Saturday, November 4, 2017

Tiffany Clare - The Secret Desires of a Governess

From the moment Abby meets her new employer -- the mysterious, brooding Earl of Brendall -- she is appalled by his brutish manner…and even moreso by her own attraction to him. Has she lost her senses? As a governess, Abby has no choice but to play by the rules. But as a woman, she cannot deny the fiery sensations he ignites -- or the fantasies he inspires…
From the moment Elliott lays eyes on his new young governess, he knows he’s in trouble. Abby is intelligent, defiant, and utterly captivating, though Elliott must do his very best to resist her. But as the two grow closer, the passion burns hotter. Soon, the only thing that can destroy their love is the darkest secret of his past -- and the secret desires of a governess…

Comment:  I got interested in this book after browsing a list at GR about books where a governess was the heroine. I tend to usually appreciate this trope, governess/lord or governess/master because it's always interesting to see how the dynamics  of the relationship work out and how well the romance can develop. But sometimes things don't go the way we initially imagined.

In this book we meet Lady Abigail and when the book starts she is just arriving at the estate where she is supposed to work as a governess but apparently no one went to get her at the station and she had to walk for a long time. When she arrives she is mad and she starts yelling at the first person she meets, who happens to be the master of the house, the Earl of Brandall. Of course the attraction between them is immediate but Abby is a proper lady so she is welcomed but nothing happens. 
The Earl has a tragic past, his mother killed herself, his wife is rumored to have done the same, he only wants to protect his eight year old son and to do so he hires a governess to give him lessons until he is older. He was not counting on falling for her nor she for him but before they can even ponder a possibility of being together, they need to discover who is sometimes causing harm to Abby and why...

I'll start by saying that I can easily put aside historical accuracy in romances set in times before the so called modern times simply because often the characters are larger than life and the details can be put aside. There are obvious elements that need to be kept realistic for the era, otherwise it wouldn't make much sense but sometimes readers can ignore certain things and that doesn't mean the book won't be appreciated in the fullest.

However, in this book's case, maybe because some scenes/situations were sub par to what I was expecting, the anachronisms just seemed too evident and I couldn't help noticing several little details that made me think this story was led more by the author's need to insert as much content as possible rather than to follow a more realistic plot line one would accept as part of the 1840s, when the action takes place.

I guess I'll just leave a small list of the sort of things that I couldn't not think about:
- Abby is a governess not because she truly needs it  (she has loving sisters and while it's commendable she doesn't want to live off them while her inheritance isn't given to her in two years, it's hardly a challenge) but because she feels she needs to do something and of course all ladies would immediately think of going alone to a distant estate to do something they don't truly need. I'd have liked her more if her being a governess was more of a true need.
- When arriving at an unknown estate, after being forgotten for hours, of course any professional lady at a time ladies were respected but didn't really have rights would start yelling at someone before at least knowing who that person is and of course a lord, instead of thinking this person is weird thinks she's pretty and defiant instead.
- Abby is a young woman, she has a not old "boss" and while one can't swear governesses and the lords they worked for never felt attracted nor acted on it, is it really that simple that they would go to bed together so quickly and without a believable emotion connection - because none was a slave of their libido and this isn't supposed to be erotica?

I know these examples can only be quibbles of mine and there are several books out there where similar situations happened and I wasn't as bothered. However, in this book they just seemed to blind me all the time and I couldn't ignore it. I couldn't imagine the scenes happening in a house where more people lived and where everyone would realize what was happening. 
The characters, as a whole, didn't really win me over in a way that would enable me to forget the details I don't think are believable.

Abby and Elliott, the earl, are certainly a good match but I think their relationship didn't develop in a romantic way, at least not to the point the author seems to want to convinces us of. Their reasons didn't seem credible, their actions weren't something people at this time would do so carelessly as they did and not even the fact there is a mystery and a sugary HEA made me think they had so many good qualities after all. I can understand their limitations but still... this was not as magical as I imagined by the blurb.
Maybe I'm being unfair but it's the way it looked like to me.
Grade: 5/10

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