Tessa Dare comes to the blog today with the second in her Girl Meets Duke series, new to The Governess Game: Girl Meets Duke #2 me but thoroughly engaging. Please read on for my review of
The Governess Game
I missed the first in this series, and have rushed out and grabbed it, for I adored this read in one sitting title, and didn’t want to wait for the next book. Alexandria is an ‘unusual’ girl, her young life spent onboard her father’s ship, a penchant for astronomy, a talent with clocks, and her best friends with similar dispositions and disinterest in society’s whims. An encounter in a bookshop where she was reduced to a babbling mess, and lost the book she’d been searching for brings her into Chase’s proximity- a meeting that will fuel her dreams for months to come. Alex was a lovely and refreshing character: an unconventional start that reinforced her determination to set her own course: living life on her terms. Orphaned at twelve, then shuffled off to “proper’ schools until relations could consider their responsibility over, she’s desired family and built one with her best friends. But finding a way to support herself and put money away led her to provide a bi-monthly clock-works contract: setting clocks to the proper time for her clients, looking to save enough to purchase her own little cottage.
Chase is the Duke presumptive, his Uncle’s three sons are all dead, the last in an alley in London while visiting Chase. Never expecting a title or the responsibility, Chase’s uncle is paralyzed and speechless, and Chase’ is handling all of the Ducal business (with help from his brother) while doing his best to scandalize the ton with his rakish behavior. But Chase is a ‘faker’ – his lips constantly tell everyone that he cares not for opinions of others, and that he wishes no responsibilities beyond finishing his own ‘man cave’, a self-constructed hideaway to revel in the sensual. He is a BIG faker though, he’s responsible for two young girls, ages 10 and 7, girls that have been shuffled around and unwanted most of their years – which means they are constantly testing and trying the boundaries, and the youngest has a penchant for gory and repeated deaths of her doll, many acted out with graphic enhancements. Chase has outfitted their rooms with every bobble, frill and book imaginable, he’s just certain that if he cares for them, they are as doomed as his young cousin who died in an alley when he should have been watching.
Rosamund and Daisy are Chase’s wards: clever, insecure and wholly determined to push everyone away before they are put aside. Rosamund is a bookworm with keen observational skills, deft fingers and fiercely protective of Daisy. Daisy’s doll, Millicent, has succumbed to multiple deadly diseases, nursing and repeated eulogies: only to be exhumed and the process repeats. Causing no end of turnover of governesses, the last one staying only a day, the girls are soon to meet their match in Alex: even as the circumstances are less than conventional.
Alex and Chase have this electric chemistry, and she sees right through his ‘nonchalant’ air: she sees his fear and frustration with the girls’ behavior, and his guilt and inability to believe that he is worth the love of anyone around him. She understands the fear and pain the girls are experiencing, and uses an unconventional series of lessons, couched in playing Pirates, and her management of Chase to take the girls out of the house, providing both enrichment and ‘quality time’ is lovely.
The banter here, combined with the quality of the characters: nuanced, honest and totally human, flaws and al, is wonderful – and despite Chase’s ‘determination to ‘not care’, he tells on himself from the beginning of the book with his keen observations – tempered by his fears and guilt, yet little clues give away his true character that shines beautifully, calling to Alex’s romantic heart.
Grab this book, and the one before it – you won’t regret it. I think I’ve found another auto-buy author for historic romance!
Title: The Governess Game
Author: Tessa Dare
Series: Girl Meets Duke #2
Also in this series: The Wallflower Wager
Genre: Historical Romance
Published by: Avon
Published on: 28 August, 2018
Source: Publisher Via Edelweiss
Audio Length: 7 Hours: 23 minutes
Heat: Get Your Copy: Amazon ♦ Barnes&Noble ♦ iTunes ♦ Kobo ♦ Downpour ♦ IndieBound ♦ Google ♦Audible
He’s been a bad, bad rake—and it takes a governess to teach him a lesson
The accidental governess.
After her livelihood slips through her fingers, Alexandra Mountbatten takes on an impossible post: transforming a pair of wild orphans into proper young ladies. However, the girls don’t need discipline. They need a loving home. Try telling that to their guardian, Chase Reynaud: duke’s heir in the streets and devil in the sheets. The ladies of London have tried—and failed—to make him settle down. Somehow, Alexandra must reach his heart... without risking her own.
The infamous rake.
Like any self-respecting libertine, Chase lives by one rule: no attachments. When a stubborn little governess tries to reform him, he decides to give her an education—in pleasure. That should prove he can’t be tamed. But Alexandra is more than he bargained for: clever, perceptive, passionate. She refuses to see him as a lost cause. Soon the walls around Chase’s heart are crumbling... and he’s in danger of falling, hard.
A copy of this title was provided via Publisher Via Edelweiss for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.
Daisy turned to them. A veil of dark netting covered her straw-colored curls.
“Please show respect for the dead.”
She waved Chase forward. He dutifully crossed to her side, bending down so that she could tie a black armband around his shirtsleeve.
“I’m sorry for your loss,” he said. So very sorry. You don’t know how sorry.
He took his place at the head of the bed, looking down at the deceased. She was ghostly pale and swaddled in a white shroud. Buttons covered her eyes. Thank Got. It was damned unnerving when the eyes looked up at him with that glassy, empty stare.
Daisy reached for his hand and bowed her head. After leading them in a recitation of the Lord’s Prayer, she poked Chase in the ribs.
“Mr. Reynaud, kindly say a few words.”
Chase looked to the heavens. God help him.
“Almighty Father,” he began in a dispirited tone, “we commit to your keeping the soul of Millicent. Ashes to ashes. Sawdust to sawdust. She was a doll of few words and yet fewer autonomous movements, yet she will be remembered for the ever-present – some might say permanently painted- smile on her face. By the grace of our Redeemer, we know she will be resurrected, perhaps as soon as luncheon.”
He added under his breath, “Unfortunately.”