An Unlikely Governess
Though An Unlikely Governess is a satisfying enough gothic-tinged romance, the truth is that it’s a lot more satisfying before the reader is subjected to incredibly annoying TSTL behavior by the heroine in the book’s final pages.
As a word of warning, if you’re as creeped out as I am by extremely desperate heroines – you know, those pathetic young women without enough food to eat – you’ve got one here. But, thankfully, heroine Beatrice Sinclair is “rescued” (and, yes, she really is) soon enough and installed as the governess of the young duke currently inhabiting the spooky castle at the top of the hill. All spooky castles, as you know, are occupied by equally spooky and mysterious characters, and the denizens of this particular castle are no exception.
First, there’s Cameron, the young duke’s uncle and the man who hires heroine Beatrice. Bitter, caustic, and partially paralyzed from the same accident that killed the duke’s parents, could he have evil designs on his nephew – and the title? Then there’s the young duke himself – what’s beneath his monstrously bratty behavior and his insistence that someone is out to harm him? And, finally, there’s Devlen Gordon, the sexy, industrialist and son of Cameron – and a man who clearly represents danger of the sensual kind to Beatrice. Add in a selfish and shallow lady of the house and some creepy servants and you’ve got the entire cast of characters.
The actual storyline here isn’t all that surprising or unexpected – to put it simply, as gothic-tinged plots go, it’s a serviceable one involving an innocent young governess, a child at risk, and the sexy member of the family to whom the governess can’t help but be attracted. But, if the plot isn’t really anything to write home about, I’m happy to report that the love scenes are. Ms. Raney has a real knack for conveying the fun of great sex and, even better, it always felt as if it was really Beatrice and Devlen making love instead of those interchangeable sex machines found far too often in the kind of love scenes most of us eventually end up skimming.
As for the characters, I liked heroine Beatrice and hero Devlen well enough. Beatrice, however, does mysteriously morph from a pathetic and desperate wastrel into a forthright young woman unafraid to stand up to a rich and powerful aristocrat pretty darn quickly. She also goes from virtuous young woman to uninhibited vixen in an unbelievable heartbeat, but – what the hey – we’re talking romance novel here. Devlen, on the other hand, is an appealing and sexy hero, if a little bit on the nondescript side. Though I liked the character, within just a few days after finishing the book, I’m having a hard time really remembering much about him.
Still, even with all this, the love scenes and a pleasing pace kept this book at a firm B until page 341. Regretfully, within fifty pages of the book’s end, a heroine I previously viewed as an intelligent one makes a decision that puts not only herself but also the child she’s come to love in harm’s way. It’s nonsensical. It’s dumb. And, yes, it’s TSTL. All in all, not a good moment in an otherwise not bad book.
An Unlikely Governess isn’t likely to find its way on to many “Best of” lists, but, with that said, it does have an appealingly gothic feel that readers may enjoy. And then there are the love scenes. Even if you’ll soon forget the book, there’s a good chance they might stay in your memory just a bit longer.