Book Review: The Governess Affair by Courtney Milan

Title: The Governess Affair (Brothers Sinister #0.5)
Author: Courtney Milan
Year: 2012
Pages: 134
Dates Read: May 24-26, 2017
Format: Kindle
Genre: HR
Rating: ★★★

Summary: Hugo Marshall earned the nickname “the Wolf of Clermont” for his ruthless ambition—a characteristic that has served him well, elevating the coal miner’s son to the right hand man of a duke.  When he’s ordered to get rid of a pestering governess by fair means or foul, it’s just another day at work.

But after everything Miss Serena Barton has been through at the hands of his employer, she is determined to make him pay.  She won’t let anyone stop her—not even the man that all of London fears.  They might call Hugo Marshall the Wolf of Clermont, but even wolves can be brought to heel… (Amazon)

Although it is well planned, the plot feels a bit rushed, but I expected that, considering that it is a novella.  There isn’t enough room for us to get to know the characters–or for the characters to get to know each other, or even themselves, really.  Because of this, the romance was a bit unbelievable.  I can totally see it happening between Hugo and Serena, but I think another 50-100 pages would have given it enough space to further develop their relationship.  Despite this, I do like the purpose of the novella.  It sets readers up for the series to follow it and introduces us to the male leads of the three subsequent novels.  It also gives us the background we would have otherwise needed to be repeated in each book.  I suspect the main novels could be read without this prequel, but I’m sure it adds depth to the stories, even if there wasn’t quite enough in the novella itself.  I love the way Hugo was with Serena.  He knew she had been raped and wasn’t going to encroach on her personal space without her permission.  Also, the game with the hair pins was just precious.  I did like their relationship, but, as I said, it could have benefitted from a bit more rising action in the story.

Overall, I like the way Milan writes, and I’m definitely going to check out the rest of the Brothers Sinister series.

Favorite Quotes:

  • She’d been weak three months ago, when the duke had first found her–dropping her eyes for every man simply because he was bigger and stronger, holding her silence merely because it was improper to scream. Serena was done being weak (14).
  • I’m not afraid of you, she thought.  And if the clamminess of her palms declared otherwise, there was no need to tell him that (14).
  • He gave her a friendly, unassuming smile.
    She did not respond in kind.  She wasn’t nice, she wasn’t easy, and she was done being a target.  She gave him a pointed look–a raise of her eyebrow that signified don’t you impinge on my time (15).
  • There were no fates worse than death.  There were only temporary setbacks on the road to victory (81).
  • Serena had almost hoped that Freddy would stay angry.  Instead, she was hiding behind a façade composed of the commonplace (85).
  • He’d never given much thought to the possibility that wenches who were gotten with child ended up having them (133).

(Oh, and just so you know, this novella is free in the ebook format!)

Amazon | Library | Overdrive | Goodreads

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