Avon, $7.99, ISBN 978-0-06-285369-1
Historical Romance, 2019
Either way, facts were facts, and though by the age of twenty-eight Amanda had lived in two different countries, earned a university education, found a profession, taken up a lover, and lost her reputation, she had not gained the one experience society deemed worthwhile for those of her sex. Amanda had never managed to acquire a husband.
Don’t get too excited, fam. Amanda Leighton’s excursion into adventures of coitus out of wedlock is solely a mistake. She was misled! Lied to! Bamboozled! She spends the rest of the story moaning that she is ashamed, her father would be embarrassed of her, blah blah blah, so yes, be assured that this is another generic heroine moo-moo desperate to convince readers that she is not a prostitute. In fact, all she wants in life is to be a governess, despite her vast education, and due to her reputation, she is now penniless because she has wasted all her money trying to find a governess gig only to find sexual predators instead.
In a setting where women of both middle and upper classes openly run businesses, our heroine’s determination to keep seeking a job that depends on a reputation that she doesn’t have makes Amanda Leighton one of the most ghastly, bloody stupid heroines I’ve ever come across. The fact that she is a heroine created by Laura Lee Guhrke only makes the insult cut deeper.
Even before I meet the heroine, I know Governess Gone Rogue is going to be insufferable when it opens with two horrible, badly behaved – but aww, it’s because they just need a Mommy – brats launch into a creepily adult-sounding exposition dump with one another, telling themselves things that they already know just to fill the reader in on their back story. These two brats are so out of control that our hero, James St Clair the Mr Earl of Kenyon, has a hard time finding and retaining tutors for them. Mind you, the fact that he doesn’t make any meaningful father-son contact with the two brats may have worsened matters, but this story is very willing to give fathers a pass in taking responsibilities for knocking up women, while at the same time imposing twenty-first century concepts of motherhood on the heroine. It’s Amanda’s “job” to show Jamie that he can come down from the clouds now and then to smile at the kids before sauntering off to shag the wife, and in a story that is determined to push modern concepts into a 19th-century setting, this sole exception leaves me scratching my head.
Oh yes, Amanda just has to apply for the job, spending her last money to dress up as a male to apply for the job as seventeen-year old home-schooled Adam Seton. Jamie has to hire her as no one else could stand his brats, and as you can guess, Amanda repeats the mistake of putting out to another guy for free again, and when he proposes, she refuses because (a) she only wants a man who loves her most and mostest, and she knows that he loves his dead wife more, and (b) she also refuses to be his mistress because she’s all about the true love. Then why the hell put out for free, dumbass? But don’t worry, our heroine doesn’t have to pay for her stupidity, as the kids and our hero eventually decide to be one happy family with Amanda, the end.
Annoying brats, a dad who may as well be a deadbeat loser considering how worthless he is as a father, and an insufferably stupid heroine whom I’m supposed to root for just because she is obnoxiously sassy while wailing that she’s actually a slut that will only settle for love and nothing less but she also doesn’t deserve love, oh my head, when she’s not running around putting out for free and then feeling insulted when they offer to pay for her milk… are we sure this one isn’t written by some other author who just happens to share the same name as Laura Lee Guhrke? Governess Gone Rogue goes for broke when it comes to inflicting mortal wounds on my IQ, and I’m still not sure what I’ve done to deserve such an insult.