A Willful Woman…

Thoughts about books from a romance addict.

The Game and the Governess by Kate Noble

on October 1, 2014

I loved Revealed so much, and every other Noble book I’ve tried has been a sad disappointment to me. Until now.

It’s not that I think this is a great book. I’d have to read it in print to feel like I could properly evaluate it, but it definitely had its fair share of historical cliches and commonplace writing. Still, what an interesting concept and characters!  The hero Ned is challenging in an unusual way, yet one extremely suited to a Regency-set historical: he’s privileged, and selfish, and has no idea of how much of his much vaunted “luck” is due to his circumstances. That’s the premise: his former friend, now turned highly resentful secretary, bets him that Ned won’t be able to attract a woman without his rank and wealth. To test it, they switch places on a visit to relative strangers. Ned, of course, gets a thorough comeuppance as he learns how invisible (and even offensive) he is without his trappings of wealth and rank.

The audiobook was also “challenging.” Accents are very well done, always a plus, but Ned’s voice is so high-pitched and foolish sounding that I was considerably bemused as it started to become clear he was the book’s hero! After a while though, I started to approve of it — it seemed like just the sort of voice a hearty, amiable, unenlightened lord would have, and the fact that it wasn’t  at all attractive made it kind of cooler when Phoebe (a governess who’s not supposed to be outwardly attractive herself) fell in love with him. So the audiobook narrative stopped me from finding the book sexy, but in some ways made it more interesting.

And the romance did work. In Revealed, there’s a phrase — “it’s just me” — that became integral to the blossoming relationship. Here the special phrase was “your Mr. Turner.” Phoebe is flabbergasted when the servants start referring to Ned as “your Mr. Turner” as if there’s something between them, yet it starts to seem more and more appropriate. Eventually she starts to hug the phrase to herself; “my Mr. Turner.” It’s very sweet and resonant.

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4 responses to “The Game and the Governess by Kate Noble

  1. Miss Bates says:

    Oh, yes, you are so right about this novel. I loved it too … and I couldn’t quite nail my dissatisfaction until you wrote it. There absolutely nothing wrong with it. It’s ordinary. Some of the dialogue is quite engaging, especially between Ned and Phoebe. And the scene with the valet and Ned and the “used” bathwater is a hoot. But, like you, I loved the ideas of this book. And Phoebe was one heroine I’d like to have dinner with.

    • willaful says:

      Yes, and I’ve read so much historical romance at this point that well-worn phrases are like fingernails on the blackboard for me. (She expressed in total cliches.) But an original plot and characters are nothing to sneeze at!

  2. kaetrin says:

    Well, you already know what I think! LOL

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