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The Governess Club #3

The Governess Club: Sara

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For fans of Christina Dodd and Elizabeth Boyle.

Sweet Sara Collins is one of the founding members of the Governess Club. But she has a secret: She doesn't love teaching. She'd much prefer to be a vicar's wife and help the local community. But this quiet mouse doesn't want to upset her friends, and she resolves to help in whatever ways she can.

Nathan Grant is the embodiment of everything that frightens Sara. Which is why she can't understand why the handsome but reclusive and gruff man is so fascinating to her. When Sara decides it's time to take a chance and experience all that life has to offer, Nathan is the first person she thinks of.

Will Sara's walk on the wild side ruin her chances at a simple, happy life? Or has she just opened the door to a once-in-a-lifetime chance at passion?

352 pages, Kindle Edition

First published September 2, 2014

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About the author

Ellie Macdonald

8 books52 followers
Ellie Macdonald has held several jobs beginning with the letter T: taxi driver, telemarketer, and, most recently, teacher. She is thankful her interests have shifted to writing instead of taxidermy or tornado chasing. Having traveled to five different continents, she has swum with elephants, scuba dived through coral mazes, visited a leper colony, and climbed waterfalls and windmills, but her favorite place remains Regency England. She currently lives in Manitoba, Canada. The Governess Club series is her first published work.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 30 reviews
Profile Image for Soany.
401 reviews18 followers
October 10, 2018

Definitivamente este libro fue mucho mejor que el anterior y me gustó mucho al igual que sus protagonistas aunque en esos capítulos finales y con los malentendidos o lo orgulloso que fue Nathan quise golpearlo bastante.
Pero fue una lectura que disfrute bastante.
Profile Image for WhiskeyintheJar.
1,256 reviews518 followers
August 23, 2014
3.5 stars

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Sara is an extremely shy individual working as a governess with three of her friends at a school they run. Her father was the local pastor in their small town and her mother constantly berated her about her actions and appearance. As a consequence of all this mental and at times physical abuse, Sara frequently and easily has panic attacks. Whenever she meets someone new or is challenged in a conversation "ants start climbing up her throat" and a "noose" tightens around her neck. This has lead to Sara not speaking her mind and being generally ignored. When Sara first stares into the ice blue eyes of the stranger in town, she feels a desire to be bold for the first time. Nathan couldn't be more different from Sara; he was a very loquacious politician and reveled in all the luxuries and bribes his position afforded him. After a certain bribe is offered to him, Nathan has a self-reflective moment, is disgusted by what he sees, and decides to leave politicking for time in the country.

Ellie Macdonald is a fairly new author and this was the first book by her I have ever read. The beginning and for most of the middle, I found her writing to be thick and luxurious with dollops of humor here and there; she brought to mind shades of how Susan Johnson writes her main characters. This is an extremely character driven story, there is not much happening outside of Sara and Nathan getting to know one another. I like character centric stories, so personally, this was not a problem. Although, around the 65% mark the pace did slow down as the story became over indulgent on its focus of Sara's taught self-loathing.

This started off quite strong as Sara and Nathan were both intriguing. Sara is a highly sympathetic character as her outward actions portray a weak and immensely biddable person but her thoughts convey to the reader a spirited woman wanting to break free. Nathan is all that is dark, broody, and mysterious at the start but while Sara evolved throughout the story, I never felt that Nathan was completely flushed out. Together, they work well as Nathan pushes Sara to express how she feels and in fact blatantly tells her not to let him push her around, even when he doesn't realize he is doing it. I think this story worked the best when we first see the push/pull between Sara and Nathan as they are drawn to each other and then Nathan building Sara up during their week alone together that Sara precipitated by asking Nathan for an adventure.

It is after this week is over that things started to feel rushed as everything wraps up far too quickly. If a story is going to be solely focusing on two characters and their relationship, then those characters have to be incredibly flushed out and like I said, this never happened with Nathan. Nathan never quite breaks away from being mysterious, his political career is never really resolved, and though it is often brought up how he loved his grandma and wants to make her proud, we never gain a true understanding of their relationship. Sara and Nathan's parting and eventual coming together never felt climatic, just abrupt. It was almost like the author had months to write the first half and then one day to write the ending. There is also a bit of a cliff hanger ending but as it has nothing to do with Sara and Nathan but the couple that will be the stars of the next book in the series, it's not a big deal.

