Anne Wynter’s job as governess to three highborn young ladies can be a challenge – in a single week she finds herself hiding in a closet full of tubas, playing an evil queen in a play and tending to the wounds of the oh-so-dashing Earl of Winstead. After years of dodging unwanted advances, he’s the first man who has truly tempted her, and it’s getting harder and harder to remind herself that a governess has no business flirting with a nobleman.
Daniel Smythe-Smith might be in mortal danger, but that’s not going to stop the young earl from falling in love. And when he spies a mysterious woman at his family’s annual musicale, he vows to pursue her. But Daniel has an enemy, one who has vowed to see him dead. And when Anne is thrown into peril, he will stop at nothing to ensure their happy ending …
Daniel Smythe-Smith has finally returned from exile on the continent and arrived just in time for the annual Smythe-Smith Musicale, always a highlight in the Ton‘s season, despite the lack of talent. When he spies someone taking the place of his cousin, Sarah, he’s immediately intrigued by the beauty. He really breaks out the charisma, but it’s lost on Miss Wynter, who turns out to be his younger cousins’ governess. Definitely not appropriate, but he just can’t help himself.
Miss Wynter does not want to be noticed. She’s taken great pains to blend into the background. Governesses are not meant to be seen, as a member of the servant class, but her beauty has really hindered her in that respect. When Anne is required to go with the family to the country, to Daniel’s estate with him tagging along, Anne tries to keep her distance from him, but Daniel is determined to spend as much time with her as possible, despite his Aunt’s insistance that he leave her governess alone for propriety’s sake. And then an accident injurs both of them and it seems that the accident was sabotage and Daniel is determined to find out who is after him. Or is someone out to get his Miss Wynter?
This second book in the Smythe-Smith series by Ms. Quinn was quite a lot of fun. Anne had a lot of secrets and we actually find them out sooner than I would have thought. Anne’s past and how she became a governess were relevent and typical to the time, though it does take the bloom off the rose of romanticizing the Regency era. I very much liked Anne, especially seeing how she grew from her experiences and how she handled moving from being the daughter of the peerage to being part of the serving class. I liked how she interacted with her charges, who were great fun, and how she handled Daniel, despite her attraction to him.
Daniel was just like most heroes in Regency romances. Smart, handsome, honorable, and completely undone by a woman even after being subjected to the pressures of the Ton to find a suitable wife. Anne being a governess is not the same as being a maid, but it was still not something that would have been easily overlooked in their society. His time away from England really made him grow up and become less of a frivilous ninny that populated their society at the time. If he would not have been subjected to exile, he wouldn’t have been worthy of Anne and Anne would have found it easier to resist him.
Daniel and Anne together were a lot of fun. Their interactions were sweet and flirty and passionate. Daniel could not resist the pull of his attraction to Anne even though she did nothing to encourage him. He fell head over heels for her, there was never any chance for him. He always saw Anne as a lady, not someone there for his use and disposal, which would be common in that time.
If you’re looking for a sweet historical romance about a couple defying the odds, this is the book for you. I love reading about Regency England and the customs and manners of the time, how repressed they were supposed to be in a time when love did not usually figure into a marriage contract. I like to think that the couples in historical romances defy the odds, where there were actual limitations to what they could do, how they could do it, when and why they would do any given thing, or risk being ostracized or worse. And Ms. Quinn is a master at making you fall in love with each couple and making them deserve each other. If you don’t believe me, read any of her Bridgerton series.
P. S., I forgot to mention, I am on pins and needles waiting for the third book in the series, about Hugh and Sarah. Ooh, I am so very anxious for it. May is too very far away. I really hope the world doesn’t end in December and this is one of the main reasons why.