Monday, 9 February 2015

Book: The Observations of a Curious Governess by Viveka Portman

I received a copy of The Observations of a Curious Governess, book 4 of the Regency Diaries series, in exchange for my review.

Miss Martha Swan has resigned herself to never marrying the man of her dreams, Mr. Jonathan Reeves, as neither of their families have the funds, and so she has signed on to be Governess in the Stanton household. Once there, she soon discovers that the house contains secrets that could ruin all of their reputations, but more than that; secrets that awaken a part of Martha that she has never considered. Emboldened into action, Martha decides that if she is to die a spinster then she deserves to feel passion just once, and to her delight, Mr Reeves is more than willing to help her out...

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I found The Observations of a Curious Governess oddly refreshing in terms of a Regency Romance, simply because it contained a main female character that starts the book genuinely believing that women should be chaste and well behaved at all times. I didn't think that this made Martha stuffy, but I think it did genuinely make her feel real and like she was actually from the era (whereas often there are very liberated women as heroines who already believe in freedom of love etc.)

The main plot line of Martha's story (though it actually feels weird calling her Martha as so few of the other characters called her that!) was her journey from naivety, to curiousity to acceptance. To me it was clear that there were prexisiting feelings for Jonathan Reeves, and this complicated matters in a way that would be accepted for a modern woman. Seeing what goes on at Stanton (a lot of freedom of love) made Martha curious, which seems natural, and so she begins to question her thoughts and explore her feelings on it.

It took me a couple of chapters to figure out that the events in this book where happening concurrently with those in The Wicked Confessions of Lady Cecelia Stanton, as I was confused as to why the marriage of the Stantons seemed troubled when I was sure that there was a whole book sorting the pair of them out! I had the thought that the author may be commenting on not all relationships working and was slightly disheartened. Or at least I was until I figured out the timelines!

The chemistry between Martha and Jonathan was good, it felt real, as did their relationship. What I liked about it was that there wasn't just attraction there but genuine affection and they both acted accordingly. On top of that there were a couple of moments of awkwardness which just endeared them to me even more!

The Observations of a Curious Governess counts towards Winter COYER