Hallie's Reviews > The Governess Affair

The Governess Affair by Courtney Milan
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's review
May 14, 2012

it was ok
Read in May, 2012

This did not work for me at all, though I can imagine that others by the author might be much more enjoyable, as I liked the touches of humour a lot. Lost for a few reasons:

1) the push-me-pull-you of the romance itself was much too thin to be credible. I could see Hugo's attraction to Serena because of her sheer stubborn courage in standing up to his attempts to break her. I could almost see Serena's having super-extra-insightful-vision enough to see beyond the ruthless and callous behaviour Hugo was famed for. Well, maybe not even 'almost'. But that (view spoiler)

2) there wasn't even the smallest attempt to make this historical (just pre-Victorian era) in anything more than the ways it suited the story: Serena has to be a governess, the historical period dictates that they're pretty powerless, like most servants, so when it's "proven" that she's had sex with someone, she's tossed out on her ear - a fallen woman, and that's the end of her chances of any kind of life. That suited the story, so it stayed. But then Hugo and Serena's language is not in keeping with this historical setting, so it just punctured the illusion of any serious attempt to make this read like 1830s.

3) YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME about what Serena wants from the Duke. (view spoiler)

4) The Duke's wife seems to be treated just as a handy plot point: nothing suggests that Hugo gave a damn about whatever poor (rich) girl he sent the Duke off to marry to save his fortune, but he shows great irritation at the Duke for not actually being faithful to this handy source-of-finance. And at the very end, Hugo (view spoiler)

5) Story is too light to deal with a rape, especially as it was worse than it might have been because Serena was raped and led to blame herself for it. And the resolution of the scars it left her might have been sweet if it had been something much less devastating than a rape that had caused the scars.
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