Birdwatching: Governesses!

Reading Agnes Grey has got me thinking about governesses, especially about the governesses I’ve read about in other books. I’m pretty sure they all had easier charges than poor Agnes does (I’ve gotten to chapter five, and now I never want to be an au pair). I’m also pretty sure I’ve read only about good governesses– do you know of any books with mean ones?

Links are to Amazon. Thanks to Once Upon a Bookshelf for the list-y inspiration!

12 thoughts on “Birdwatching: Governesses!”

    1. I think I’d like being able to get away from the kids for at least a few hours a day. I can’t imagine having to live with them, especially when you don’t have any real authority and everyone in the house looks down on you (as in Agnes Grey). It seems horrible!

    1. I haven’t read any of the sequels to Little Women, mostly because I was so satisfied with LW that I never felt the need to continue onward. Too bad you didn’t like that one. 🙁

  1. Novels I can think of that have governesses who are ambiguous, disturbing, or even worse than mean:

    Braddon’s “Lady Audley’s Secret”
    James’s “The Turn Of The Screw”
    Christie’s “And Then There Were None”

    Have you Anne Brontë’s “The Tenant Of Wildfell Hall”? It is much richer and more complex than “Agnes Grey”, with a really interesting, strongly written heroine.

    1. I think having a bad governess as a protagonist would be something like having a serial killer narrate their own story (like in the Dexter books). It could be done, but I don’t know how it’d be done successfully– because who wants to read about children being abused? (Killing bad guys is TOTALLY OKAY though amirite? [I don’t actually like the Dexter books; I think they’re gross.])

      But I WOULD read a book where the kids were the protagonist, and they overpowered the bad nanny or something and TRIUMPHED OVER ADVERSITY. 😀

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