Friday, July 15, 2011

BOOK REVIEW: Dangerous Lord, Innocent Governess By Christine Merrill

Harlequin Historical  July 1 2011

288 pages By Christine Merrill


 Daphne Collingham is masquerading as a governess in Lord Timothy Colton’s home—determined to discover if he is responsible for her beloved cousin’s death. She’s prepared to uncover secrets and scandal, but the biggest revelation is the way she feels under the lord’s dark gaze....
Lord Colton is suspicious of the alluring new governess—and with the furor surrounding him he must control his passion. But a man has his limits, and the delectable Miss Collingham is pure temptation....


I will admit up front, I love the governess romance angle, innocent miss coming into the home of a tortured or scarred hero, who has closed off his heart. it has been done many times and I never get tired of it. Jane Eyre never gets old in my book.

Daphne Collingham is pretending to be a governess in Lord Timothy Colton's home, because of her cousin's mysterious death, at the supposed hands of the evil Lord. Daphne is determined to get at the bottom of it.
First, she was a beloved cousin, yet Daphne never visited her cousin's home? Never met her husband, Lord Colton? The explanation seemed a little thin, but I am willing to go with it.
Being a pampered Miss of the ton, what does Daphne know about being a governess, to three children no less. Her interaction with the three children is engrossing, they are as eccentric as their standoffish father. The youngest hardly speaks, and is obsessed with drawing graphic pictures of her mother dead, at the bottom of the stairs.

This convinces Daphne all the more that Timothy Colton is the murderer of her cousin. But what disturbs her is just being in this brooding Lord's presence sets her blood afire.

Timothy Colton is brooding indeed, and no wonder, his marriage was a shipwreck. He withdraws emotionally, scarred really, as his wife, Daphne's 'beloved' cousin, was a wanton. There is even some question to his youngest daughter's parentage. He is immediately taken with Daphne's beauty, lust at first sight. It's been a long, long time since he has been with a woman. Daphne may be innocent, but she saw the seductive gaze in Lord Colton's eyes.

Daphne's fresh and honest approach endears her to the children, shades of Maria from 'The Sound of Music', for it also endears her to Timothy as well. There is a touching reconclination between the drifted apart father and childen, all thanks to Daphne.

While Timothy is grateful, he suspects the governess may not be what she seems, her lack in certain knowledge and geography mistakes has him doubting her education, and her persona. Timothy finds some serenity and calm from his tortured thoughts by spending hours in his greenhouse. I found this a nice twist. He cut and arranged flowers and left them in Daphne's room, each flower having a special meaning.
How can a man, so gentle with his children, his plants, be a murderer? His gentle kiss in the greenhouse soon turns into a wild, uncontrollable passion and a heated, secret affair. After finding incriminating letters in her cousin Clare's room, she begins to wonder, was Timothy behind the murder?

This was eminently readable, all the characters well drawn with astonishing depth, even the children and neighbors, the Duke and Duchess of Bellston, who have a role to play in the culminating drama. Daphne's father showing and spilling the beans on her real identity doesn't help matters. There is an emotional finish, twists and turns as the so-called 'murder' is resolved satisfactorily.
Also love the cover, just how I pictured Timothy, though the look is a bit too sly.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, layers of emotion, romance and suspense, all working in tandem to make for a great read.

3.5 stars out of 4 for the book

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