Where do you get your story ideas?
My latest story idea came from my friend Julie. She recently returned a manuscript of mine that she’d had at her house and with it was a chapter I had written about a governess and a marquess. I had forgotten all about this story! But once jogged, I remembered it very well.
It is a governess story and I can hardly wait to start writing it.
Ever since reading Jane Eyre, I’ve loved the fantasy of the governess winding up with the lord. It was one of my favorite themes in traditional regencies and one of my favorite variations on the Cinderella story.
In Emma, Jane Austen gives us a good idea of a governess’s fate, both in a positive way–her own beloved governess, Miss Taylor, who was treated as a beloved family member and who married well–and a negative way–Jane Fairfax, who looks upon the prospect of becoming a governess with as a fate akin to death. Charlotte Bronte’s later depiction of a governess is similarly bleak, and includes the gothic elements that Victoria Holt (another of my favorites) popularized in later years in The Mistress of Mellyn, or another classic, Nine Coaches Waiting by Mary Stewart.
Here’s a long list of traditional regencies with governess heroines.
I think governesses are perfect for Cinderella plots, because their status and situation set them apart from the society in which they live. Often they are depicted as well-born young ladies fallen on hard times who must toil for long hours for little pay. They neither fit in with the servant class nor the class of their employers. (But they might befriend some darling mice and pretty little birds–and have a fairy godmother)
Do you like governess stories, or are you (gasp) sick of them? If you like them, do you have a favorite?
Our guest for next Sunday has written a governess story. Christine Merrill will join us to talk about her latest release, Dangerous Lord, Innocent Governess.
Hurry up and comment on yesterday’s interview with Lavinia Klein if you want a chance to win a download of Kathryn the Kitten or a Real Duchesses of London T-shirt. I’m picking the winners at midnight.
Jane Austen Tagged Emma, governess, Jane Austen, Jane Eyre, Victoria Holt 9 Replies