Ladies and gentlemen, there comes a time once in a blue moon when you pick up a book thinking, “Hmm, this should be good”, and when you proceed to read it your socks get knocked off and you turn into a dribbling fan girl squealing, “Oh my gosh! This book has everything I’ve ever wanted to read in a book ever!!!!!”. Well, for me that book was The Governess Affair, by Courtney Milan.
Yes, this book was so up my alley in so many ways that I did that whole thing of saying “I’ll just read one more chapter before going to bed” over and over. It wasn’t just good, it was awesome! It was totally the book for me. So let’s look at some of the reasons why The Governess Affair had me clicking pages so fast and hard….
First, in spite of being a classic historical romance, neither the hero nor the heroine were members of the nobility. I love this! I get so tired of reading about dukes and ladies and titled nobs. Call me crazy, but I just want to read about the ordinary folks. That’s always been a pet peeve of mine when it comes to Romance. What’s wrong with the average folks that we can’t read about them? How come there are so few romance novels about servants or tailors or greengrocers? Their lives and romances are exciting too, aren’t they?
Well, as you might imagine from the title, the heroine of The Governess Affair is, you guessed it, a governess. And she’s not one of those noblewomen who was forced to become a governess out of necessity. Or if she was that wasn’t the point. Nope, Serena is a straight-up governess. Or was until she lost her job prior to the start of the book due to the bad behavior of one of those insidious dukes. Now her ambition is to seek compensation (I won’t go into the details of how or why so as not to spoil anything) and to start her own lavender farm so she can make her own way. Love it!
The hero, Hugo, is no nobleman either. In fact, he’s the son of a coal miner who has capitalized on his education to gain a position as, well, I guess financial planner would be a good name for it. He is the duke who ruined Serena’s “man” and has saved the duke from financial ruin. But he’s still just a coal miner’s son trying to become the richest coal miner’s son in England.
Now, this is a novella, so the action of the plot is concise and handled in only a handful of chapters. The story is actually a set-up for The Brothers Sinister series. But there was so much that I loved so hard about the characters, the plot, and the way the story unfolded in The Governess Affair that I wished it would have been longer.
Some particular highlights in a book whose every scene was a gem include the pointed, witty repartee between Serena and Hugo, including a series of letters that had me laughing out loud and squee-ing over the final word. I also loved the moment when the heroine, in pursuing a certain course, caught on and thought, “Wait a minute, I think I could probably manipulate this situation to my own advantage!” Serena was smart, strong, and willing to take things pretty far to meet her goals. Hugo was realistic, calculating, and still fell. Best of all, Courtney Milan provides more than enough emotional justification for every unconventional step her characters took to get where they ended up. And I have to say that I was a bit surprised at how it ended. In the good way, of course.
So yes, this book was freakin’ awesome! I highly recommend it. It also served its larger purpose, because I am now dying to read The Brothers Sinister series in its entirety. Well done, Courtney!
Next up, I’m sticking with the Romance trend and trying out a new author….