Kathy's Reviews > The Baron's Governess Bride

The Baron's Governess Bride by Deborah Hale
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's review
Jul 27, 2012

bookshelves: historical-romance
Read from July 27 to 28, 2012

** spoiler alert ** Setting: Nethercross estate in Berkshire, England 1815 -

Class, love, children/family, faith in a better tomorrow, risking one’s heart

Grace Ellerby (from Lancashire) – very beautiful, blonde, vicar’s daughter, horrid stepmother who sent her to Pendagrast school for girls when her father died – a school for vicar’s children – and older girls and especially teachers treated her meanly as she was so pretty; she made 3 very good friends in school; she taught a year at the school, and then had 3 governess positions – all which ended badly when the wrong man took a fancy to her … so for this interview/job she disguises herself, wearing loose, ugly clothes, her father’s glasses, and a bonnet that covers all of her hair. One position especially soured her on love… she thought she was in love with the brother of her boss, but disillusioned when he offered to buy her a house and make her his mistress. Governess a difficult position because not family yet not servant, and if kids complain parents blame governess.
Lord Rupert Steadwell – deeply in love with his wife, who has been dead 4 years; loves living on his estate and seeing to its needs but attends Parliament to do his duty; most recent governess left when she married and his children are saddened; he decides it is time for a governess that will stay till the youngest is grown, and to get a 2nd wife to mother his children and produce a son/heir; he offers job to Grace because she is homely and not likely to be marriageable – and she does seem to like children.
Charlotte -13 years old, interested in running household, cares for youngest, is most snooty to Grace (until she catches Grace without her cap, and gets the true story of Grace).
Phoebe – 10 years old, loves her horse and time in stable, curious, stands up for Grace from the beginning (and vice versa – Grace molds Rupert to offer his daughter small freedoms with larger freedoms as she proves herself worthy – ie, visiting her horse before going to bed – with a maid in attendance).
Sophie – 6 years old, imaginative, likes exploring… clings to Charlotte – until has a nightmare one night, and Grace eases her back to sleep.
Rupert is supportive of Grace, taking her side against the children when called for – and listening to her suggestions… Grace, though still disguised, starts to enjoy her time with Rupert… and as with Cinderella, with the help of children, goes to a masque ball (wearing one of the ancestor’s dresses) to interfere with his proposing to the wrong woman… he comes to her defense when a man gets too frisky… she recognizes him of course, but though she’s familiar to him, he does not recognize her… they spend time talking of love and marriage and philosophy, but at midnight’s display of fireworks, she runs off…
And when he invites the neighbor to propose, she reveals herself to him… though at first angry, he listens and understands her motivation and accepts her apology for not telling him the truth when she did come to trust him… and he keeps his distance, thinking that’s what she wants… but they finally admit their love for one another, and get married… ahhhh
Memorable scenes:
Guides sophie back to sleep by telling her to redirect her dream – step back in, but change it – and she helps her imagine the door to the conservatory, and her father is waiting for her and gladly opens the door for her and they play the piano together…

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