Friday, March 15, 2013

The Governess Affair

The Governess Affair by Courtney Milan

Hugo Marshall has spent his whole life proving himself worthwhile and is determined to make it big one day so he enters an agreement with the Duke of Clermont. He will make Clermont profitable and in return he is due a very large sum of money so his number one priority is ensuring that no one make the very wealthy Duchess of Clermont so angry she withdraws her husbands funds. Serena Barton was raped by the Duke while she was working as a housemaid and after finding herself pregnant she goes to the Duke looking for what is owed to her and encounters Hugo instead. Hugo is determined to get rid of this woman who threatens all of his plans, but he cannot help but be sympathetic to her plight and angry at his employer for getting into this situation. While she camps outside the Duke's townhouse, Hugo finds himself going out to meet her and admiring her stalwart determination even while he plots against her and her sister. Only when the full truth of what happened to her, and the consequences of it, are presented does he truly realize what he is doing is wrong and he decides to marry Serena. While not the most auspicious start to a relationship the two get on well and manage to forge a relationship away from the duke.

This novella intrigued me at first but when it became clear what had happened between Clermont and Serena I became increasingly incensed that Hugo continued to display such ruthless tactics against her. While she didn't confirm his beliefs, namely that Clermont had raped her, he strongly suspected it and that really made his actions completely despicable. I could not understand how Serena could fall for him under those circumstances, and the things he threatened to do were truly quite awful even if they didn't constitute physical harm, and made a relationship between them hard to stomach. Serena was an intriguing mix of juxtapositions as she was strong and vulnerable, smart and yet horribly naive at the same time, and it was really these qualities that made her so realistic. Hugo's background was supposed to explain his actions, but I was not buying and it did not redeem him at all in my eyes. There was no sex in this book, but the writing was wonderful as always, full of emotion and I was really drawn into what was happening.

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