Sunday, October 12, 2014

The Game and The Governess by Kate Noble

The premise was probably never going to work for me so I'm surprised I finished it.

Ned is a devil-may-care lord, he has two friends from the Napoleonic wars who have to work for their livings, and one of them, John Turner has agreed to be his secretary.  After several years John has gotten pretty sick of Ned's airs and lack of awareness of anyone else's needs but his own.  He bets Ned that if he were not an Earl he wouldn't be able to attract any female attention.  Ned believes his naturally sunny disposition is what truly makes him so popular and agrees to trade places with John for two weeks.  If Ned can attract no damsels as a lowly secretary he must pay John 5000 pounds.  If he can attract a ladylove he gets John's family's mill (which is currently shuttered after a fire and various other dratted bad luck).

The details of Ned changing places with John are quite interesting actually, and the writing is very good, but the romantic relationship had a hard time being at all central to the book.  The heroine is the governess and is smart enough to not be messing around with Ned as the secretary.  Eventually they do spend some time together through strange machinations but the consummation feels very forced given who these characters are.  No there is no actual force, just doesn't ring true to their characterization.

That's the heart of the rub, the author is talented enough at characterization to not make them do things that don't make sense, and is true enough to the time period that our heroine would never put herself in a compromising situation with our hero.  Yes, romance novels are unrealistic but the true craft of them, I suppose, is not rubbing our nose in that suspension of reality necessary for a historical romance to unfold.

Anyway, I would try this author again but this book was very meh.

Historical Romance 2014: 2 out of 5 poisoned tarts.  

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