The Governess Game by Tessa Dare
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Tessa Dare is one of my favorite writers; and her books really highlight, to me, what is so wonderful about Regency (and Regency adjacent) Romances. Yes, there is a certain structure, certain things to expect (a happy ending, for one.) But there is a lot that a writer can do within that structure.
The Governess Game is part of a series, Girl Meets Duke. So, that tells you the plot in a nutshell, right? Except not so much. In The Governess Game, for example, the "governess/employer" storyline is twisted a bit by a few things: first, Alexandra isn't a governess. I mean, she is - but her profession, her career, sets and repairs clocks. Self-employed. For various reasons, she finds herself taking the short-term job of governess to two young girls.
Chase Reynaud is the guardian, and a rake, etc. But here's the thing: it's clear from the start he is a good guy because of all the efforts he is making for these two young orphans. His interactions with them show the reader that he's more than "a rake."
The employer/employee interaction isn't problematic in part because the power is more in Alexandra's hands than Chase's. He's gone through several governesses because the girls keep acting out; yes, she needs the money but she's negotiated a huge salary, it's short term, and she has friends (the other ladies from the "Girl Meets Duke" series) so she has options and isn't beholden to Chase. He needs her more than she needs him; and she has options; so it's a more equal footing.
Anyway, I won't get into the particulars of why she ends up having to be a governess; or the ins and outs of the romance. That's the fun of reading the book. But yes, highly recommended!
And like the best of these series -- yeah, you're going to want to read the other ones. But it really isn't necessary to read in sequence, because you know the girl is going to get her duke so it doesn't matter if you read the romances out of order. (In my opinion.)
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