who finish each other’s sentences and a gangly vicar on the hunt for a wife.
Life Is What It's Called - How has this experience different from your first novel?
Julie - As a writer I feel like I learned so much about the writing process during the first book that I was able to put into practice this time around. I feel as though I am constantly perfecting my craft as I learn from editors, other writers and readers. As for the story, the main characters are so different from those in Haversham House. Francesca was a sheltered and beloved child whose parents were there to help her every step of the way as her life turned upside down. Sophia is the opposite. She finds herself an orphan who needs to move away from all she has known and go to a place where she knows no one.