Temptation of a Proper Governess
According to the back blurb, Michael Severson, the hero of Temptation of a Proper Governess is “complex” and “tortured.” If you say so. I’m afraid I found him uninteresting and shallow. As for the heroine, Isabel, she wasn’t interesting at all. This was one bland book.
Michael Severson, the younger brother of the Earl of Jemison, is back in England with his Alex Haddon, his half-Indian blood brother. Several years ago, Michael left home, suspected of killing his mistress Aletta. Michael and Alex have gotten rich in Canada and now they have come back to England – Alex to transact business and Michael to try and clear his name.
Isabel Halloran is the illegitimate daughter of the Marquess of Elswick. She is the governess to Lillian Wardley, the wild daughter of a rich businessman. At a house party given by Mr. Wardley, Isabel finds Lillian naked in Michael Severson’s bed and guesses rightly that the Wardleys are trying to compromise him into marriage. With the help of the nanny, Isabel locks Lillian in her room, but when she goes back to find a bracelet that had been left behind, she is the one who is compromised.
Michael offers marriage, and after a bit of a struggle, Isabel accepts. They find themselves sexually compatible (and how) but neither trusts the other. It takes a situation of shared danger before they finally discover the truth about themselves, and solve the mystery of Aletta’s murder.
I could not care about Michael or Isabel. I’ve read books where I was smitten with the characters from the first sentence, but it wasn’t until the last chapter that I began to warm up to Michael, and I never warmed up to Isabel at all. It was as if there was a veil between me and them – I could see them but they had nothing to distinguish them from any number of generic characters.
The book is competently written, but it has my least favorite scene – the one where the villain has the hero under the gun and then takes pages and pages where he spills all the details of his villainy, thus tying up all the loose ends and giving the hero time to plot how to get out of his fix. The villain has a confederate who is also afflicted with chattiness as well. I’d really like to see a scene where the villain is the strong, silent type.
This book was very hard to review. It wasn’t badly written, but it wasn’t a bit memorable. The plot did not engage me, I never warmed up to the characters and I forgot it as soon as I laid it down. Thank goodness I took notes or it would have been almost impossible to write this review.