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REVIEW: A Very Unusual Governess by Sylvia Andrew

Dear. Ms Andrew,

After reading so many complaints from UK readers about how American authors screw up Regency era books set in England, I wanted to give you a try and see if there really is a difference. There really is a difference. I could tell immediately from the vocabulary and just the whole, I dunno, tone that you aren’t just Sally American-Author trying to sound like she knows what she’s talking about. There’s not a single “gotten” in the whole book!

A Very Unusual Governess Sylvia AndrewSeriously though, I’m not one who usually enjoys reading books with children who play such a large role (well, in this case really just one child and she’s eleven) but Pip was so much fun and so real. Past the faux lisping stage (mothers, do real children truly lisp as much as romance authors would have me believe?), she was just enough trouble to be believable and just sweet enough that I didn’t want to kill her. But Lisette maybe was just a bit too biddable for a late teenager budding into womanhood. Granted I don’t expect that a true Regency miss would be flipping off her guardian uncle and heading out to the mall but would she really agree to a betrothal just because she thinks her late father wrote a man and told him that?

I think you did a nice job with the hero and thank God, he’s not a Duke. He’s not even an aristocrat! Double points for that. He was just enough put out with suddenly having his two nieces arrive and have to stay with him (and the information that the younger Pip caught him with his mistress was a hoot). And I loved his gradual change of mind and growing desire to look after the girls.

Now, while I was happy that Lady Octavia managed to get away from her too-set-in-his-ways father and be the fake governess for 2 months, and that she didn’t decide to have a torrid night of passion just once so she’d know what she was missing on cold lonely nights for the rest of her life, I think she maybe went a tad overboard in her protestations about the kisses that they did share. It was just a few (granted heated) kisses, not swinging from the chandeliers!

Edward’s toadying sister in law, who suddenly sucks up to Octavia once she knows Octavia is really a Lady and not just a governess, was a nice touch. But I’m afraid that Lisette’s spurned older former fiance needed some work. I just hate villains who suddenly turn from merely unlikable to chewing on the scenery. Subtlety, please. And I also really don’t like the whole plot device of having one of the lead characters become injured in order for the other lead character to suddenly discover that he/she really can’t live without her/him.

So, while overall I enjoyed your “trad regency in feeling” book, a little less melodrama at the end would have worked better for me.

~Jayne

Another long time reader who read romance novels in her teens, then took a long break before started back again about 15 years ago. She enjoys historical romance/fiction best, likes contemporaries, action- adventure and mysteries, will read suspense if there's no TSTL characters and is currently reading very few paranormals.

2 Comments

  1. Tara Marie
    Apr 14, 2006 @ 05:54:12

    mothers, do real children truly lisp as much as romance authors would have me believe? Not that I can tell, but I only have one and he’s very precocious as in the other children in romance stereotype, at least his doting mama thinks so. :)

  2. Jayne
    Apr 14, 2006 @ 06:08:08

    Ah, Tara Marie, I’m sure your little angel is just perfect. Thanks for sharing and the information. You see, I just have one Borzoi and a perfect Persian cat (neither of whom lisp) so while I don’t remember my perfect niece lisping either, I really have nothing to judge by.

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