The Governess Saga: Sara is a good read with commendable writing and characters you find yourself invested in, the rushed ending just steals away a bit of that magic, though. Ellie Macdonald's enticing writing and enjoyable interaction between Sara and Nathan make her an author I will be keeping my eye on and if you like character driven stories, I would suggest you do the same.
Profile Image for Stevie Carroll.
Author 4 books25 followers
October 11, 2014
Previously reviewed on The Good, The Bad, and the Unread:

I've been enamoured of the premise for this series from the very start, although the first two books didn't quite live up to my expectations for a number of (mostly different) reasons. The idea of a group of governesses banding together in order to support each other and eventually save up the money to open their own school is certainly appealing, but I felt that the romance plots in the first two books, and the actions of the heroes in particular, rather overshadowed the heroines' journeys towards independence, or at least greater self-reliance. Nonetheless, I was keen to find out whether the third book took more of a path towards the story that I wanted to read.

And I'm pleased to say that I'm not disappointed. Although, once again, the hero's background feels a little under-researched, I find Sara a very believable heroine. Having been raised by a clergyman father and a domineering mother, Sara is the first to acknowledge that she isn't that good a teacher, in spite of wanting to help her friends. So she looks after the lessons of the youngest, most easily managed children, visits the poor and sick in the area, and dreams of marrying the local vicar, if he would only notice her as an eligible match instead of being distracted by the other single young women of his parish.

Sara's ideas regarding her destiny take an unexpected battering, however, when she meets Nathan, a former Member of Parliament, who has abandoned politics to seek a less corrupt means of earning spending his time. He lusts after Sara from their first meeting, but she is the one who pursues him, in spite of the flashbacks she experiences – a result of being severely punished by her mother for any minor deviations she made while growing up from the way a proper young woman ought to behave. Convinced that Nathan would never want to marry her, Sara offers him a bargain – to take her away on an adventure so she can experience something of life before she settles down to a respectable life as a vicar's wife. Personally, I see flaws in this concept, and not just the standard Romancelandia tropes of characters falling in love after convincing themselves that they wouldn't. But the plot is very well executed and fits the characters well, especially given that they both have moments of doubt about their plan that are in keeping with what we already know about them.

What I like most about this story is that Sara continues to dictate her own destiny, even after falling in love with Nathan, and it's left to him to decide whether to follow through with her plans or risk losing both her and his chances of happiness, while she seems likely to have further adventures with or without him. The fourth book in the series is due out soon, and I'm very much looking forward to it, after the glimpses we've had of Louisa in this one.
Profile Image for Phoenix77.
347 reviews41 followers
October 27, 2014
I liked the story; however I think I’m getting a bit tired of the plot device of a virginal heroine seeking out the rake to learn all about pleasure before she’s too old. No matter how good the writer is that whole scenario just seems ridiculous to me. The lead into the next story has me very curious…
Profile Image for Lorka .
782 reviews
February 12, 2020
By far my favorite out of the series! For some reason, Sara and Nathan clicked with me way better than the other couples, and I will not even try Louisa's book #4 as she was a sour malcontent. Back to Sara though.... Sara was a sweet, super shy heroine that avoided conflict as much as she could to prevent her panic attacks. It was really interesting to read about her and how she slowly regained her confidence back and seemed to lessen her struggles with panic as she fell in love with Nathan. It would be easy to say that Nathan was an ass... but honestly I think he was perfect for Sara, to be able to reach thru to her, and I also think he reacted realistically to her silence, as he did not know why she would freeze up. I loved how the author was able to show how Sara started to slowly ask questions and show us how she came to realize her mother was wrong in her religious lectures during her upbringing. I also enjoyed this story, as it was a storyline that has never been done before. :)
Profile Image for Annika.
645 reviews45 followers
March 23, 2021
Did not finish. Needed a Governess Fight Club at this point so they could punch Louisa in the face but I guess that is not happening.
Profile Image for Farrah.
1,249 reviews209 followers
September 6, 2014
Another lovely book in The Governess Club series, The Governess Club: Sara was an enjoyable romance. I didn't like it as much as the others, but I still thought it was a good read.

Sara was a great character. She was cripplingly shy, her upbringing making her intensely anxious in any kind of conflict. Because of this, she was often overlooked and overrun by stronger personalities. But, over the course of the book, she slowly faced her fears and was eventually able to make her own way. I thought she was a wonderful heroine.

