I read a wonderful post on why Romance genre readers love governess stories.
The funny thing is none of the reasons apply to me and I’m a graduate of the English Nanny & Governess School.
All the reasons given are wonderful and the post is very good, definitely worth reading. The mark of a great story, I think, is that different people can enjoy it for different reasons.
So, why do I like governess stories? Or nanny or any other childcare provider really.
Actually, I hate most of them. (The ones mentioned in the post are wonderful.) There are several reasons why. The most irritating one is when the governess is portrayed as unprofessional, only doing it to get what else she wants and she doesn’t actually even like children. Another one is when the writer portrays her as hardly interacting with the children at all. I mean, why have her be a childcare professional if she doesn’t have anything to do with children? While we’re on the subject, why have children in the story if they’re only there to look cute once in a while?
(Charlotte de La Motte Houdancourt, a duchess, looked after the future King Louis XV of France and is credited with saving his life during a Measles epidemic.)
Don’t even get me started on nannies as villains. That’s usually for a different genre, thank God.
So, why do I like *some* governess stories, coming from that walk of life in reality? Childcare professionals are humans (as far as we know) and so they’re all different. Most have a few things in common, however. Besides a deep, abiding love of children, we tend to be *highly intuitive* and we derive pleasure from helping, supporting, and nurturing others. An employer’s success is the nanny’s success, because they can’t do their work without her. Besides the practical side, the employer would be worried sick about her children and unable to focus on her work. It was often said back in my nanny days, “Behind every great woman there is another great woman, her nanny.”
(The nanny is the one in tan uniform between the Queen and Prince George.)
Before I go on, I should mention the difference between a Nanny and a Governess. In the Historical setting, anyone with the proper training and/or experience and integrity could be a nanny while a governess generally also came from the middle or upper classes, but fallen on poorer circumstances. Today, a governess is a nanny with a four year college degree who can home educate her charges for whatever reason, such as traveling with the employers. In both time periods, a nanny general works with young children and governesses with older children.
So, what makes me enjoy a governess, or nanny, tale? It’s when the governess is portrayed as a dedicated professional who enjoys nurturing the children and supporting the employer, obviously. On top of that, if I see her being intuitive and sensitive and intelligent, that helps. Nannies and governesses are not supposed to be the center of attention, which means the Hero would be required to pay attention and listen and notice more than a pretty face.
In real life, I was never, ever intrigued by the possibility of a nanny/employer romance. Ew. Seriously. Don’t even get me started. After thousands of dollars in education and years of employment, that’s really not the reason a professional nanny or governess is there and it almost always ends in disaster, which wastes all the time and money spent on that career choice. It does happen, but it’s actually very rare. This is because most employers are married/partnered and a professional governess or nanny would never disrupt the harmony of the home for her own selfish purposes. That would not be happy or healthy for the children.
And the children always come first. Always.
The wonderful article that started it all- http://happyeverafter.usatoday.com/2017/03/08/madeline-hunter-readers-love-historical-romance-governesses/?platform=hootsuite
My alma mater- http://www.nanny-governess.com/hiringagoverness.html