Author: Joanna Barker
Genres: Historical Romance
Format: Audio, eBook, Print
Date: November 1, 2018
Governess Juliana Ashbourne has dreams reaching far beyond the confines of her current position, hoping to someday establish her own school for girls. When she inherits a fortune from her late grandfather, she is shocked to learn that “someday” may soon be within reach. However, there is one condition: she must spend a month at the estate of Havenfield–with the very family who disowned her mother. Intent on securing the money she needs to start her school, Juliana accepts the invitation, vowing to guard her heart against those who shunned her all her life.
But Havenfield is far from what she expects. She discovers a grandmother seeking forgiveness, a cold and disapproving aunt, and a painfully shy cousin. And then there is Mr. William Rowley. Though the heir to the estate is a merciless tease, Juliana finds in him a friend and confidant–and perhaps something more. As she struggles to make sense of her new place in the world, her stubborn independence clashes with a yearning to belong and the even more confusing desires of her heart.
Rating: Mild. Mild kissing.
Everything I love about Regency and romance came together beautifully in this debut novel. Juliana is strong but also vulnerable, and tries to protect herself from potential hurts by holding herself back. William is so fun and charming, I loved their banter and the friendship and romance that eventually develop. There are family dynamics that Juliana needs to learn to navigate, and she learns valuable lessons from them and her new circumstances. I loved the subtle humor that gave a lighter feel to the story and the relationships especially. Looking forward to reading more from this author!
(I received a complimentary copy of the book; all opinions in this review are my own)
Is it possible that this is a first book for this author? I think it was well done and I’m surprised this is a first. I had a lot of fun reading it.
I love a strong female lead who doesn’t follow the norms of society so there is that but I think it is William that made this book for me. What a delightful person. He isn’t dark and brooding (though dark and brooding men have their place in books, ahem, Mr. Darcy) or full of himself for being handsome and wealthy. That made him enjoyable to me. He is an all around good guy accepting people into his family as if they were immediate family members instead of distant family. And I loved his teasing, I mean banter, with Juliana and it became even more fun when she learned to dish it out as well as take it in stride.
Elements of the story were predictable but it didn’t deter from my enjoyment. I just looked forward to seeing how it would all come about. And there were things that I didn’t see coming and some things I thought might happen that didn’t. Good choice on those. Despite being somewhat predictable the story felt fresh to me.
It might seem odd that a governess with a dream of opening her own school wouldn’t immediately jump at the chance to get a large inheritance that would enable her dream but I can see how that might be the case. Juliana grew up believing a certain way about her grandfather so there would be an automatic negative response to his demands for that reason alone. And Juliana has only known one way of life and is now all alone in the world. Stepping into the unknown is difficult for some personalities and to do so with people she feels negatively about would be a even harder. In some ways I wish she had made the decision to go on her own without being pushed into it but the catalyst situation did play into the plot later on so I guess that works out okay too.
Overall, I really enjoyed the book and it made me hope that there might be a series coming. Perhaps William’s sister could have her own story?
My one wish for this book is that there had been pictures of the people. I really want to see an actual picture of the awful Mr. Fitzroy. 🙂
Sex: some leering. a few kisses.
Language: it just says she cursed. Doesn’t say the actual words.
Violence: attempted sexual assault that is interrupted. Not graphic.
I received a copy of this book through Netgalley. All opinions in my review are my own.