Nathan, I was a bit conflicted about. I mean, there's really no nice way to say it. He could really be an ass. But, he did have his good moments, where he helped Sara come out of her shell. The thing is, I never felt like he earned his own merit as a character and he honestly would have lost his chance at happiness with the way he was acting, had Sara not finally taken the first step. I didn't exactly dislike him, but he wasn't my favorite hero.

The romance, despite my issue with Nathan, was nice. They were well matched, with Nathan's brashness helping pull Sara out of her shell. They made each other better, which really made the romance work. And, they definitely had some chemistry. Overall, I thought they were a lovely couple.

The plot moved quickly and I was kept interested the entire way through. I wasn't a fan of the inclusion of the vicar who was Sara's suitor. He was a very kind and likable man and he didn't deserve to be humiliated in the way he was. But, other than that, I enjoyed the story and the ending had me curious about what would happen in Louisa's story.

The Governess Club: Sara was a quick, enjoyable read. It wasn't perfect, but I did like it overall. Romance lovers, this might be a book you'll want to check out.

*I received a complimentary copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review
Profile Image for Suzanne.
247 reviews25 followers
June 29, 2019
Dear Ms. Macdonald,

To be honest, I found your story by happenstance on Amazon and investigated further because I really like yellow dresses. Great cover you have there. Still, many gorgeous covers have masked terrible insides, so I never buy a book on Amazon without reading an excerpt. I clicked the ‘Look inside!’ option to perform my due diligence. Just like that, you stole my free time.

Within paragraphs, I was voicing the words out loud, as I often do when no one else is home, unless I’m possessed with a particularly low level of shame (which is usually) and people are in my home and I do it anyway, because I love me and they love me and they have to put up with me.

In any case, I’m one of those who enjoys acting out the characters as she reads them. It��s more fun. But it doesn’t always work, because the dialogue has to be right and the physical and emotional descriptions have to be on target for me to be satisfied. I don’t want to act out bad dialogue (unless it’s very bad, in which case, sign me right up).

It was a pleasure to see such efficient syntax. That might sound like a boring compliment to most, but I’m an editor and I think you’ll understand. Most people don’t even realize it’s happening: the absence of clutter. Without the clutter, every word can strike the reader. Again, I’m not just talking about the mind. I mean everything. A story is not just a story. In the right hands, it’s a full-body experience. I think you have the right hands.

You gave me a complete character with baggage and virtues, all in the length of an Amazon excerpt. I promptly hit the ‘Buy now with 1-Click’ option, and here we are. Only 99 cents? Pfffft.

It was my first time reading a book of yours, and this was apparently the third in the series, so I didn’t actually know what the Governess Club was. I caught on okay, but at times it referenced too much to other plots or characters of which/whom I had zero knowledge. Still, the main characters made up for the mild confusion.

Sara was so gentle and selfless; so reluctant to treat herself or stand up for herself. She was vulnerable—enormously so—but not in an annoying way, which is a tricky balance. I wanted to take her hand and encourage her. I wanted her to know she could be happy and live a better life. I was pleased that Sara came to the same conclusion without much delay.

And then we have Nathan Grant. So unfit for company. So furious at the world and filled with misanthropy. It’s a problematic trope, because in the wrong hands, this is an instant cliche. But I found myself waiting for every word he said, every sneer, every caustic laugh he made through his hatred of people and of himself.

I understood why he left London and politics, and enjoyed that you didn’t rely solely on external means. It wasn’t any failure of his in the political arena that prompted his escape just before the novel’s start. No, it was instead highly internal: a personal disgust of how the people around him acted and manipulated. That disgust turned to self-doubt for his own identity, since he felt like one of them. You took the actions of someone else and brought it all inward, making the hero question the way he lived his life and the sort of man he thought he was. He didn’t know what kind of man he wanted to be; he just knew the kind he couldn’t be anymore.

It was the same dilemma our heroine experienced, except they had wildly different personalities and goals. But they were both trying to figure out what their actions said about themselves as people. They both found themselves lacking and they both wanted to change that. It was harder to figure out how to accomplish that.

I could see, absolutely see the cogs whirling in Sara’s brain as she realized the way she lived her life wasn’t right. It wasn’t what she deserved. The Sara she knew as herself was in conflict with the Sara everyone else saw. Even her dearest friends thought of her as some other, milder, simpler creature. That realization was painful. It was a breakthrough that necessitated change through action, and there we have our plot.

