Friday, December 22, 2017

Book Review: 'Rules for a Proper Governess' by Jennifer Ashley


Reading this novel was like coming home and finding old and new friends waiting for me with amazing tales to tell.
Sinclair and Bertie were a wonderful couple. I got a kick out of Bertie making the first move, and the second and I adored Sinclair’s response. I liked the hero’s children and their personalities. I laughed at some of Andrew’s exploits and I had great empathy for Caitriona’s shyness and pain. There is a wonderful family dynamic that is explored and expanded upon that made reading Rules for a Proper Governess a rich and rewarding experience.
Bertie was a treat. I think her charm came from her being willing to go for what she wanted, say what needed to be said and how she just loved everyone around her. She gave everyone a chance and each and every person was a gateway to a new adventure for her. It was delightful watching her grow to love Sinclair and his children.
Sinclair was a tough nut to crack. He was suffering the loss of his first wife and he was acting like an automaton. He loved his kids – he just didn’t LIVE anymore – until Bertie stole his watch and set in motion an amazing series of events that led the hero to rediscover passion, laughter and the determination to fight for the woman he eventually came to love. His journey is one of the reasons this book was such a page-turner.
There’s nefarious side of the tale that dogs the hero’s footsteps. He keeps getting letters that are very disturbing and so far, there’s no clue as to whom it could be. During the telling of the tale, I had an Aha! moment that ended up being right. I enjoy figuring out a mystery, but meanwhile, as Sinclair slowly gets closer and closer to confronting the villains, the suspense and not knowing was delightful as it kept me on the edge of my seat. The scuffle and chase was exciting, well written and quite dramatic. In fact all of the action scenes were well written and effective.
Beware of the seduction. Ms. Ashley has written a very detailed, romantic and extremely sensual love scene when Sinclair introduces Bertie to the passion she has hidden inside. It’s so well done and beautiful that I was moved. Of course Bertie, irreverent as she is, laughs, is delighted and simply embraces the joy and heightened passions as she falls in love for the first time. Bertie’s character makes me smile.
There are quite a few characters that pop in from books past but for me, any time Ian Mackenzie is on scene, I melt. I adore his cryptic comments because anyone who’s read The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie will understand why his saying anything is momentous and special. Ms. Ashley has kept his character true whenever he pops in during any of the novels in this series. His story will always have a special place in my heart so his briefly being in Rules for a Proper Governess was a major treat. True, this book can standalone just fine, but that feeling of family and continuity comes from having read the previous books.
Rules for a Proper Governess is another gem and a must read from the talented Ms. Ashley. I loved it, I enjoyed myself and I heartily recommend it to any romance reader who loves a story about a man who finds love after believing he’d never love again. It’s got it all: adventure, drama, suspense, love, laughter and characters that touch the heart. It’s a keeper.

Editor's note: This article was originally published at Long and Short ReviewsIt has been republished with permission. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.

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