The Governess's Secret Baby

The Governess's Secret Baby

Book - 2016
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"The beauty who tamed the beast... New governess Grace Bertram will do anything to get to know her young daughter, Clara. Even if it means working for Clara's guardian, the reclusive and scarred Nathaniel, Marquess of Ravenwell! Nathaniel believes no woman could ever love a monster like him, until Grace seems to look past his scars to the man beneath... But when he discovers Grace is Clara's mother, Nathaniel questions his place in this torn-apart family. Could there be a Christmas happy-ever-after for this beauty and the beast?"-- Page [4] of cover.
Publisher: Don Mills, Ontario :, Harlequin Enterprises Limited,, [2016]
ISBN: 9780373299096
0373299095
Branch Call Number: PAPERBACK R
Characteristics: 283 pages ; 17 cm

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FindingJane Apr 02, 2017

Women losing or giving up their illegitimate babies abound in romance novels. In this one, a young girl has been wooed and seduced by a handsome, feckless soldier, the first one to pay her compliments in her sheltered life. Her silly head gets completely turned by his blandishments and, well, you get the picture.

Incredibly, she manages to keep her pregnancy a secret from all save her three school chums until the inevitable moment when the child is born and she can no longer hide it. Then she gives up the child and then goes looking for it.

She insinuates her way into the household where her daughter lives by pretending she answered an ad for a governess. It’s not a lie, entirely, but it’s not the complete truth either. But Grace Bertram wins us over with her fortitude, determination and steadfast unflinching regard of the lord of the manor. Nathaniel Pembroke, Marquess of Ravenwell, is an embittered man, scarred by a terrible fire that took the life of his father. Riddled with guilt over his inability to save his father and angry over being maritally rejected by two women, he’s secreted himself away in his home, guarded by loyal, taciturn servants and comforting himself with his hawks, hounds and horses.

Ms. Preston draws us into this world, as well as the bustling local customs of the neighboring village whose suspicions of the marquess are fueled by his aloof distance and invisibility. Grace coaxes him out of his shell and this opens up the book as well so that we learn about the inner workings of the manor and the lives of some of the locals in the vicinity.

It’s a charming love story, an alternative version of yet another narrative trope: Beauty and the Beast. To be perfectly candid, Grace is so unwavering in her decision to be by her daughter’s side that she won’t allow herself to be cowed by anything, even hideous scars. This is a further tribute to her courage, a quality that any reader can admire.

I was a trifle irked that she and the lord went to bed together before they were married. He’d given no sign that he was interested in marrying her; wasn’t one child born out of wedlock enough? How could she hope to hold her position in the household if she got pregnant again? Why did the question never arise with her?

Simple. Grace Bertram is the impulsive sort, a quality that crops up repeatedly in the novel. So this rash behavior is perfectly in keeping with her nature. As such, I had to concede grudgingly that the pre-marital sexual encounter made perfect sense.

Enjoy this novel for its many characters, as well as the love story. The appearance of Grace’s childhood friends from the school where they first met and forged their friendship made this story even better. This novel works as a standalone work but it’s winning enough to read the other ones in the series as well.

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