With a genderfluid protagonist and 21st-century twist, this spirited debut pays homage to the British classics while joyfully centering an LGBTQ+ point of view, perfect for fans of Emily M. Danforth.
This charming, immersive read “reminds all queer people, now more than ever, we deserve to take up space and matter” (Kosoko Jackson).
Orphaned young and raised with chilly indifference at an all-boys boarding school, Brontë Ellis has grown up stifled by rigid rules and social “norms,” forbidden from expressing his gender identity. His beloved novels and period films lend an escape, until a position as a live-in tutor provides him with a chance to leave St. Mary’s behind.
Greenwood Manor is the kind of elegant country house Bron has only read about, and amid lavish parties and cricket matches, the Edwards family welcomes him into the household with true warmth. Mr. Edwards and the young Ada, Bron’s pupil, accept without question that Bron’s gender presentation is not traditionally masculine. Only Darcy, the eldest son, seems uncomfortable with Bron—the two of them couldn’t be more opposite.
When a tragic fire blazes through the estate’s idyllic peace, Bron begins to sense dark secrets smoldering beneath Greenwood Manor’s surface. Channeling the heroines of his cherished paperbacks, he begins to sift through the wreckage. Soon, he’s not sure what to believe, especially with his increasing attraction to Darcy clouding his vision.
Drawing energy and inspiration from Charlotte Brontë, Jane Austen, E.M. Forster, and more while bowing to popular fiction such as Plain Bad Heroines, The Manor House Governess is destined to become a modern classic.
About the Author
C. A. Castle is a writer and editor. He holds a BA in English language and literature from King’s College, London, and an MPhil from the University of Cambridge, where he focused on nineteenth- and twentieth-century literature, period adaptations, and queer studies. He is also a picture book author as well as an anthologist, where he contrasts the old with the new with a view to capturing the zeitgeist. He currently resides in Cambridgeshire.
Praise for The Manor House Governess: “Atmospheric . . . the prose richly conveys Bron’s obsession with the 19th century. This will appeal to dark academia fans.” —Publishers Weekly
“A compelling queer protagonist and a deftly crafted throwback to Victorian and Regency novels . . . [A] marvelous book.” —Booklist, starred review, an Editor’s Choice for 2023: Adult Books for Young Adults
“A queer, atmospheric reimagining of the classic English gothic novel, paying homage to writers like E M Forster and Charlotte Bronte while also bringing a modern sensibility and contemporary spin. In turns spooky, funny, and romantic, C. A. Castle's debut novel is sure to be a hit.” —Mackenzi Lee, author of Stonewall Honor book and New York Times bestseller The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue
“Brimming with lush prose and multi-dimensional characters, The Manor House Governess is a reimagining unlike any other. A modern classic about identity, love, and boldly walking one’s own path.” —Ashley Herring Blake, author of Delilah Green Doesn't Care
“The Manor House Governess weaves past and present together to create a queer story of love and intrigue that feels thrillingly new and boldly relevant.” —Abdi Nazemian, author of Stonewall Honor book Like a Love Story
“Thought provoking, atmospheric and introspective . . . Not only demands a space in the classics hall of fame, but reminds all queer people, now more than ever, we deserve to take up space and matter. A must read.” —Kosoko Jackson, author of Lambda Literary Award finalist I'm So Not Over You
“Earnest, sweet, and delightfully queer. The perfect love letter to Brontë's legacy.” —Mason Deaver, award-winning author of I Wish You All the Best
“Atmospheric and emotional . . . At once timeless and totally modern. This slow-burner will keep you guessing until the final pages. An assured debut.” —Justin Myers, author of The Last Romeo
“Fun, fresh and clever. A fantastic coming of age story, and a huge treat for all fans of Jane Eyre.” —Katie Lumsden, author of The Secrets of Hartwood Hall
“A sublime and tenderly-written novel that is at once an interrogation of and love letter to the literary classics.” —Bea Fitzgerald, author of Girl, Goddess, Queen
“A brilliantly queer take on the Victorian governess archetype. Conceptually clever & beautifully written.” —Emma Carroll, author of The Tale of Truthwater Lake
“C. A. Castle delicately and astutely reinvents the romance that queer & trans readers need, slaying self-doubt and refusing tragic tropes.” —So Mayer, author of Truth & Dare
“Tender, beautiful and bold. Brilliant queer anachronism and deep longing blended with Castle’s prose and storytelling prowess makes for a very special novel.” —Lizzie Huxley-Jones, author of Make You Mine this Christmas