Review: The Governess Affair by Courtney Milan

Filed in 5 Stars , Courtney Milan , featured , Review , The Needy Lover Posted on July 26, 2013 @ 11:00 am 0 comments

Format read: ebook
Series: Brothers Sinister, #0.5
Release Date: 21 April 2012
Publisher: Courtney Milan
Length: novella (approx. 33k words)
Formats available: paperback, ebook, audiobook
Purchasing Info: Goodreads, Amazon, Author’s Site, Kobo, Smashwords

Blurb:

She will not give up…

Three months ago, governess Serena Barton was let go from her position. Unable to find new work, she’s demanding compensation from the man who got her sacked: a petty, selfish, swinish duke. But it’s not the duke she fears. It’s his merciless man of business—the man known as the Wolf of Clermont. The formidable former pugilist has a black reputation for handling all the duke’s dirty business, and when the duke turns her case over to him, she doesn’t stand a chance. But she can’t stop trying—not with her entire future at stake.

He cannot give in…

Hugo Marshall is a man of ruthless ambition—a characteristic that has served him well, elevating the coal miner’s son to the right hand man of a duke. When his employer orders him to get rid of the pestering governess by fair means or foul, it’s just another day at the office. Unfortunately, fair means don’t work on Serena, and as he comes to know her, he discovers that he can’t bear to use foul ones. But everything he has worked for depends upon seeing her gone. He’ll have to choose between the life that he needs, and the woman he is coming to love…

My Thoughts:

We’ll start with the punchline first–I have nary a sour word to say about this book. I imagine The Governess Affair, as with any book, isn’t everyone’s cup of piping hot tea…but for my part, it was a magnificently crafted story that just *happens* to be of novella length.

This book is quick to create lasting impressions from the characters, establish drama, and create a believable, seemingly intractable conflict. The hero and heroine of this tale were just so damn interesting, each. Of course, given the story’s length, there was not room for a lot of exposition, but still Hugo Marshall and Serena Barton are fully fleshed out. Hugo’s cold ruthlessness and dogged determination for success–consequences bedamned–is believable…as is his secret sense of humor and his gentle affection. Likewise, Serena is convincing as a juxtaposition of vulnerability and bravery.

…and such glorious banter from the two protagonists! Their exchanges were not simply cute or romantic, they were genuinely clever as well. And during moments of solemnity, their interactions were heart achingly bittersweet.

It’s also rather cool that the protagonists aren’t paragons of physical perfection. The story emphasizes the protagonists’ humanness, and doesn’t make it seem like an insult to be less than conventionally beautiful. It’s rather magical to watch the hero and heroine to go from unremarkable in the other’s eyes to stunning…a wonderful demonstration of beauty being in the eye of the beholder.

The story continually surprises even as it follows certain hallmarks of the genre. It was straightforward yet with great depth of emotion, and never ever does it feel rushed or full of unnecessary content. What impresses me most, perhaps, is how well The Governess Affair transitions from a beautiful, quaint tale about a stubborn governess meeting her match…to (nearly instantly) a whole new world of possibility that serves as the basis for the rest of the series.

These characters, this simple but profound story, I won’t soon forget. Well played, Courtney Milan. Well played. ^_^

 

. . .

Verdict: This was a novella that definitely packs a punch above its weight class. With memorable characters that brought forth a depth of complexity and emotion, this story is a wonderful setup for what’s certainly a great historical romance series.

I give The Governess Affair 5 stars!

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***FTC Disclaimer: Most books reviewed on this site have been provided free of charge by the publisher, author or publicist. Some books we have purchased with our own money and will be noted as such. Any links to places to purchase books are provided as a convenience, and do not serve as an endorsement by this blog. All reviews are the true and honest opinion of the blogger reviewing the book. The method of acquiring the book does not have a bearing on the content of the review.

About Alisha


Alisha, the bespectacled and ever nerdy California girl, simply won’t leave home without a book in hand. She loves language learnin’ and is working toward becoming a bonafide grammar ninja. On any given day you’ll find her haunting local libraries or baking scores of cupcakes and sweet treats.

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