Novelette review: Brizecombe Hall by Catherine E Chapman (Amazon Kindle, 2012)
‘A young woman must value, above all else, her virtue.’
Ann Rhys, the daughter of a minister, is employed by Mr Brindley, the widowed Master of Brizecombe Hall, to be governess to his two children.
Her initial feelings of apprehension regarding her employer are rapidly surpassed by other emotions that are new to Ann.
Under Ann’s influence Mr Brindley takes a greater interest in his children’s upbringing but does his action imply that he sees her as more than a mere governess or does his heart truly belong to Cassandra, the wealthy young woman rumoured to be the future mistress of Brizecombe Hall?
This novelette (it’s only about 16 pages long, so it feels too short to call a novella but perhaps too long to call a short story) is about … well, what it says in the description. There isn’t really much else to add.
Inspired by Jane Eyre, Brizecombe Hall is also about a young woman governess, but unlike Charlotte Brontë’s hefty novel, this story is very much condensed, and there is no mad wife in the attic, so while it might have been inspired by Jane Eyre, it isn’t Jane Eyre.
Ann goes to Brizecombe, takes care of the children and somehow falls in love with the master of the house. I say “somehow” because the story is so brief that there is very little time to get invested in the characters, and that in turn means there is little time for their romance to develop. They fall in love, for a rather undisclosed reason, and that’s that.
The thing about Brizecombe Hall is that I really enjoyed it. I liked how it was written, the story itself, but the problem with it is that it needs developing and filling out. It’s way too short. I wanted it to be a story to really sink my teeth into and it turned out to just be a morsel. If you want to read a synopsis of a potentially great novel, this story would really work, but as it is so short, it lacks in both depth and flavour, which is a real shame, because it could have been excellent. It’s still pretty good, but I wanted it to be more and last longer.
3.5 out of 5 incredibly short chapters.
Big thanks to the author for providing me with a review copy! 🙂