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The Game and the Governess

(Winner Takes All #1)

3.40  ·  Rating details ·  1,071 ratings  ·  217 reviews
Trading Places meets Pride and Prejudice in this sexy, saucy romance—first in a new series from the author of YouTube sensation The Lizzie Bennet Diaries.

Three friends. One Wager. Winner takes all.

The Earl—‘Lucky Ned’ Ashby. Pompous, preening, certain that he is beloved by everyone.
The Miller—John Turner. Proud, forced to work as the Earl’s secretary, their relationship g
Mass Market Paperback, 384 pages
Published July 29th 2014 by Pocket Books (first published July 22nd 2014)
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Average rating 3.40  · 
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 ·  1,071 ratings  ·  217 reviews

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Jul 15, 2014 rated it did not like it
This was not for me at all.

Took more than halfway through for the hero and heroine to meet, hero was immature and unlikeable for 90% of story. Never felt the main couple had any passion together and the overall story fell flat because of lack of anything going on. Really, the main problem was the hero, if you can even call him that. I was never interested in his redemption and that being the main point of the story, well you see why it didn't work for me. I ended up speed reading because I didn
Andrea AKA Catsos Person
I liked the story and its execution, but I have a quibble.

I prefer a good-looking heroine. This one was not.

I did not care for the narration.

The voices the narrator used were annoying and some of them weren't varied enough for me.

I will conclude by saying that I liked this title well enough that I intend to obtain a copy of the next book in the series as none of the libraries that I use have it in their collections.
Mary - Buried Under Romance
4.5 stars rounded to 5 stars

Brilliant. Marvelous (this is a bit of an inside joke). While the romance was slow to start, the characters were given much room to develop. The setup, too, needed time to be properly introduced.

The romance aspect (beginning hero and heroine interaction) started at ~30%, yet it was quite well done and enjoyed the story immensely, though I do feel compelled to point out its rushed ending, and its dire need of an epilogue.

Still, this is a very good read...Review to co
Anna (Bobs Her Hair)
Feb 24, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Historical Romance - light plus
3.5 Stars - A Heroine to Love

At the age of seventeen, Phoebe Baker experienced a change of fortune. It led to the loss of her father and left her nearly without means to survive -- all this due to one earl’s inaction. Employed as a governess, Phoebe works toward changing her circumstances. She will build a new life in America with the money she has saved. If only her hostile words in an old letter don’t return to haunt her.

Lord Edward Granville, the Earl of Ashby, also experienced a change of f
Phoebe Baker has reason to despise the Earl of Ashby. She feels he is to blame for her change of fortune that causes her to be forced to find a position as a governess. So when the Earl of Ashby, aka Lucky Ned, and his friend/secretary, John Turner, turn up at her employer's home she is less than enthused. However the Earl and Mr. Turner have switched places. Mr. Turner believed that the Earl's position and rank make it easy for him to attract the fairer sex. So a wager is put in place. The Earl ...more
MAB  LongBeach
The Earl of Ashby is a very lucky man. This has made him arrogant, thoughtless, and a bit of a bully. When his secretary and former army buddy challenges him to a wager, the two trade places for two weeks. If Lucky Ned can successfully woo a gentlewoman, he wins Turner's damaged mill. If not, Turner wins enough money to restore said mill and leave Ned's employ. Neither of them has any thought for the consequences.

I don't think one is supposed to spend the first half of a romance novel eagerly aw
Apr 02, 2014 marked it as dnf  ·  review of another edition
DNFed at 10%

Tried this in audio, tried this in ebook and just couldn't take it. The hero is a clueless buffoon with a bitter "friend" who seemed more envious than anything.
First off, I prefer Edward, or even his title Ashby, over Ned because all I see is Ned Flanders when I see that.

Anyway, I liked that the author showed the change between Edward at the beginning and Edward at the end. He was so insufferable at the beginning and I totally got Turner's frustration with him.

