Lauri Robinson’s An Unlikely Match for the Governess is a standalone title featuring Aislinn Blaydon, the eponymous governess, and Luke Carlisle, brother to Aislinn’s former employer. Having been dismissed from her post as governess to the daughters of the recently deceased Duke and Duchess of Havenbrook, Aislinn has nowhere to go and no one to turn to when she encounters the newly-returned-from-America Luke. They decide to work together in order for Luke to gain custody of his young nieces and agree to a marriage in name only in order to facilitate it. Unfortunately, the best laid plans can go awry and their intentions to remain in name only might not last.
The story begins as Aislinn is dismissed from her post as governess to the late Duke’s twin nieces following an altercation with the son of the new duke, Percy Carlisle. She is devastated, as she has been with the girls since they were born, and because she has nowhere else to go. Luckily for her, as she’s making her way from the house, she is met by Percy’s younger brother, Luke, who has just arrived home from America. Luke tells Aislinn he has come because his eldest brother named him guardian to the girls and he is planning to fight Percy for them. He enlists Aislinn’s help, and she eventually suggests they marry so that Luke can prove he intends to live in England and to provide a home for the girls.
Luke and Aislinn marry and intend for their relationship to remain a platonic one despite the simmering attraction between them. As they begin appearing at society events in a show of unity and to show Luke is not going anywhere, Aislinn realizes how unhappy being in England makes him. Luke assures her he will be happy anywhere as long as the girls are happy, but she can tell he’s not being entirely truthful. Luke and Aislinn are granted custody of the twins, but the issue of Luke’s restlessness still looms over their happiness.
I enjoy the servant/lord trope whenever it is done well, and that is the case here. Unlike so moany other romances that use this trope, the focus is not on the fact that Luke and Aislinn are not equals and should not be together, which is a nice change. Instead, the author places the emphasis on Luke and Aislinn learning each other’s personalities and how to live as a couple, as well as on the issue of the guardianship. Thankfully, this does not take over the entire story even though it’s the catalyst for subsequent events. I found the central problem, following the settling of guardianship, of Luke clearly struggling with the idea of remaining in England to be a fresh problem and one not easily solved by talking.
Aislinn and is a great heroine, but I absolutely loved Luke. He has an easy smile, is kind to everyone, and has more determination than anyone else around him. While it’s true I’m partial to ‘beastly’ heroes, I do occasionally like one to be a ray of sunshine and Luke is definitely that. He is also sweet and treats Aislinn so well, even at the beginning when she’s beneath his station. Aislinn herself is a very good person who only wants what is best for Luke’s nieces.
There is an eleventh-hour conflict during which Aislinn and Luke are very, very briefly separated, but fortunately, they’re able to discuss the issue and get past it, which was another refreshing change.
An Unlikely Match for the Governess is a delightful, easy read with a lovable hero and interesting plot. I will certainly be looking for more books from this author!
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