It is the first of June 1879 and twenty-year old former governess Michelle Blissett has just wed her master James Devine. Tragically James dies on their wedding night. Jesse West, recently discharged from the workhouse, is proud that he killed his father and is looking forward to killing Michelle and her step-children.
Michelle Devine relocates her household to London. Michelle’s brother-in-law Luke then runs up gambling debts which Michelle settles by travelling to Edinburgh to pay the enigmatic Brian Finlay. Michelle narrowly escapes death when the bridge over the Firth of Tay collapses while a train is crossing, and she returns to London for a new start to her life. She forms a friendship with handsome young Paul Lawrence before a ragged stranger threatens her. Michelle and her step-children move to Paul Lawrence’s manor in the Cotswolds before Jesse West tracks them down. Paul Lawrence injures Jesse badly but Jesse slips away to recover.
The sins we do come back to haunt us.
I am part-time in the workforce and a part-time author, and writing technical documentation and advertising material formed a large part of my career for many decades. Writing a novel didn’t cross my mind until relatively recently, where the combination of too many years writing dry, technical documents and a visit to the local library where I couldn’t find a book that interested me led me consider a new pastime. Write a book. That book may never be published, but I felt my follow-up cross-cultural crime with romance hybrid set in Russia had more potential. So much so that I wrote a sequel that took those characters on a journey to a very dark place.
The Red Sun Will Come and Souls in Darkness were published by Club Lighthouse in mid-2012. My next novel, The Governess and The Stalker will be published by Wings ePress in July 2014. A sequel Maidens in the Night is due to be published later this year, and at the moment I am working on a histo rical fiction manuscript set in Italy during the 1930s.
Author Website: http://markmorey.blogspot.com.au/
Set in Victorian London, The Governess and the Stalker is supposed to be a fast-paced thriller but it sadly falls flat because the author lay all his cards on the table even before the game began.
The novel begins with the funeral of James Devine a newly married man whose nuptial night turns disastrous even as he dies during the marriage act. His young wife Michelle Devine was a former governess to his two children. Inheriting many large properties and ample wealth, Michelle mourns her husband and is resolved to bring both his children with love and care that they deserve.
James’s sister supports her and is civil to her while his brother Luke is disgruntled because his brother did not leave any money or property for him. But Michelle good-naturedly agrees to pay his gaming debts. So far so good.
From this point on, the author goes on to add many irrelevant characters, scenes and chapters for some unknown reason. Michelle agrees to pay the debts but she also insists that she would pay them on her own. So she goes all the way to an unsavory neighbourhood to meet many a low life and almost gets raped before she finds the man to whom Luke owes money. Why would a mistress of a manor take the trouble to do all this? No women of her stature or position would risk such a venture. They would let their managers or lawyers to handle the affair. I felt as if Michelle was made to take this trip just so that the author could introduce the character Brian Finlay.
The stalker of the novel Jesse West gets introduced very early in the novel. Bearing a violent grudge against James Divine, Jesse West wants to kill his children and his second wife and become the lord of the manor. He is waiting in the prison biding his time to come out and stalk his prey.
In the meanwhile, Michelle almost gets killed in a train accident from which she is saved by her own instincts but for the life of me, I couldn’t understand why the author had to write this chapter because it doesn’t lead anywhere.
Soon Jesse West is out of prison and he is stalking Michelle who moves to London. There she meets Paul Lawrence an Italian gent for whom she yearns. Poor Paul saves her from Jesse and helps her every little way only to be replaced by Brian Finlay as the hero in the end. This somehow beats logic.
What happens in the end? Does she survive Jesse West’s bloody revenge plans? Why West want to kill Michelle and her children. You will need to read the novel to know the rest.
Plus Points – Descriptions of Victorian London
Minus Points – Irrelevant characters, scenes and nil character development. Michelle’s sudden realization that she does not love Paul and going back to Brian Finlay (who came in precisely two pages of the novel) seems very melodramatic and amateurish. And why would the author want to bring in ghosts so suddenly into this plot. They come and go as they please and no one seems to be freaked out by them. Were they simply added to bring in some gothic horror, I wonder? The cover page is really bad btw.
Verdict – Can give it a miss