The Governess Game by Tessa Dare
Avon Books, 2018
What can I even say? It’s Tessa Dare, people. I’ve never read a book by her that didn’t make me titter and swoon. Unsurprisingly, The Governess Game is gloriously tittery and swoony.
Alexandra Mountbatten (isn’t that a freaking FABULOUS name?) has been half in love with the gorgeous specimen of a man she bumbled into at Hatchard’s bookshop for the last several months. Of course, she never truly expects to see him again. But this is a romance novel… One morning, while out being the industrious and self-sufficient woman she is, Alexandra visits the home of a fancy lord to offer her professional services as a timekeeper. And guess who owns the house? Mmmhmm. The very man. The Bookshop Rake. But he doesn’t appear to be quite the hero she’s been dreaming about all this time.
Chase Reynaud, heir to a duke, finds himself the beleaguered guardian of two precocious young girls. Chase, who was totally content living the life of a irresponsible libertine, is at his wits end with his wild wards who have managed to run off governess after governess. So when Alexandra shows up at his home and puts him thoroughly in his place, he knows he’s found the perfect woman to take on the girls. Little does he realize he’s also found the perfect woman for him.
As always, Tessa Dare is laugh-out-loud hilarious while simultaneously twisting your heart into a pretzel. That’s what I really love about Tessa. She’s writes in a way that relaxes you and amuses you but, before you even realize it, she’s skillfully overwhelmed you with big, beautiful feelings. The Governess Game doesn’t disappoint.
“No one who loves you expects you to be perfect. If by some miracle you managed it, we wouldn’t recognize you.”
I think my favorite aspect of this book was the portrayal of the children, Rosamund and Daisy. I feel a little guilty because I personally found the many deaths of Millicent the doll to be pretty comical. Not that it wasn’t also heartbreaking. But the uber-serious way she would proclaim “she’s dead” reminded me sooooooooo much of my own dramatic girl-kid and her abiding commitment to whatever it is she’s pretending at the moment. Tessa captured this particular brand of little girl perfectly. Spot on.
I also snorted with laughter over “The Bookshop Rake” moniker. My friends and I used to use similar naming practices to identify boys we admired from afar but had not met. For example there was “Flowing Locks Boy” from college…never did learn his real name. *shrugs* Alex and her friends would have fit in well with us.
And then there’s Alex and Chase. I won’t give too much away but I’m a total sucker for the men who think their irredeemable and the women who prove them wrong.
The Governess Game was just wonderful. You’ll love it. Go get it.