The Governess Game is my favorite Governess Romance of all time. Tessa Dare took a trope I don’t normally gravitate towards and made it golden.
The second installment of Girl Meets Duke is Tessa Dare at her best with charming supporting characters, an easy to root for couple, and multiple funerals for someone’s doll ― which is much more fun that it sounds, trust me.
❈ Huge thanks to Avon for providing me with an ARC for Reviewing Purposes ❈
Title: The Governess Game (Girl Meets Duke #2)
Author: Tessa Dare
Release Date: August 28th 2018
Genre: Historical Romance
Content Warning: on page Panic Attack
He’s been a bad, bad rake—and it takes a governess to teach him a lesson.
The accidental governess.
After her livelihood slips through her fingers, Alexandra Mountbatten takes on an impossible post: transforming a pair of wild orphans into proper young ladies. However, the girls don’t need discipline. They need a loving home. Try telling that to their guardian, Chase Reynaud: duke’s heir in the streets and devil in the sheets. The ladies of London have tried—and failed—to make him settle down. Somehow, Alexandra must reach his heart . . . without risking her own.
The infamous rake.
Like any self-respecting libertine, Chase lives by one rule: no attachments. When a stubborn little governess tries to reform him, he decides to give her an education—in pleasure. That should prove he can’t be tamed. But Alexandra is more than he bargained for: clever, perceptive, passionate. She refuses to see him as a lost cause. Soon the walls around Chase’s heart are crumbling . . . and he’s in danger of falling, hard.
the heroine 🔭
I adore Alexandra Mountbatten. No, it’s not only because we share the same first name (well, maybe a little bit). From the moment she dropped her copy of Messier’s Catalogue after being bumped into by Chase in The Duchess Deal, I was enamored.
As an Astrophysics major, I was elated to see how her story played out and how much involved the stars. Turns out when she’s not fixing clocks, Alex searches for comets to sell the discovery of to wealthy aristocrats. It was fun to see her actually sitting for hours staring at the sky because it brought me back to all my late nights in astronomy lab. Plus, there’s some great shout outs Alex gives to other female historical astronomers like Caroline Herschel.
When she’s not searching for comets or fixing clocks, Alex likes to daydream about a certain man (Chase) she met a the bookshop. One of the highlights of The Governess Game was seeing her Romantic fantasies get the better of her. I mean, who hasn’t tacked on the last name of the person their crushing onto their own. Also, there are some AMAZING scenes where her day dreams parallel what actually ends up happening. It was delightful (even if her day dreams didn’t quite match up to the reality of how words were said).
Alex had an American sea-captain for a father and a Filipina mestiza mother. She spent most of her childhood at sea with her father after her mother died. While out at sea, she goes through a traumatic experience and ends up with PTSD because of it. One of the things that I love about Tessa Dare’s books is how often mental health is addressed in a Historical setting. There are depictions of Alex’s panic attacks that stem from that experience, which was nice to see on page.
handling the governess trope 📚
The Governess Game is without a doubt my favorite book with the governess trope. Governess/their boss isn’t a trope I gravitate towards. While I don’t particularly hate it, it’s not the first trope on my mind when I go to pick up a Romance. I was more interested than worried to see how it would be handled in The Governess Game.
Tessa Dare did a really great job handling the power imbalance. There wasn’t a time when it felt insurmountable or 100% uncomfortable. Alex was forward with where she wanted the relationship to go, and Chase was self-aware that he had power in the relationship because of his status.
On the non-power imbalance related side, I loved the relationship between Alex and the kids she was teaching: Rosamund and Daisy. Every Governess Romance I’ve read has the “kids magically like no one but the governess” trope, The Governess Game was on that side BUT it is probably the only time that I actually believed it. I loved how Alex used her life on the sea to teach the kids in an unorthodox way that engaged them. It was evident that Alex cared about the kids beyond just saying that she was. Rosamund and Daisy were one of the reasons why this book was so damn charming. Their development didn’t feel second place or neglected compared to the romantic relationship between Alex and Chase, which was much appreciated.
the side relationships 🔭
When reading Romance, I always look for strong, fleshed out supporting relationships. The Governess Game definitely had those.
I loved the relationships Chase had in particular. As much as he tried to avoid it, Chase obviously loved Rosamund and Daisy. His dedication to attending Millicent’s (Daisy’s doll), funeral every time she died from horrific diseases was endearing. Honestly, those scenes were one of the highlights of the entire book. Also, there’s Chase’s relationship with his half-brother John (although, I do wish we got to see more of it). I enjoyed their conversations and was glad that Alex did get to interact with John a little bit on her own. I love whenever characters, in Historical settings especially, maintain a relationship with their illegitimate~ siblings.
Additionally, Chase gets to interact with Ashbury, the hero of The Duchess Deal. Their interactions were kind of the best thing ever. I’m hoping to see more of them in the next book because GOLDEN!! SeriousIy, it was the best.
I highly recommend The Governess Game to anyone looking for a well handled, charming Governess Romance.
As many women as he’d charmed and seduced in his life, he could honestly say he had never, ever encountered a woman like this one. She rolled a sugar lump back and forth with the tips of two fingers. He wanted to suck those slender fingers into his mouth and run his tongue over them, between them, lapping up the sweetness until she gasped with forbidden pleasure. The fantasy was so vivid, he could taste it.
Perhaps the brandy had muddled his senses.
Or perhaps he couldn’t help wondering how it would feel for a rational, clear-eyed woman to see
Him—truly see him—and still find him worth the risk.His heart clawed up his throat and battered his eardrums, and all because a tidy little governess was taking longer than usual to reject him. Absurd. Stupid, really.
“I don’t want you to kiss me,” she said, “now that I’ve thought it through.”
See? There it was. She was clever enough to see the black, rotted mess where his soul ought to be, and she wanted no part of it.
She lifted her tiny, delicate hand to his cheek.
Her gaze drifted over his face like an apple blossom, finally coming to rest on his mouth.
“I think . . .” She wet her lips. “I think I’d rather kiss you.”
TOUR WIDE GIVEAWAY DETAILS 🔭
To celebrate the release of THE GOVERNESS GAME by Tessa Dare, we’re giving away one hardcover set of The Duchess Deal and The Governess Game!
GIVEAWAY TERMS & CONDITIONS: Open to US shipping addresses only. One winner will receive a hardcover set of The Duchess Deal and The Governess Game by Tessa Dare. This giveaway is administered by Pure Textuality PR on behalf of Avon Romance. Giveaway ends 9/28/2018 @ 11:59pm EST. Avon Romance will send the winning copies out to the winner directly. Limit one entry per reader and mailing address. Duplicates will be deleted.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR 📚
TESSA DARE is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of twenty historical romances. Her books have won numerous accolades, including Romance Writers of America’s prestigious RITA® award (twice) and the RT Book Reviews Seal of Excellence. Booklist magazine named her one of the “new stars of historical romance,” and her books have been contracted for translation in more than a dozen languages.
A librarian by training and a booklover at heart, Tessa makes her home in Southern California, where she lives with her husband, their two children, and a trio of cosmic kitties.