He turned and looked at her, his face unreadable. “You haven’t thought this through.”
“That is likely.”
“You will be ruined.”
“Only if people find out. As you just admitted to a distaste for marriage, I assume you will wish for discretion as well.”
“What about your vicar?”
She swallowed. “We will not speak of him.”
“This will change your life.”
“Isn’t that the point of adventure?”

In Nathan, she found a supporter like she’d never had before. Everyone else tried to help her gain confidence, but they went about it the wrong way, because they didn’t understand her enough. He succeeded in aiding her transformation. He insisted she be the strongest version of herself. To be the Sara he saw; a different woman than everyone else saw, including herself.

“As soon as I offered you some sort of challenge, you backed down. This is your adventure. You came to my house and stood up to me then; if you had not, we would not be here. If this is going to work, you must be able to stand up to me. If you do not, it is no longer your adventure.”

One of the most pleasurable things in a romance novel is watching and expecting the interactions. The first time, the second time, the third, and how everything is tweaked from encounter to encounter. Seeing their perceptions of each other change. Thinking, “Oh, he is going to fall for her so damned hard; I can already see it.” “She’s talking differently. She’s making different choices. He is her personal witness to this transformation.” “They are so right for each other.”

My one major hangup is that they fell in love too fast for my taste. It was way too convenient and pressed for time. I don’t think they experienced enough together to make the claim of love credible. I so nearly believed it. I really wanted to.

Another issue I had was a misunderstanding involved in the last act, where the vicar was just ridiculous and no one spoke up and everyone just denied, denied, denied. No, thank you. The tension was too manufactured and dissipated all too quickly once actual communication happened.

Still, I will be sure to search out your other stories and read them. I had a great time and I look forward to more.

Profile Image for Melanie.
922 reviews29 followers
August 29, 2016
This is the third story in this series and finally first full-sized tale. I was pleasantly surprised in all aspects of it.

The characters were fully realized and complex; the plot intriguing and complex as well; the romance was very realistic and to my liking because it took its time in developing; the pace was just perfect, not too rushed.

Sara was truly one of the most complex characters I've read in a while. I liked that she had many flaws, yet you just couldn't help but like her sweet nature.

Nathan had me a bit confused at the beginning of the story, but his backstory explained much of his behavior and I warmed up to him as the story developed.

In the end, this is a story and a series I do recommend and hope you'll read because its author has a unique and expressive writing voice.

Melanie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher
Profile Image for Lexie.
2,073 reviews297 followers
August 16, 2015
Sara was and remains my favorite Governess Club member. I am acutely aware of what it is like to become so overwhelmed by anxious thoughts that the mere act of breathing is impossible.

Her revelatory moment reminded me of Penelope's in the movie PENELOPE (and in fact much like that character Sara took her love life in her own hands uncertainty be damned).
Profile Image for Jesica.
1,066 reviews8 followers
December 11, 2017
BLOG: WWW.adictaxictoxico.blogspot.com

de los tres protagonistas hasta el momento que he conocido en esta saga, el que mas me gusto fue este, aunque en algunas partes tuve ganas de golpearlo por ser un idiota pero me gusto... :P
Y no puedo creer la autora como termino ese libro, me dejo con ganas de saber como terminara todo en el libro de Louise.
Profile Image for Tin.
340 reviews110 followers
September 17, 2014
Disclosure: I received this review copy via Edelweiss as part of the blog tour. Thank you to Ellie MacDonald and Avon Impulse for the opportunity. Yes, this is an honest review.

* * *

One thing I took away from reading through the entire The Governess Club series by Ellie MacDonald is that there is value and story to the governess-as-heroine. Ellie MacDonald has succeeded in crafting four very interesting women with very interesting stories. Claire was a genteel woman fallen on hard times. Bonnie was born a bastard to a governess-turned-mistress and a titled father. They've both told their stories and married well, but, now it is Sara and Louisa's turn to tell their stories.

I have to admit to being a bit worried about the remaining two members of The Governess Club: Would this be a series about four working girls "marrying up" and marrying well? Would they all be Cinderellas whisked away to a castle by their princes to live happily ever after?

Clearly, the author had very different plans for Sara and Louisa. Different, but good plans. ^_^

Sara is a vicar's daughter and is the most timid of the four women. It was clear from the previous instalments that Sara was more a follower than the leader-type, but it wasn't until her own book that we discover the extent of Sara's timidity: Sara actually suffers from social anxiety and gets "ants in her throat" when a difficult social situation arises. Her friends have tried to help her gain more confidence and courage, and they've been very supportive and protective of her -- but Sara never had problems of courage and confidence, because she had a lot of those two hidden away. Sara's main problem is that she had repressed herself as her mother had expected her to be.

