Title: The Governess Affair
Author: Courtney Milan
Publisher: Courtney Milan
Genre: romance, historical romance
Rating: 2.5/5 stars
Well that was disappointing.
I’ve been making my way through Courtney Milan’s Brothers Sinister series and enjoying the heck out of them. Because I am a completist nerd, I got it in my mind to go back and read some of the novellas.
The Governess Affair is the story Serena Barton and Hugo Marshall, whom I previously met as the parents of Oliver Marshall (the bespectacled hero from The Heiress Effect). Unemployed governess Serena Barton shows up at the figurative doorstep of the Duke of Clermont, demanding reparation for, well, raping and impregnating her, but of course she doesn’t tell Hugo that right away because if she did, there would be no book.
The Duke of Clermont demands Hugo Marshall, his man of affairs, get rid of Serena, telling him that she’s there because of an employment dispute. Serena sets up shop for days on end on a park bench across from the Duke’s house, and Marshall tries all manner of means to make her go away. Sparks fly. Plot happens. They go from enemies to lovers. Hard decisions are made, and everyone ends up happy.
Seems about par for a historical romance, so why am I disappointed? Compared to Milan’s other books, it just felt so… thin and forced. The love between Serena and Hugo is the sort of insta-lust that sets my eyes to rolling. We’re told over and over again how attracted they are to each other, how much they like each other, how they’re IN LOVE, but we’re never really shown. There were a few little glimpses of what I’ve loved about about Milan (the foreplay part of the sex scene was pretty great, as was the flirtation by mail towards the end), but it just didn’t make up for what felt like a contrived plot, thin characterization, and lackluster love story.