Katherine Coble's Reviews > A Governess for the Brooding Duke

A Governess for the Brooding Duke by Bridget Barton
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's review
Dec 11, 2017

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bookshelves: ku-dec-2017

** spoiler alert ** 2.5 stars.
Barton writes well and her books are generally good reads.

This one was half good, half "what just happened?"

I think Barton was trying to be interesting and not tell the same old Governess story. But the book honestly was just WEIRD.

The first 65% is largely about a vendetta the housekeeper and butler have against all the governesses. (Our heroine is the fourth governess in six months.) The reason for this vendetta is never explained, even though the reader is required to sit through page upon page about cold wash water and burnt toast. We can assume, I suppose, that the senior household staff resents a newcomer whose household status is elevated above theirs. But when something is given so much space in the narrative the reader shouldn't have to assume.

The other focus of the first 65% of the book is, oddly enough, the Welsh language. I appreciate the effort and research that went into it but was singularly annoyed with Barton's choice to step right up to the line and yet ultimately refuse to give readers all the information. She says that the Welsh alphabet has surprising pronunciations. Yet she never explains any of them. [dd is "th", for example.] Since Wales and Welsh become such huge plot points and the Welsh language is rendered several times in dialog this would have been a service to the readers who, unlike me, don't read Welsh.

And then we have the last 35%. All of a sudden--and it happens out of the blue--the governess is in love with the Duke. He fires her and so, like all penniless governesses without a situation, she travels to Wales to find the answer to his brooding and the key to his heart. As much as this strains credulity it would have been far easier to take if there had been just a wee bit more building of romantic tension between the two. We should have spent less time on crumbled pound cake and more time on situations where the Duke and governess interact in such a fashion as to make the "I love you" a satisfying resolution instead of a "Wha?!?" Moment.

By the epilogue the two are married and pregnant and vacationing in Wales (okaaay) BUT WE NEVER GET A SATISFYING RESOLUTION TO THE SERVANTS' BULLYING. Yes, there's a scene we are not shown but told about later where the Duke puts a stop to the burnt toast. But that's it. For something that comprised such a HUGE portion of the narrative we should have seen a conversation where the Duchess either dismissed or magnanimously forgave her tormenters. This obviously frustrated me.

This is the second Barton book I've read. I enjoyed her Beauty and the Beast pastiche, and was hoping other books would be of similar quality. Sadly this one isn't.

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Reading Progress

December 11, 2017 – Started Reading
December 11, 2017 – Shelved
December 11, 2017 – Finished Reading
December 19, 2017 – Shelved as: ku-dec-2017

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