It was truly heartbreaking to read about Sara still being shadowed by her mother's very puritan, very strict instructions. Sara didn't allow herself an excess of anything: not food, not emotion, not words -- she had folded herself up into the tiniest version of herself. It wasn't until she encounters their new neighbour and new owner of Windent Hall, Nathan Grant, that Sara discovers a different version of herself.

"I don't know what you mean," she whispered. "You say things and I don't know if you are sincere or mocking me. It is disconcerting. That is why I stopped speaking."

Mr. Grant raised his eyebrow in question. "Is that so?"

She nodded. "Like when you said it was ambitious of us to open a private school. Do you actually admire us or do you feel we are behaving unnaturally for women and believe we will fail? Others have said as much. And the way you mentioned how I fetch the post and make visits with Mr. Pomeroy. Your tone and inflection made me feel ridiculed for doing such things, even though I enjoy them. I dislike conversations where I have to second-guess everything being said to me."
- loc 611

Nathan has escaped London and all its corruption, seeking to hide in the quiet town of Taft. Our hero is a former politician and self-proclaimed misanthrope who is truly disillusioned with life and with humanity. He's seen and done it all, and he's sick and tired of it and everyone. He has lost the ability to trust and take things at face value and views Sara and the vicar with suspicion, and questions their motives.

There's no villain or mystery or anything external to take their minds off their personal problems: their obstacle is themselves and the ghosts of their pasts. What I appreciate about Nathan and Sara's story is that love wasn't a magical potion that suddenly cured them of all their ills: Sara still suffers from anxiety and guilt and Nathan is still wary of the world, but, in each other, they've found a safe haven and discover the liberating experience of being loved and appreciated and accepted despite all your flaws and failures.
Profile Image for Gaele.
4,079 reviews80 followers
October 9, 2014
The series continues with Sara’s story, one of the founding members of the Governess Club. Earlier installments from Ellie Macdonald have shown us two of the young women finding their loves and happily ever after. Sara is a bit different from Claire and Bonnie in that she is almost selfless in her willingness to go along to get along, unlike her friends who are more of the ‘stir things up’ sort of women.

Ellie Macdonald continues with her wonderful character development, and gives us a slow-starting story where we meet Sara and Nathan in the middle of their own struggles, as they are trying to balance their lives and continue in their own self-imposed prisons.

Sara is painfully panicked at the mere thought of confrontation: she truly has no desire to be a governess, and less confidence in her own wishes or thoughts, but since her friends were so enamored of the plan, she went along. Her own personal desires have been from a difficult and overbearing mother, unused to excess or even great pleasure, she can’t bring herself to contemplate them. Her real dream is to meet and marry a vicar: do good works as his wife and lead a quieter more contemplative life.

Nathan is a former politician who, by his own admission was a rake and a misanthrope. Disillusioned by the corruption, greed, tit for tat favor granting and clutter of London, he has purchased Windent Hall in the tiny village of Taft. He has imposed a hermit-like existence on himself, avoiding most social contact. His time in London has jaded him to people, and left him with no willingness or ability to trust in anyone or anything.

A chance meeting at the Vicarage puts the two in contact, and while Nathan’s brash manner is disconcerting for Sara, she is intrigued by this man who is unlike anyone she has ever met. Nathan is far more used to fawning and chattering women, Sara’s quietude and watchfulness intrigue him. When he realizes that her quiet nature is fear and not stupidity, he attempts to hear her true feelings, poking, prodding and outright questioning. She is slowly gaining in confidence and the ability to speak her mind, and he is realizing that this sweet and good-nature woman is someone he can trust and believe in. And I love that he didn’t downplay the admiration he showed for them in wanting to open a school, even if she was, at first, unsure if it was mockery.

Ellie Macdonald allowed these two to build a relationship that develops with fits and starts, it is in no way an insta-love situation, and there really are questions as to their final outcome since both are changing in dramatic and noticeable ways. Of the four, Sara was the one who instantly had me on her side from the get-go, and Macdonald managed to present her story in a way that felt fitting and appropriate. I really enjoyed this installment, and am sad that the series is coming to an end with the last book and girl from the Governess club.

