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The Governess Affair (The Brothers Sinister) Kindle Edition
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--Sarah Wendell, trashybooks.com, on The Governess Affair
"A battle of wills with the sweetest of prizes: true love."
--RT Book Reviews, on The Governess Affair
About the Author
- ASIN : B007WIOP68
- Publisher : Courtney Milan (April 21, 2012)
- Publication date : April 21, 2012
- Language : English
- File size : 1750 KB
- Simultaneous device usage : Unlimited
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 152 pages
- Lending : Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #5,143 Free in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
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Top reviews from the United States
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There are plenty of reviews here that cover the plot, so I won't bother. I am, however, confused by some of the negative reviews, the main ones seeming to be that it's too short and that the plot is unrealistic. If you don't like shorter stories, don't buy novellas; that's on you, not the author. As for the plot, I found it very plausible. While it's true that society would not have condemned a duke for getting a governess pregnant, they would have gossiped about it and, in particular, made fun of his wife. The duchess wanting fidelity in her marriage would have been less likely 20 or 30 years earlier, but by the mid-1830s the aristocracy had turned against the decadence of the late 18th century and the Regency Era, and morality was back in fashion, so that's historically credible. A pregnant governess protesting in front of a duke's home was original enough that it would most certainly have caught society's attention and become the focus of gossip, in a way that mere rumor or a story in the papers would not have. While the duke could have had his servants remove her from the park, there would be nothing to prevent her from coming back the next day, and each repetition would simply have garnered more attention to her actions. In other words, the heroine's approach was exactly the sort of thing that would have caused maximum embarrassment for the duchess. By then giving the duchess influence over the duke's access to her dowry, Milan very cleverly sprang a trap that played right into the values and habits of the time.
I particularly liked the way that both the hero and heroine had to learn to let go of their anger and focus on what they wanted for themselves rather than who they wanted to hurt in order to find their happiness. There were a couple of minor historical errors, but only in the little details. The British NEVER take cream in their tea! And "drat" was most definitely bad language at the time, being a minced oath for "God rot it." But these are very little quibbles in a highly enjoyable book. I will continue to look for more of this author's work.
But Serena Barton is determined to make the duke pay. So she sits on a park bench outside the duke’s house—through rain and shine—all day so no one will forget. At first, Hugo decides to torment and threaten her and offers her “50 pounds and a reference” to “go away.” But Serena is pregnant with the duke’s child, a condition she did not seek and she wants more. At some point, she decides to turn Hugo’s loyalty from the duke to her.
The dialog is snappy, the introspection witty and well written. If you just want to see what Milan’s writing is like, this is a good introduction. But there is no history in this historical romance and very few characters. Other than the main leads, there is really only Serena’s sister “Freddy”, a meek woman who frets for her sister.
At the end of it, I hadn’t “seen” much, either. Really only a park bench, a messy office and a messier set of downtrodden rooms. The hero and heroine were described, but really no one else. The epilogue, I presume, is a glimpse into the characters that will follow and the only “action” scene.
But at “free” there is nothing to complain about.
After the Duke of Clermont wrongs Serena, while she was working in his household, she goes to him for payment. But the Duke refuses her request, so Serena decides to sit outside his residence every day, all day, until he gives her what she wants. The Duke instructs Hugo to get rid of Serena before his wife finds out, and Hugo, who has to fulfill the request in order to get his money so he can start his own empire, obeys. But even after filling her bench with other people so she has to stand all day, and threatening to throw Serena and her sister out of their apartments, Serena refuses to give in for the little sum Hugo tries to persuade her to take. And after a few days of being in each others company, stubbornness turns into something more and they can't help but wonder if giving in will get them what they truly desire.
I've read and enjoyed novels by Courtney Milan before, and The Governess Affair was no different. I was pleasantly surprised by both Serena and Hugo, because Serena was stubborn but in a way that I couldn't help but admire and Hugo was a good man behind his gruffness and ambition. Their characters also came across as real and believable, which was one of the things that really stood out to me. This is a novella, since it's only 98 pages, but not once did I think the story progressed too fast. Courtney Milan did a great job with developing the characters in such a short time, and I almost wished the story was longer because I enjoyed the characters so much.
Overall, I would definitely recommend The Governess Affair by Courtney Milan to anyone looking for a well-written historical romance novella.
Top reviews from other countries
Governess badly wronged by a repulsive duke fights back and the man hired to do the duke's dirty work (by getting rid of her) instead falls for her.
The good and the bad:
I find short stories are a fair indication whether an author's full-length novels will be any good. My verdict on Courtney Milan, based on this novella, is: promising.
This wasn't a light-hearted love story although there were amusing moments between the duke's right-hand man Hugo and the governess Serena, in whom he found a feisty match. (Wait till you get to their letter exchanges.)
This is a sweet story of a man hardened by the physical and emotional abuse he suffered as a child and a strong woman who has been assaulted but won't be silenced.
While I enjoyed the book, it wasn't one of those ones you devour as quickly as possible.
There were some bits where things didn't add up - it's never explained the basis on which Hugo is able get Serena's landlord to do his bidding with regards her tenancy.
I really enjoyed Hugo and Serena's sex scene - not because it was really hot but because it was very sweet (Hugo's idea with the hair pins is heart-melting).
All in all, an enjoyable book and I will read a full-length Milan sometime.
Side note: I loathed Serena's sister Fredrica. What a cow! Mind you, I'd pretty cheesed off if my sister kept calling me by a nickname I hated!
Standard alpha male love interests bore me (or worse) with their aggressive masculinity, but I am weak to devious, clever, unremarkable-looking protagonists who disguise their power and influence behind a veneer of banality, and thank god Hugo Marshall is exactly my type. He may not be a pinnacle of the trope like the Parasol Protectorate's Professor Lyall or my beloved David Cyprian from the Society of Gentlemen series, but he's still a helluvalot of fun. And he's certainly met his match in the ambitious and obstinate Serena Barton - their chemistry is fierce and the banter, ohhh the BANTER, is simply divine. I live for snark and couples flirting outrageously with cheeky wit, and these two did not disappoint. I would have liked even more of it, but this is only a novella after all.
One thing I really liked was how respectful the 'ruination' of Serena was treated, especially the emotional aftermath of what was clearly assault, even if the opinion of the time (and sadly far too often our own) made her believe otherwise. Hugo was exactly what she needed, as well as being deliciously hot together. The story may have been light on actual plot, but it's such an engaging read it doesn't matter. And besides, there's nothing wrong with enjoying a bit of fluff for fluff's sake. :) This was such fun I've already bought the next in the series and cannot wait to read it!
I now look forward to reading the rest of this series, and hopefully many more from this author.
A lovely story that I wish I hadn't read so fast, for only 72p!! Definitely going to check out some of Milan's other books :)
To say more of the plot would give away the entire novella, but I dare anyone to read this and not grin your way through the exchange between Hugo and Serena through written notes, or to not be touched by the sweet way Hugo puts her at ease later with the pin game. The writing is assured, accomplished and almost entirely devoid of errors, and the characterisation is completely believable. Also, for a novella this short it had a wealth of lines which were simply made for quoting at people, and it has a number of unexpected but very pleasant surprises.
I cannot recommend this highly enough, it should be a wonderful read for anyone who likes romance.