~ Strangely quiet, yet wonderfully intense historical romance - the H&H inexplicably feel so right for each other (4.5 stars) ~
AN UNLIKELY GOVERNESS was a strangely quiet yet wonderfully intense historical romance. The characters were much sadder and lonelier than one usually finds in this genre; even when authors try to make their characters the "loner-type," I don't think they succeed as well as Ranney does here.
SUMMARY (from inside page):
"Impoverished and untitled, with no marital prospects or so much as a single suitor, Beatrice Sinclair is forced to accept employment as governess to a frightened, lonely child from a noble family - ignoring rumors of dark intrigues to do so. Surely, no future could be as dark as the past she wishes to leave behind. And she admits a fascination with the young duke's adult cousin, Devlen Gordon, a seductive rogue who excites her from the first charged moment they meet. But she dares not trust him - even after he spirits them to isolation and safety when teh life of her young charge is threatened.
Devlen is charming, mysterious, powerful - and Beatrice cannot refuse him. He is opening new worlds for her, filling her life with passion ... and peril. But what are Devlen's secrets? Is he her lover or her enemy? Will following her heart be foolishness or a path to lasting happiness?"
NOTES ON ABOVE SUMMARY:
~ There's never a question as to whether Devlen is her lover or enemy: he becomes the former and he's never the latter. Also, he's never untrustworthy - I don't know why they always try to confuse and mislead in the summaries!
~ Robert, the 7-year-old duke who is Beatrice's charge, is actually under Devlen's father's guardianship and he is one of the questionable characters. If Robert died Cameron Gordon would become the Duke and though he may be confined to a wheelchair, he could still be orchestrating the attempts on Richard's life ... so is he?
~ There is also the interesting and tragic (though disturbingly so, you'll discover), character of Cameron Gordon's wife, Rowena.
~ Just my own PS: no major taking-over-the-plot-to-the-point-that-you-want-to-shoot-one-or-both-of-the-main-characters misunderstandings here! (There's a small one at the end, but it only lasts a few pages, is necessary for the plot, and is quickly resolved). Beatrice and Devlen are actually refreshingly honest with one another - it's one of the greatest things about their relationship and this book IMO.
For the first 20 pages or so I was not sure whether I would even like the book; I loved Beatrice and Devlen immediately, but their initial interactions were somewhat strange and I wasn't sure I would find their romantic relationship believable or compelling. It was like they were strangers meeting for the first time but they'd known each other their whole lives (if that explains it and doesn't make me sound crazy), which is why I was somewhat doubtful at first. I quickly realized how wrong I was, though, and if anything it only made their relationship more authentically intense; all in all they were absolutely amazing together and perfect for one another.
The supporting characters were very compelling and the mystery remained one until the end - I was never really sure who was behind the attempts on Robert's life. If anything, I would have liked some more clues as to who it was, because the reader ends up being almost too surprised. I was never sure about whether the other secondary characters were "good" or "bad" and of course nothing ended being that simple; they were all very three-dimensional and interesting.
Robert, the young duke, was a wonderful addition to the story and provided several humorous moments. Ranney did a wonderful job of writing a young boy who is wise beyond his years and has had to grow up too fast, feels alone and abandoned, covers his fear and loneliness by acting out, but essentially is a sensitive, perceptive, and clever child. So all in all: FABULOUS HISTORICAL and definitely a reread :-)!!
This was my first Karen Ranney book and I loved it! These characters were so perfect for each other. And the surrounding plot was excellent. Very well written. I couldn't put this book down, and yet I didn't want it to end too soon.
Scotland, 1832. Beatrice Sinclair barely survived the cholera epidemic which claimed her parents and her friends. She's recovered, but she's alone and literally starving to death. She was refused employment as a barmaid, but was given a position as a governess to a frightened, lonely boy from a noble family. From there she meets the boy's adult cousin who is a seductive rogue..........