Take it away, Ellie!
And it made her difficult for me to write.
I come from a family of strong women – even the in-laws. (The men are strong too, but I am focussing on the women in the post. You can likely imagine some of the heated discussions around the dinner table. ;0) ) This is why Sara was so difficult for me to relate to, for me to get into her head. She is the exact opposite of what I look for in a romantic heroine. It’s her type of heroine that actually had me stop reading romance back when I was a teenager – I didn’t understand it then, but I now recognize my desire for stronger, more feminist portrayals of female characters.
And that is what Sara is not.
She doesn’t rock the boat, so she gets swept up in whatever is happening. Her avoidance of interpersonal conflict creates a physical internal conflict that debilitates her. Her insecure nature makes her an easy target for the malicious people in the community. Her submissiveness allows her to be tormented by her mother’s ghost. Her dedication to the status quo has her pursuing a man unsuited to her and her concern for appearances has her betrothed to him.
This is not me and I didn’t like her. I didn’t like her as a character, I didn’t like her as a story. Not at first. But then my editor, the estimable Tessa Woodward, read it. And she changed my mind.
I had been so focussed on Sara’s faults that I had blinded myself to her more positive qualities. I had been guilty of the same behaviour of every other character in the story: we all underestimated Sara.
On the surface, she may not look like it, but she is a fighter. You can see it in the way she separates the abuse of her childhood from the faith her father instilled in her. You can see it in the way she wants to change and finds the courage to do so. You can see it in the way she transforms herself from a doormat to guard, finally standing up for herself. You can see it in the way she defends others, even from themselves. You can see it in the way she takes charge of her whole life after living according to the wishes of others for so long.
The biggest mistake you can make in a fight is to underestimate your opponent. I don’t think Sara will ever fully meet my expectations for a strong heroine, but I most certainly won’t be underestimating her again. She is someone I want in my corner.
The Governess Club: Sara
The Governess Club # 3
By: Ellie MacDonald
September 2nd, 2014
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Sweet Sara Collins is one of the founding members of the governess club. But she has a secret… She doesn’t love teaching. She’d much prefer to be a vicar’s wife and help the local community. But this quiet mouse doesn’t want to upset her friends, and she resolves to help in whatever ways she can.
Nathan Grant is the embodiment of everything that frightens Sara. Which is why she can’t understand why the handsome but reclusive and gruff man is so fascinating to her. When Sara decides it’s time to take a chance and experience all that life has to offer, Nathan is the first person she thinks of.
Will Sara’s walk on the wild side ruin her chances at a simple, happy life? Or has she just opened the door to a once-in-a-lifetime chance of passion?
The Governess Club: Lousia
The Governess Club # 4
By: Ellie MacDonald
October 7th, 2014
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Louisa Brockhurst is on the run - from her friends, from her family, even from her dream of independence through The Governess Club. But sometimes it’s easier for her to hide from those she loves in order to escape the secrets of her past.
Handsome but menacing John Taylor is a former prize-fighter turned inn-keeper who is trying to make his way in society. When Louisa shows up at his doorstep he’s quick to accept her offer to help - at a price. He knows that she’s hiding something and he can’t help his protective instincts around the beautiful woman.
Their attraction grows, but will headstrong, fiery Louisa ever trust the surprisingly kind John enough to tell him the dangerous secrets from her past that keep her running? Or will the power of her feelings scare her into running yet again?
Ellie Macdonald has held several jobs beginning with the letter t: taxi-driver, telemarketer and most recently, teacher. She is thankful her interests have shifted to writing instead of taxidermy or tornado chasing. Having travelled to five different continents, she has swum with elephants, scuba dived coral mazes, visited a leper colony and climbed waterfalls and windmills, but her favorite place remains Regency England. She currently lives in Ontario, Canada. The Governess Club series is her first published work.