I received an eArc copy of the title from the publisher via Edelweiss for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.
Profile Image for Miriam.
661 reviews44 followers
October 14, 2014
Sara lives a life consumed with anxiety and obedience. Her mother's screeching voice echoes in her mind each time she does or thinks something "wrong". The penance she seeks after such errors made my heart weep, and I kept wishing for someone to see what she did, for someone to tell her she did nothing wrong. She had her friends, but they knew nothing of the workings of her mind. They only knew she suffered panic attacks and did what they could--in two three four, out two three four--to help her through those. But the reason for those attacks? She hid herself well even from those who loved her.

Nathan arrives in Taft to hide. He gave up his political career after one particular bribe opened his eyes to the lengths some men would go to gain a vote. He arrives in Taft world-weary and wary of his fellow man. He has no use for the people of Taft, especially the vicar who accompanies Sara on an unexpected and unwelcome visit to Nathan's new home, Windent Hall. Sara though, she intrigues him immensely. She's quiet and sweet, the opposite of him completely, but there is something about her that calls to him, something about her that makes him want her in the most primitive of ways.

I adored Sara's strength when she propositioned Nathan. It took guts, and I honestly didn't think she had it in her to say it and go through with it. But she did, and the time she spent with Nathan was enlightening and encouraging to read.

Sometimes it takes the right man to show a woman how strong she really is. Sometimes it takes the right woman to show a man how honorable he really is. Nathan and Sara were that for each other. Their happy ending was well-deserved, was worth the misunderstandings they endured, even if one almost cost them their chance at a happy ending. They grew and changed throughout the story, falling in lust then love with each other before they knew what was happening. The differences in them from beginning to end were immense, but it was nice to see how their love for each other didn't fix their problems. Sara still had panic attacks. Nathan was still wary of others. But that was okay because they had they each other and that was enough to make it through whatever they would face in the future.

***Received from Edelweiss via Tasty Book Tours for an honest review***
Profile Image for Lover of Romance.
2,702 reviews780 followers
August 25, 2014
I Received a ARC copy in exchange for a honest review.

Sara Collins, is one of the founding members of the Governess Club. Sara is shy and reserved. She hates teaching but will do whatever she can to help her friends. Sara grew up with a mother that practically forced her into being the shy woman she is now. Recently she has started to have interest in the new pastor, but while out on visits she meets Nathan Grant. Nathan is a politician and has come from London to find solitude and quiet, until he meets Sara. Nathan sees Sara as a a woman that is just wanting to burst free of passion, and he is more than willing to draw that side of her out. Sara doesn't know why she is drawn to this gruff and overbearing man, but he makes her want to have adventure and not be the shy woman that she hates being now. She just wants to take a little walk on the wild side, but it could cost her everything, even the man she has come to love.

Sara is the third book and I just flew through this one. In fact I was shocked by how much I enjoyed this one. I am starting to really love this new author to Avon Books.I do enjoy governess romances, and I loved the way this story turned out. I felt a kinship with Sara, she is super shy and practically afraid of her shadow but as you get more in the story, you see her inner strength, and you start to get a glimpse of her childhood, and you start to find yourself endeared to her. She definitely will surprise you, she has a deep sense of adventure and passion and I enjoyed seeing it brought out in the least expected times. Nathan Grant is my ideal hero. Even though he has that Alpha personality, you see what a great match he is for Sara. It was fun seeing how he draws her out from her shell and in creative ways too.

I found this story to be lovely and romantic, the type of story that captures your heart from page one. With entertaining scenes, enticing characters, and a plot that is pure romantic fun!!
Profile Image for Jude Knight.
Author 62 books177 followers
October 1, 2014
This was not my favourite of the series so far. Ellie Macdonald makes me believe her characters, and she keeps me reading page after page. But I just didn't particularly like Sara and Nathan. Yes, she describes them beautifully, and explained how they came to be the way they are, but I still found them irritating. This is more about my character than Ms Macdonald's writing, though.

Sara has been a bullied child, and is a repressed adult, still controlled by the internalised voices from her past. Her lust for Nathan is a catalyst for taking back control of her own life, and beginning to do what she wants to, rather than what she has been told she ought to.

Nathan has retreated to the country to hide from the man he has become. Convinced that he is unredeemable, he nonetheless seeks redemption through Sara.

As with the other books in the series, I'd like more. Motives, backstories, and details were hinted at, but not fully realised. I sensed that things were happening for other governesses, but that I wasn't being told about them.

