Rules for a Proper Governess by Jennifer Ashley
Series: Mackenzies & McBrides #7
Published by Penguin
Publication Date: October 7th 2014
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Scottish barrister Sinclair McBride can face the most sinister criminals in London—but the widower’s two unruly children are a different matter. Little Caitlin and Andrew go through a governess a week, sending the ladies fleeing in tears. There is, however, one woman in town who can hold her own.
Roberta “Bertie” Frasier enters Sinclair’s life by stealing his watch—and then stealing a kiss. Intrigued by the handsome highlander, Bertie winds up saving his children from a dangerous situation and returning them to their father. Impressed with how they listen to her, Sinclair asks the lively beauty to be their governess, never guessing that the unconventional lady will teach him a lesson or two in love.
Seven years ago Sinclair McBride’s wife died. She was his everything and ever since her death he’s been physically alive but emotionally empty. He loves his two children dearly but even they can’t seem to break him out of the darkness that has encompassed him. When a woman bumps into him and he sees her lively eyes he’s entranced. He then realizes that she’s just stolen the pocket watch that his wife gave him and he gives chase.
Bertie is a pickpocket who works for her father – grudgingly. She doesn’t want the life of crime but if she doesn’t do what he tells her then he beats her. If it’s not her father beating her then it’s her “beau” or the man who thinks he is, Jeffrey. Bertie runs from Sinclair but he keeps up and when she takes him into a situation where the street toughs she knows will distract and probably beat him she has a change of heart and saves him. When they finally get off the street Sinclair finds himself not so much angered but intrigued with this strange and captivating woman.
Sinclair returns home from work one night and his servants tell him that the children have a new governess he’s not happy at all when he realizes it’s Bertie, but he can’t seem to send her away. Sinclair sees in Bertie the ability to look at things in a new and different way. He loves that she can make him feel alive – and not just in the bedroom. She’s good with his kids, friendly with his staff and actually makes him smile. Soon she’s an integral part of his life and he can’t imagine his life without her.
This is another great story from Jennifer Ashley. I love how she’s seamlessly moved from the MacKenzie family straight into the McBride family. As the two families are so close we still get to see the MacKenzies and their families and watch them grow – very cool.
In this story we have Sinclair who is an empty shell of a man. He finds solace with his kids but he’s thrown himself into his work as a barrister and doesn’t really get that much enjoyment from it – satisfaction, yes, enjoyment, not so much. He looks at his life ahead of him and sees nothing but bleakness in his future. When he meets Bertie he sees someone that has been beaten, threatened and used but can still smile and make the world a fun and interesting place. Did he ever think that he’d fall for a pickpocket from Whitechapel? No, but that’s exactly what he does and he loves every minute of it.
Bertie is a great girl and a strong character. She has been used by her father for years to do his dirty work so she’s very good at what she does but she’s not one who loves doing it. She is completed fascinated by Sinclair – first when she sees him in the courtroom and then later when she kisses him. She goes so far as to figure out where he lives but she never expects to end up taking care of his children. She makes a great governess, though, and works hard at figuring out what she needs to know in order to be even better. I loved seeing her with the kids, Andrew and Caitriona. Andrew was such a great child who was just hyper and Caitriona was sad girl who was kind of like her father in the fact that she was emotionally stilted from her mother’s death. Seeing Andrew grow and Caitriona coming out of her shell because of Bertie’s actions was awesome. Bertie really knew how to connect with them and I appreciated that the kids were main characters in this story rather than being pushed to the side. I thought it brought a great depth to the story and it made it a more emotional read for me than I think it would have been otherwise.
Of course there’re the villains of the story. Sinclair has been receiving disturbing letters and neither he nor Chief Inspector Fellowes could figure out who was sending them. Then there’s Jeffrey, who is determined to get Bertie back as he feels that Sinclair has stolen his property. When Jeffrey decides that Bertie can work for him from the inside she refuses but when he takes matters into his own hands people get hurt. While Jeffrey’s portion of the book was a bit scary, and what happened because of his action, it didn’t have me on the edge of my seat. The other villain was a complete mystery to me throughout and while I thought the chase scene through London was well done the rest of it was a bit anti-climactic after that.
In this story I think the romance and the part Bertie played as the governess were really the things that grabbed me and held me in the story. There are so many things to love about this book that I would definitely recommend it.
Rating: 4 out of 5