After I finished reading Me Before You I was an emotional wreck. My roommate has taken to calling it the book that broke me, as in “Oh, did you write your review of the book that broke you?” Finally, yes. But in the meantime between reading the book and writing the review I needed something else to read, something to clear my poor brain space and think some happy thoughts.
So, I grabbed my Nook and started reading Courtney Milan’s The Governess Affair, the prequel novella to her Brothers Sinister series that has been getting all the raves around the Cannonball Read. I had promised myself I would get through my pile of library to read books before I started these, but I needed something light and enjoyable and my library pile didn’t really look up to the task (Code Name Verity is up next). The Governess Affair is certainly enjoyable. I loved the two main characters and got a little sad that in the next book I would be reading about the next generation, and not these two.
Meet Serena Barton, the titular governess who finds herself put out from her job after a run-in with the Duke of Clermont. She decides to take her revenge by quietly sitting in front of his residence until her demands are met… the problem being that it falls to the Duke’s man of business, one Mr. Hugo Marshall, to see that she is on her way so that the Duke can win back his bride, her fotune, and Mr. Marshall’s wages to boot.
It’s a pretty common historical romance set up, but the difference between this Milan work and some other ones I’ve read in the past is the depth to which the characters are developed. I feel like I say it time and again as I review books that the best books I read feature the most well drawn characters. With only 100 digital pages Milan manages to craft three dimensional characters who exist in a world you are easily able to understand. And she manages to have them be beautifully self-aware, but not clichéd.
My only real complaint about this book is that *semi spoiler but not really* there is a off page rape which occurs. I was hoping for a light read, as I mentioned, and that kept this from being light for all the obvious reasons. But, the turnaround is one of the most sexy while also sweet scenes later in the book as Hugo shows just how safe he is, and the antithesis of the Duke he works for. Otherwise I would have liked a longer book to spend more time with these characters.
Go fall in love with Serena and Hugo while they fall in love with each other. It’s worth your time.
This book was read and reviewed as part of the charitable Cannonball Read.