A good portion of this book is groundwork for the next one. Edward doesn't even start to pursue Phoebe until just under the halfway point. Their romance is rather sweet, if a little boring, and i
Jun 26, 2016 rated it liked it
So I picked this book up before I read The Lie and the Lady and after reading it, I was going to get rid of this one, I had it on the to get rid of pile, I was so disgusted with Lettie. But my book OCD picked up and wouldn't let me do it. So I started it and if I just focus on Ned and Phoebe then it wasn't bad and yes the wager is stupid as heck. But we need a vehicle so Ned and Phoebe can meet, so I don't put the onus of the book on that part of it. But then there is the horrible Lettie and her ...more
Jun 18, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was more like a 3.6
There are good things but the fact that through most of the novel the male protagonist was so deceitful and manipulative for basically selfish reasons didn't resonate well with my enjoyment of the story. There is redemption but this wasn't as smoothly solved as I could imagine.
Blodeuedd Finland
The premise is...well I honestly want to kick Ned and John in a very private place. The game was a really crappy thing to come up with.

They change places, John Turner pretends to be an Earl. But he will start to fall for someone and he is just a miller (but his book is book 2.) He does seem like a good person except when he tries to ruin things for Ned.

Ned, oh yes, he is way too sure of himself and is all look at me. Now he has to pretend to be a secretary. And win the hand of a lady of birth. B
Jul 23, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: netgalley
The story of Ned and Phoebe, just okay.

This was a hard book to get into. The set us is of an Earl who swithes positions with his secretary. All to prove a point of who can really woo a woman (Position or personality) and a wager was set.

Ned, I thought was okay, but I had a difficult time liking him. He just didn't seem authentic and a shallow character.

Phoebe, she was somewhat boring, somewhat sweet, but boring. Also, she just didn't seem very happy (I know her circumstances where not the grea
 Danielle The Book Huntress (Wants to Read More)
This is well-written and has an authentic feel for a Regency romance, but the male lead, Ned, isn't very likable for a significant portion of the book, and Phoebe's personality seemed too buried under governess reserve, so I didn't bond as much to either of them. For that reason, I would have to give this one a 3.5/5.0 star rating.

Reviewed for Affaire de Coeur Magazine in the August 2014 issue.
Sep 11, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've given this a B for narration and B for content at AAR.

The Game and the Governess
is a very strong start to Kate Noble’s new series, wherein she takes a seemingly trite plot and turns it into a compelling story which is by turns funny, charming and poignant.

The story opens upon Miss Phoebe Baker on her final day at the exclusive school where she has been a pupil for the last few years. Her father’s fortune has been lost in an ill-advised business deal, and his demise followed shortly afterw
Vikki Vaught
It’s been several years since I have read a book by Kate Noble, and I had forgotten how much I enjoy her writing style and unique storylines. When an opportunity came up to purchase the audio version for a great price, I took advantage of it. I am so glad I did. The Game and the Governess is an enchanting love story.

Phoebe Baker lost everything at seventeen and is now a governess instead of a debutante. Years later, she’s still a governess, but she still has her dream of going to America where h
Marcela (BookaholicCat)
Originally posted at The Bookaholic Cat

The Earl of Ashby also known as Lucky Ned, believes his luck with the ladies has everything to do with his charm and not his title. One of his best friend and secretary (John Turner), wants to prove him wrong and challenges him to a wager, in which they will change places for two weeks, two weeks for Ned to pretend to be Mr. Turner and make a gentle woman fall in love with him.
The stakes are high, but Ned is sure that will be an easy win and accepts gladly.
Lynn Spencer
Aug 31, 2014 rated it really liked it
Certain authors have a confidence of voice that comes out in their writing, and I count Kate Noble among that number. In The Game and the Governess, she takes on what could have been an overly contrived setup, delivering both a comedy of manners and a touching love story.

Readers meet Phoebe Baker, the heroine, first of all. In a grim prologue, we learn that her father has died, she has stayed in her boarding school on sufferance, and now must go to work as a governess. Oh, and for mysterious rea
Feb 23, 2016 rated it liked it
Whenever I read a romance where the plot hinges on a secret I find myself bracing for the emotional upheaval of the reveal. This was no exception. The reveal is rather late in the book, and most of the emotional backlash happens off the page, meaning I'm still mad at him, but she's ready to forgive.

Kate Noble's lovely writing always elevates the experience of reading her books, however in this case it didn't elevate it quite enough. The hero, Ned, is selfish, privileged, self-centered, and obli
Mar 19, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: a-noble
Just didn't work for me. Disappointing because I generally like the works of this author. Having built up a big dislike of the hero in the early chapters, I never could swing forward to rooting for him. As others have written, there was lackluster chemistry between the protagonists and little believable romance.

