The Governess Comforts the Disconsolate Duke
I looked forward to reading this Regency novella about a hero recovering from the horrors of war. Unfortunately, it read more like a textbook for show versus tell and often reads like an outline rather than an actual story. The hero and heroine don’t have a real encounter until about 20% into the book which, for a novella, is way too late.
Not long before James went off to fight Napoleon, Claire was his governess for a brief time before he became an adult. This is odd because a boy in his late teens would usually have been sent away to school. Now, James is the Duke of Fairfield, but he suffers nightmares as a result of his experiences in battle. Claire is still the governess for his “brood” of cousins, but we’re not told why they are living in his house. The estate is in financial trouble and desperate need of repair. James tries to find the strength to improve the estate, while his mother gets impatient with his inaction.
The crisis that finally brings Claire and James together borders on the ridiculous and comes completely out of nowhere. The whole incident was so over-the-top that I found myself trying not to laugh, rather than worrying for Claire’s health. But at least that scene held my interest – which is more than can be said for the rest of the story. The dialogue is flat, frequently clumsy and often pulled me out of the story. For example, “James knew the servants had been askance at what his mother had done.” Or “…he looked around, listening to the children caterwauling plaintively.” Someone needs a decent editor.
The story keeps referring to the duke’s “royal manor” and referring to him as a “royal.” But most dukes are not royals – the only exceptions are members of the Royal Family. Farfield is described as “an impoverished, tiny county.” but there is no county in England called Fairfield. Did the author mean to refer to a district? Or a “duchy”?
The idea of a story featuring a nobleman coming home with PTSD could have have been great. Instead, it results in a hero who lets his mother overstep her boundaries and a serious condition that is healed with just a few kisses and sweet words.
Note: This is listed as an inspirational romance in the Amazon store and marketed as a clean romance. While it is a clean romance, the faith of the characters doesn’t come up much at all.