And the book ended as abruptly as its predecessors (and with the same cliffhanger passing the torch to the next governess). This time, the abruptness made me feel that Sara's and Nathan's story hadn't quite reached a happy ending.

Goodness; that all sounds very negative, and I'm not. I enjoyed Book 3 of the Governess Club, and I'm looking forward to Book 4. Still, I'd have given it three and half stars if I could.
Profile Image for Alison.
3,081 reviews119 followers
October 22, 2014
So I jumped right in with the third book in the series because it was very cheap, I didn't really feel I needed to have read the other books although I wasn't really sure why they called it the Governess Club - not exactly a big issue.

So, Sara is severely repressed. The daughter of a vicar, her mother had instilled some very odd ideas of sacrifice and punishment in her which meant she felt unable to speak her mind, contradict, eat when she was hungry etc.she fancies herself in love with the new vicar Mr Pomeroy and would like nothing better than to be his wife and continue helping him in the parish. One day on his rounds Mr Pomeroy and Sara visit a new addition to the neighbourhood, Nathan. Nathan has recently resigned from politics sickened by the corruption and lies. With a limp caused by an accident as a young man, Nathan is in pain and jaded with the world in general.

Yet Nathan's very rudeness allows Sara to speak more freely with him to her so-called friends. I say so-called because they, in the nicest possible way, bully and override her, particularly Louisa.
Profile Image for Alex.
651 reviews76 followers
November 16, 2014
The Deal: Sara Collins is shy and yearns for a quiet life as a vicar's wife, only she can't tell anyone that as she is one of the founding members of the Governess Club. She doesn't love teaching as her friends do, but is willing to do anything she can to help them fulfill their dreams.

Nathan Grant is an ambitious young politician, who decided to spend some time in the countryside after his political career was derailed a bit, and it's then where the two met.

Nathan is adventurous and a bit wild, traits that should usually frighten Sara but instead call to her own wild side, the side of her that was suppressed by her overbearing mother when she was younger and that now longs to break free.

My Thoughts: Sarah's story short and for the most part sweet. She is an interesting character torn between her inner life and her outward persona, which she kind of hates a bit; but she was quite likable most of the time, which is good since this is a very character driven story.

Nathan was okay, but I never felt like I fully got to know him and a lot of things about him were left pretty much in the air. He could also be a real jerk sometimes.

The story works beautifully when they are together, though it can feel slow at times. And I'm not sure I loved the ending, but over all it was a good read.
2,102 reviews30 followers
March 23, 2022
Sara is the worst of the lot so far, since I am not going to read Louisa. From being an emotional cripple and thus a victim, then when rejected by Grant she intended to use the Vicar and marry him on the rebound ergo abusing the other's trust and genuine affection... what a hypocrite! The fact that she did not marry the Vicar but left him mortified at the altar leaving him to reap the public humiliation and perhaps even ridicule from his congregation no less, still does in no way absolve her of any accountability. She should have been honest from the start with or without Nathan's love and/or commitment, because in the first place she did seek her own ruination referring to it as an adventure plus it was useless to blame Nathan... she needed adventure and that was what she got. All her melodrama were not necessary. Again this one kept on using the words "back up" or "back down" in the present day context which I am pretty sure, when I started learning the English language (since this is not my native language) that these were... for example: put her dress up, sit down, lie down... without the insertion of the annoying word "back" and also the BBC, who does mostly beautiful and almost authentic or at least seemingly credible period pieces do not use annoying contemporary words such as these to distort the Timeline and cause a Time Warp.
Profile Image for WTF Are You Reading?.
1,300 reviews87 followers
September 13, 2014
The story of repressed Sara Collins and haunted Nathan Grant, is one that does not seek to grab the reader with flash bang tactics from the first page. Readers are allowed to see both characters at the height of their respective frailties so that the transformative effect of their passion is most thoroughly understood.

Before finding each other, both Sara and Nathan lived lives of self-imposed deprivation. Sara never giving in to even the simplest of desires, and suffering debilitating panic attacks at the mere thought of confrontation.

Nathan, denying himself the comfort of friends, love, or companionship of even the most benign sort.

But when a welcome visit with the local vicar puts the two in each other's sights,
their attraction proves undeniable.

Readers will be surprised and delighted to find that though it is Nathan, who flirts and initiates things, it is Sara who really makes things happen romantically.