Al George
Oct 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
All I'm saying on this one, is Turner, I still don't like you. You were NOT a good man nor a good friend. Other than that whole life saving during the war bit. Friends like that? Sometimes they hurt.

Feb 17, 2021 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed the last series of Noble's that I read and this likely suffered by comparison. Standard trope-y romance setup but I was hoping for really likeable characters that developed throughout the novel. While they did somewhat change and grow, I felt like it was very slow to get underway and so while the characters grew individually, the story of the couple wasn't that enticing. I do love how strong her women are though and it was never really cringey and never actively made me angry, w ...more
Feb 28, 2017 rated it did not like it
dnf at 50% because I just don't care about a single one of these characters. ...more
Jun 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
Dear Ms. Noble,

An egotistical hero doesn’t usually spark my interest. I didn’t need another narcissistic Prince Charming. Seen it all a million times, and my immediate reaction is: Meh. However, the success of an overused archetype is due to an author’s treatment of it. The way you painted Ned in words, you made him vulnerable in his egotism, and that is why it worked.

His friends harbored a veiled resentment for him, believing he was only well-received because of his title. His exasperation at t
Jun 19, 2014 rated it really liked it
The author does a wonderful job infusing humor and heartache in this story and I am excited for more of these three friends.

Phoebe Baker is about to change her life, she has spent the last five years at school but now that her father has died, she must leave. Without her father to champion her, the head of the school knows she does not belong and as she begins a new life as a governess she blames one man for the monetary losses her father encountered that led to her fall from society, the Earl o
Chris  C - A Midlife Wife
This book is a fun twist on the plot about trading places. A bored earl and his best friend travel for a stay to the earls birth place for business and decide on a little wager. Sounds harmless, in the beginning. The author takes this to a new level with a look at the boredom of the entitled with plenty of twists along the way.

There are some things about this book that annoyed me. For one, I did not like the main male character, Ned, at all. For most of the book, I wanted to smack him. It was ha
Jan 13, 2015 rated it liked it
This was an entertaining, if sometimes off-putting, read. On the whole, I enjoyed this very much. The author has a witty turn of phrase and subtle sense of humor. But it did take a while to warm up to the hero, Ned. Initially, I found myself comparing him to a small puppy – loud, boastful, and selfish with a “look at me!” attitude. NOT attractive characteristics for someone meant to play the hero’s role. But this initial impression paved the way for a subtle shifting and transformation into a ch ...more
Jul 23, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: noble-kate
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 29, 2014 rated it really liked it
I am in awe of Kate Noble's writing! This was such a well plotted book, I loved the story of Ned and Phoebe. The reason for the four stars is because there were minor story lines that were left unfinished. I would have loved to read another chapter or an epilogue to find resolution instead of the abrupt ending. Honestly, I want to find out what happened to Ned's mother's cottage.

The story is mostly from Ned's point of view and it is very refreshing to have this different perspective. Ned is a v
Jun 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing

The plot went in a different direction than I had anticipated based on the opening scene (no revenge plots, thwarted by love or otherwise) and the main female protagonist didn’t, I felt, get enough stage time, but it was an excellent story as we see a character forced to examine his privilege, with the story set in a delightfully bucolic Austen-esque setting, chock full of women, young and not-so-young, chasing after the two M’s – Money and Marriage.

I thought about the main male protagonist and
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Kate Rorick

Kate Noble is the national bestselling, RITA-nominated author of historical romances, including the acclaimed Blue Raven series and the Winner Takes All series. Her books have earned her numerous accolades, including comparisons to Jane Austen, which just makes her giddy.
In her other life as Kate Rorick, she is an Emmy-award winning writer of television and web series, having writte

Other books in the series

Winner Takes All (3 books)
  • The Lie and the Lady (Winner Takes All, #2)
  • The Dare and the Doctor (Winner Takes All, #3)

News & Interviews

  Jordan Morris is a comedy writer and podcaster whose credits include @Midnight, Unikitty! and Earth to Ned.  The sci-fi comedy Bubble is his...
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