Wanted: Governess able to keep all hours . . .
Rebellious Julian Fortescue never expected to inherit a dukedom, nor to find himself guardian to three young half-sisters. Now in the market for a governess, he lays eyes on Jane Grey and knows immediately she is qualified—to become his mistress. Yet the alluring woman appears impervious to him. Somehow Julian must find a way to make her succumb to temptation . . . without losing his heart and revealing the haunting mistakes of his past.
Desired: Duke skilled in the seductive art of conversation . . .
Lady Jeanne de Falleron didn't seek a position as a governess simply to fall into bed with the Duke of Denford. Under the alias of Jane Grey, she must learn which of the duke's relatives is responsible for the death of her family—and take her revenge. She certainly can't afford the distraction of her darkly irresistible employer, or the smoldering desire he ignites within her .
But as Jane discovers more clues about the villain she seeks, she's faced with a possibility more disturbing than her growing feelings for Julian: What will she do if the man she loves is also the man she's sworn to kill?
Jeanne de Falleron, alias Jane Grey, has spent nine years searching for someone named Denford who sent her family to the guillotine. When Julian Fortescue, current Duke of Denford, suddenly needs a governess for his half-sisters, she lies her way into the job. Julian is dealing with his own guilt over the Fallerons' deaths, but his search for the man who betrayed them still gives him plenty of time to admire the beautiful, secretive new governess. As the family moves from London to Denford's country estate, Jane struggles to keep her past secret while continuing her investigation and exploring her attraction to Julian. The final book in Neville's Wild Quartet follows from the hints given in Lady Windermere's Lover to explore the repercussions of Julian's participation in the French Revolution, but the focus is more on Jane than on Julian. Jane is a more worldly heroine than the previous wives; fans of the previous books may miss the wry rake in the reformed Duke.
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Dialogue is clever, the smoldering looks lead with palpable feeling to the connection
The third in this series that I have read, Miranda Neville brings her skills to create characters and a storyline that feels plausible, with a slow discovery of the attraction and love that is blooming. Julian is well-comforted in his role as rake and seducer, and far less prepared or confident in his ability to parent his three young half-sisters or the title of Duke. He’s hard not to like, this bit of arrogant rogue with a devil-may-care attitude toward consequences. Even with some despicable background, his development showed the true delight that he found in his sisters, and the desire to ‘do better’ for them. It wasn’t instant – but there is a kindly heart beneath the layer of show and pragmatism.
Jane / Jeanne is far more than just a simple governess: her desire to find the “Fortescue” who caused her family’s demise has driven her to great lengths and deceptions. Posing as Jane Grey, a simple governess who is taking charge of his sisters. A perfect set-up for the intrigue and twists that shall come. Understand that this is a time of great upheaval in England, with worries in the aristocracy about the not long past French Revolution, and the wars that follow. The country is rife with spies and agendas, and stories that are half-told and intertwined. Neville did get sidetracked a touch in the presentation of the twists and elements that will become important, and that information did distract from a growing, if slowly, attraction between Julian and Jeanne.
A bit of a slow starter, this story interconnects with the others neatly, but can stand alone without great difficulty. Inclusion of historic details and some interesting flouting of conventionally accepted norms of society all help to develop a real interest in the characters and the outcome. There is a sense of possible in these stories, while firmly set in their time there is a modern edge to the characterizations that will resonate with readers. Dialogue is clever, the smoldering looks lead with palpable feeling to the connection between Julian and Jeanne, and the realization of their shared desire for love and a happy ending come with a satisfied sigh.
I received an eArc of the title from the publisher via Edelweiss for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.