And ohh...the romance!
Mr. Grant may be all bark and growel on the outside, but inside, is the very tender heart of a truly caring soul.
Hearts will melt as defenses are lowered and these two find each other and themselves.

And let's not forget that heart-stopping cliffhanger of an ending!
Gotta love it!
Profile Image for Jennifer Schultheis.
1,316 reviews6 followers
September 24, 2014
First, I have to say how much I love the cover of this book, it's absolutely lovely! Ellie Macdonald always has the prettiest covers to go with her engaging stories. Sara's story is book 3 in the governess club series and just like the previous 2, this story is completely captivating.

This story revolves around Sara and Nathan. Both characters are nowhere near perfect, and both have their own issues. Sara comes off shy and confrontation makes her throat tighten. Every time Sara thinks about saying what's on her mind, the voice of her mother enters her head and reminds her to be respectful. Nathan, wants nothing to do with anyone, he wishes to be alone. But of course, this all changes. Sara starts to stand up for herself and starts to do stuff that she actually wants to do, without feeling guilty, and Nathan is more than happy to help her out with that. I just loved when he tells her "The innocent has come seeking corruption and I am to be the corrupter."

I really enjoyed this story and I recommend this author to anyone looking for a romance that will leave you smiling.
Profile Image for Sassy Moms Say Read Romance.
781 reviews14 followers
October 15, 2014

Thank you first of all to Avon and Tasty Book Tours for providing us with a copy of this book so that we could bring you these reviews.

I really enjoyed this series. Ellie did a great job at keeping the reactions and culture of the time period correctly.

Though Sara is a quiet character it is nice to see how Nathan brings her "voice" out of her. She had in my opinion been brain washed by her mother in the past and it was nice to see her break out of it.

Though Nathan is a big of a rough character to like at first, once you know why he is that way it makes it easier to understand. He does have a great heart and lots of love and tenderness underneath it all.

I loved being able to read the Louisa's book afterward because I will warn you this book leaves you in a bit of a cliffhanger.
Profile Image for Kelly.
666 reviews24 followers
October 29, 2014
That was lovely, though the end is incredibly abrupt. If you're looking for an interesting historical romance novel with a timid-to-self-assured heroine paired with a fuzzball-posing-as-an-antihero and you're OK with some editing errors and the repeated use of "misanthrope" (I'm not sure why it bugged me that the hero repeatedly reflects on his misanthropic self as though there's no other word for it or that we need to be told multiple times... we get it. He's cynical. Moving on.), this one's for you.

I loved it because it really focuses on Sara, the heroine, and her journey from being a victim of maternal emotional abuse (be warned: it's there.) to being an active participant in her own life. Sara's got issues, that's for sure, but she's the instigator of much of the book's action, and she saves herself in the end.
Profile Image for Cara.
839 reviews9 followers
August 27, 2015
This book is sweet and beautiful and in parts heartbreaking.
Let’s start with the basics shall we. The book was well written and at times made my knees ache in sympathy (you will understand when you read the book.
I find Sara’s character a little annoying at first with her meekness, but I soon begin to understand her after her background was explained. Nathans character on the other hand I loved from the first moment he was rude to the Vicar! And his character just gets better the more we get to know him. Charles on the other I found annoying from the get go! Then we get to my favorite character Louisa, who is as forthright as every and tells everyone exactly what she thinks with no tack! I love her :-)
I give Sara a very solid and well deserved 9 out of 10.
Profile Image for Jo  (Mixed Book Bag).
2,617 reviews48 followers
September 13, 2014
Sara had that one voice in her head for most of her life and the voice was telling her all the things she should not do. Then she meets Nathan Grant. Nathan has done some things in his past that make him think he is a very bad man. It takes both of them to change and finally realize they belong together. Sara quits listening to that voice and Nathan realized he is a better person than he thinks. I loved both Sara and Nathan. It was fun to watch them change, grow and come to their HEA.
Profile Image for Lindsey.
219 reviews29 followers
October 24, 2014
I have been waiting for Sara's book. I really enjoyed the beginning, it started off really strong and I was loving the read. Then something shifted towards the end and I felt it just ended abruptly. When I turned the page I was shocked to see it had ended. I was hoping for a little more closure.
I will read the next book, Louisa because I have loved Louisa since the beginning but I hope to see a little more of Sara in the book too.
Profile Image for Monique Kelly.
27 reviews1 follower
January 24, 2015
it needed the length to explain and explore Sara's inner conflicts , but it did drag just a bit.
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