Published by Pocket Star on October 10th 2016
Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo
Follow three best friends who navigate love and independence as governesses in Regency England in this delightfully charming installment in the Governesses series.
Mary Woodward, a young veteran governess, has one job: guiding a young debutante through her first season in high society. And up until now, keeping her focus and avoiding temptation has been easy. But never before has the father of her young charge been as devilishly handsome as the single, wealthy Earl of Asten.... Convinced to risk it all, Mary let's herself enjoy one night of magic at a masked ball in Asten's arms, but will they both regret everything when the Earl learns her true identity?
¬¬Reviewed by AnnMarie¬¬
The Governess Was Wanton is the second book in the ‘Governess’ series by Julia Kelly. I have had the pleasure of reading the first book in the series, but you don’t need to have read it in order to understand and enjoy this book.
This is the story of Mary Woodward. She has been a successful governess for 14 years. She started young when her father had died after bankrupting the family, and her mother ran off to Europe with her new husband, leaving Mary in boarding school without even paying the bill. Mary had to find work in order to survive and being a governess was her choice of vocation.
In this story she takes on the job as the governess to a teenager, Lady Eleanora who is embarking on her first ‘season’. Her father the Earl of Aston, Eric, wants Eleanora to have the best start to that ‘season’ plus he is at his wits ends because she has become very stand offish and upset recently and for the life of him he can’t figure out why. So not only does he want Mary to help with her education, he also needs her help to find out what’s wrong with Eleanora. Mary needs the job because her last ‘charge’ has married and once her ‘charges’ marry, she moves on to her next Governess job. She jumps at the chance to work for the Earl. But she gets more than she bargains for when she has her interview with him and from first look she falls in lust with him. She listens to what her job will entail but she can’t stop thinking of all the sinful things she would like to do with him. Of course she knows she can’t have a relationship with any employer, even one who isn’t married, but it doesn’t stop her thinking her wanton thoughts.
Unknown to Mary is the fact that Eric is feeling just as lustful as she is. He knows too that he can’t have any kind of relationship with her because he’s vowed never to put a person in his employment in a position where she thinks she has to be intimate with him or lose her job. So around her task of becoming friend and governess to Eleanora, there are a lot of lustful thoughts flying around the home.
Mary, at the pleading of Eleanora, attends a masquerade ball with her. She is there to support her ‘charge’ but also has to go incognito, after all, governesses do not attend balls. This is where the book turns into a kind of retelling of Cinderella. Eric sees this masked woman who reminds him so much of Mary. He knows it can’t be her, (it is her of course) but he is still struck with an attraction to her very like what he feels for Mary. They have a tryst in the garden where she won’t tell him her name, and at midnight Mary ends up running away in order to get back home before the ball ends and she is discovered trying to get back in the house. Eric hopes that having released some of his pent up passion that he will be more sensible around Mary, he even tries to find the masked woman because if he can’t have the woman he really wants, then he can at least have somebody that reminds him so much of her.
Will he realise or find out that the ‘other woman’ is actually Mary, or will he forget all about her if he gives in to his desires and seduces the woman he actually wants? And what of Mary, can she still feel lustful towards the Earl knowing that as far as he was concerned he’s had a tryst with another woman? What if they both give in to their desires, how can it work out between them when she is just a lowly governess?
I loved this book, it was a quick read, but so full of content. You had the Cinderella fairy tale to enjoy, but also Eleanor’s season to read about, and the troubles she has thanks to the woman who is her chaperone. And of course there is the sizzling passion between Eric and Mary, the drama of them wanting each other but believing it to be impossible. There is even a nice bit of character building where we learn about their pasts and parents, something a lot of Novella length stories might not pay much attention to.
All in all a thoroughly enjoyable read that I recommend. I am looking forward to the next in the series, which I will also be reviewing.
I voluntarily reviewed an Advanced Readers Copy of this book.