A governess and a duke?!?!? Who would have thought?!? (except everyone who reads historical romance lol) I really liked how many different layers this book had. It wasn’t just romance (although, that is always enough for me!). There’s looking for a long-lost father, missing journals, a possible secret map, and the mission to open a hat shop!
But before I give it all away, let’s get to the review!!
Synopsis (from Goodreads):
Tessa James has worked and planned tirelessly to open her own millinery shop. All she needs now is a loan from the lord who sired and abandoned her. The only problem is, she doesn’t even know his name. What’s a woman to do to find him but enter the aristocratic world by becoming a governess?
Guy Whitby, the new Duke of Carlin, has returned to London after years abroad to discover that his young daughter Sophy has become a wild-child known for scaring away every governess who’s crossed his doorstep. When Tessa James applies for the job, he hires her in desperation despite his misgivings that she’s too bold and beautiful–and that she might be fibbing about her qualifications.
Their blooming attraction leads them on a completely unexpected path to love that neither wants to deny. But when an old enemy threatens Guy’s family, their forbidden romance goes up in flames. Can they still learn to love and trust each other as forces try to tear them apart?
The story begins with Tessa James finding out that the Duke of Carlin, Guy Whitby, has lost another governess. It’s like…the fifth?? How bad could the kid be that the governesses keep quitting?!? But Tessa has a plan. She is sick of her job at the hat shop. She’s put down and abused on the daily and if she wants to open her own hat shop, she’s going to need to make more money.
But is she a governess or trained at all? No, but that won’t stop her. She lived in an orphanage for years and knows how to take care of children even when they’re being unruly.
So, she makes up a story and tricks her way into the house and guess what?? She gets the job! She can hardly believe it. Yes, Sophy is definitely going to be a challenge but she is up to the task.
While she’s teaching Sophy how to be a little more refined, she ends up spending time with Sophy’s father, the Duke. And it eventually turns into a hell of a lot more than talking despite the fact that he thinks she’s lying about who she is and her qualifications.
During this time, Tessa is also on the lookout for any information about her father. She’s never met him but based on what her mother said when she was dying, she knows he’s in the upper echelon of society and she plans to use the Duke’s connections and his library to figure out who he is. Tessa plans to ask her long-lost father for a loan so she can reach her ultimate dream: opening a hat shop.
But Tessa’s truth eventually comes out and the Duke is none too pleased. Fortunately, Tessa has already made a lot of progress with Sophy so qualifications or not, she can clearly do that job. And if he has feelings for her or thinks she’s beautiful, well that’s…whatever.
The Duke has other things to worry about when someone breaks into his home and steals his journals from his journeys abroad. While there isn’t anything valuable in them, he still wants them back. The person who stole them is likely looking for a map to a hidden pirate treasure and he expects they have nefarious motives.
Despite all this, Guy and Tessa form a strong bond, but can he put society’s expectations that he marry someone of high rank behind him? And can Tessa accept that she belongs in his home and his life no matter how she grew up?
Tessa and Sophy were definitely my favorite characters in this. Tessa takes no prisoners. She barges into that house and while nervous, tells the Duke what she can do. And she does not let Sophy get away with anything. And it’s a good thing because taking away the scissors from Sophy (she was cutting up books) ends up saving Tessa’s life!
And Sophy is a little spitfire. At the beginning, she has no rules and wants to do whatever she wants, but as Tessa learns more about her, about her past, and gives her some rules, she becomes happy and so completely wonderful. Such a cute bean!
While I generally liked Guy, there were some moments where I was like “cool your boots, my dude! You will not tell her what to do!!’ But luckily, he comes around in the end and admires Tessa for exactly who she is.
I am giving When a Duke Loves a Governess 3.5 out of 5 stars. If you like historical romance with well-developed heroines, I really think you’ll like this one!
When a Duke Loves a Governess by Olivia Drake is available now!
Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for the free eARC in exchange for my honest review.
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