The Governess Affair by Courtney Milan

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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…

Rating: A

This novella was just short of perfect. Serena and Hugo were quickly established as being stubborn yet broken; two lonely people who were single-mindedly determined on a specific outcome which was what was keeping them going in difficult circumstances.

Their interactions were by turns intransigent, flirtatious (the scene where they are exchanging notes is fabulous!) and tender; Hugo, while protesting his lack of fairness is nonetheless kind and caring; while feeling himself to be unworthy demonstrates time and again that he is a safe pair of hands.

This is a couple I can really imagine living “happily ever after” – although I was surprised that they never properly discussed Serena’s pregnancy and the fact that Hugo would be taking on another man’s child.

Still, The Governess Affair is a superb read; romantic, sexy, funny and emotionally satisfying.

Review edited 21 March 2013 to add:

I’ve just finished listening to the audiobook of this, and thoroughly enjoyed it. It’s narrated by the superb Rosalyn Landor (Honestly – I have a serious girl-crush on those velvety tones!) who gives Hugo just the right gruffness and hint of Yorkshire accent. Her ‘regular’ story-telling voice is lovely, too – deep and well-modulated, so you’re not suddenly jolted out of the story when the character voices switch to narration as I’ve found happens with some readers.

It’s about £8 on Audible and well worth it.

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