Apparently Evin the Magnificent was going to recommend this book to me as well because she was certain I would like it and what do you know, she was right!
Here we have another entry in the series better paraphrased as “Utterly Implausible Meet-Cutes.” One cannot really believe that any of the situations in these novels would actually happen. Does that really matter? …not really?
The reason why this novel is my favorite is because it’s the least believable of the lot (winning by a hair over The Duchess Deal). In general the historical romances that I like best have a rationale for why the women act like…vaguely 21st century women. Rationale usually boils down to “they have a career outside the home and thus are Independent (Sort Of)” or “divorcee.” In this case, we have the former. Alexandra Mountbatten is a time-setter, as in she wanders (unchaperoned!) through houses of rich people setting their clocks to the correct time so that they can keep track of how late they are to their various engagements. Little push, little shove (you get kudos if you get that reference) and she’s out a livelihood because her time-setter machine-thingie (who watches the watch-setters???) is at the bottom of the Thames.
To add a cherry to the top of this background, she also grew up on a ship with a single father and as such is well traveled, versed in swearing, and unlikely to faint.
Our Duke of choice is a irredeemable rake who comes with that greatest of plot devices (when done well): mischievous kids! Chase has two kids, passed to him after the untimely death of a sibling, who he’s waiting to send off to boarding school. All he needs is a governess who won’t run off screaming to tide him over, and then he can go back to his rakish ways.
So what we have here is a perfect tempest in a teapot, a Sound of Music with some X-rated bits to boot. Alexandra is untethered and uninhibited, in it for the money until she’s in it for the love of the two young girls and then in it because she’s clearly in love with Chase as well. Chase is your run of the mill Tortured Soul with Secrets, except he’ll feel like a right fool when Alexandra also unloads her childhood trauma.
Everyone in all of these books needs to go to therapy.
If you enjoy repartee and the subgenre of historical romances that have multiple plot lines and secondary characters, you’ll very much enjoy this book. I would recommend reading the novels in order, having done decidedly not that, because Dare does a nice job of weaving the various characters into the stories and it’s nice to see how they grow and develop.
As a bonus, I only JUST saw that there’ll be a fourth novel in this series! As you imagine there must be, as we have yet to see the HEA of every member of our band of atypical women