Review: The Governess Affair (Brothers Sinister #0.5) by Courtney Milan

Book info: 

Form: Kindle format, e-book
Genre: historical romance
Target audience: adults
The Duke of Clermont was so bored one evening that he raped Serena Barton, a governess hired for his unborn child, as, quoting his words, she had the bad luck of being the closest thing to a real woman (read: decently pretty) in his household. Serena protested but not loudly enough – her living and reputation was at stake. When she got pregnant she was shown the door unceremoniously. However Serena proves to be a much bigger problem that the Duke has ever imagined. You see, she has brains and she doesn’t hesitate to use them.
Knowing the Duke’s weakness, she starts pestering him by sitting on a bench in a park opposite to his London house, clearly visible to anybody, inspiring plenty of gossip. The Duke is seriously worried – if his wife gets a whiff of another scandal his father-in-law will stop giving him money. The Duke has significant debts to be paid off and he likes the comforts of aristocratic life. Serena Barton must disappear as soon as possible, before her pregnancy will be visible, leaving little to the imagination.
That’s why Hugo Marshall, the Duke’s problem shooter known as the Wolf of Clermont, has to intervene. He approaches the injured party with the worst intentions on his mind and he finds himself trapped by Serena’s intelligence, intrepid character and perseverance. They fall in love with each other. He has a duty to perform. His future depends on the happiness of the Duke. The Duke demands that Serena and her child go to hell and never return. What is Hugo going to choose – his love or his ambition?
What I liked:
I have read and reviewed many Milan novels so far. I could repeat in this section roughly the same I’ve written previously: I liked the main heroine who was intelligent, knew how to defend herself, decided to act against all odds etc. I could add that Hugo Marshall was also a kind of hero I usually love reading about: complex, not without faults, with dark shadows in his past. I don’t like repeating myself though so let me say just this: I really LOVE how Courtney Milan takes every romantic cliché and turns it upside down.
A damsel in distress? Surely but not such a defenseless damsel even though Serena’s only weapons are her brain and stamina. A cruel, egoistic rapist? Yes, but also a man who is dependent on the purse of his father-in-law and despises every minute of it. Of course not squandering money is out of question, he is a duke and it is his birthright, but the more he squanders the nicer he must be to his wife…and he becomes the more frustrated as a result. Try to be nice to your wife AND to have a mistress. A brutal henchman? Yes, Hugo can be brutal and ruthless but he is also shown as a man with conscience, a real knight who wants to defend Serena despite himself. And they have no secrets since the very beginning! What a bliss! Can you imagine that? A romance novel and no pesky secrets – he knows she is pregnant, he knows who the father is, she knows he knows because she told him like any sensible person would… nicely done! Very nicely done indeed!

The cover is lovely!

What I didn’t like:
It is a short novel or a long novella. I would like it better if it was longer. Now I must wait for the rest of the series.
Final verdict:
I am a fan. I recommend Courtney Milan’s books to everyone. I am almost ashamed of this eulogy but what can be done…Let me tell you one more piece of good news. The author officially allows her readers to share this novella with  friends. Finally a sensible approach to the well-known problem of piracy and related issues.
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