THE GOVERNESS AFFAIR is the fourth Courtney Milan book that I have plowed through this month. I regret nothing about this experiment, except for the fact that I have gone through all the books of hers that I already owned, so any further binges must be put on hold until I am able to obtain more books. Booooo.
GOVERNESS AFFAIR is the direct prequel to THE DUCHESS WAR. I think it could be read as a standalone, but reading it was also interesting in hindsight because it fleshed out some of the characters who were only alluded to in DUCHESS. This book is about the parents of one of the characters in THE DUCHESS WAR.
Hugo is known as the Wolf of Clermont because the Duke only has to snap his fingers before Hugo comes running in to deal with whatever problem is at hand. When a strange woman shows up one day, staging a quiet, sit-down protest outside of the Duke's estate, Hugo is surprised to learn that this quiet, not classically beautiful woman, is the latest problem.
Serena has good reason to hate the Duke, and she is determined to see that his dastardly deeds do not go unpunished, even if it means she has to wage war upon his intermediary first. The battle between Hugo and Serena is a battle of wills, and even as Hugo makes his attempts to crush her rebellion, he is curious to find out what, exactly, his employer has done to warrant such wrath.
I liked this book a little more than I did TALK SWEETLY TO ME, but that's mostly because of Hugo. Hugo is an amazing love interest. He's not quite as passive as most beta heroes, but he isn't exactly an alpha hero, either. I liked the power he had, and how he chose to wield it. Even though he was working for a bad man, he did not let that tarnish his personal sense of honor. Also, the sex scenes in this book are very good, featuring one scene in particular that was very inventive in how it went about showing that consent in sex can be very sexy, indeed.
I'm sorry to say that I did not particularly like Serena at all. I think she was probably my least favorite heroine out of all the Milan books I've read, which makes me unhappy, especially considering what this character had to go through. My problem her was that she struck me as very immature and a little petty. I would have liked to have seen her anger more fully realized, and to have gotten a better sense of her character beyond the victim mentality and the half-cocked quest for revenge.
That said, I enjoyed her banter with Hugo, and it was great to see her learn to trust again.
P.S. Milan seriously has the best romance novel covers ever. Just look at all those fabulous jewel-toned dresses on the covers. Looking at all the books she's published is like looking at a rainbow - especially in the new, as yet unpublished remainder of the Worth series.
GIVE THEM TO ME NOW.
3 out of 5 stars.