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Reviewed by Saifunnissa Hassam for Readers' Favorite
Kay Bell's novel The American Governess is set in Queensland, Australia. Becky Golding, owner of the Glen Eira cattle station, is an American who has lived in Australia since 1967. She is now 72. Chase Miller, a young American backpacker, is hired as a handyman at Glen Eira. He is intrigued by Becky's life story. Becky and her longtime housekeeper Nellie recall those long-ago days. In 1967 Becky, a young college student, was on vacation in Australia. On a whim, she applies for a job and is hired as a governess by the MacGregor family. Becky experiences firsthand the challenges of living in the outback. She and Jim MacGregor fall in love and plan to make Glen Eira station their home. Jim teaches Becky everything about running a cattle station, knowing how unexpectedly life can change in the outback.
I thoroughly enjoyed Kay Bell's novel The American Governess as it turned into a vivid and moving story of a feisty and determined young woman stepping outside her comfort zone into a vastly different experience. I liked the way Bell lets Becky's character mature with the outback as the challenge. Bell's vivid and powerful descriptions of the outback and of life at the cattle station pulled me into the story. Becky is tested to the limits of her endurance, her courage and resilience to survive. Her housekeeper Nellie is an important part of Becky’s life, helping her to understand both the outback and its people. I liked the way the story ends because it connects the outback and Becky's life. A well-crafted novel of a remarkable woman's life journey.