A charming governess is hired to tame a duke’s children, but he needs her lessons more than they do.
After arriving 15 minutes late to an interview at Mrs. Trilby’s Agency for Superior Governesses and losing her chance at a job, Miss Mari Perkins is desperate—desperate enough to lie to a duke whose children have chased away four governesses in two months, as she learns by eavesdropping. Scared of returning to the awful orphanage she grew up in, she heads to the house of Edgar Rochester, Duke of Banksford, and presents herself as the new governess for his twins. Her ruse works, although she must “bluster her way” into the position. The preoccupied duke is also desperate, needing a governess who can keep up with Michel and Adele, the recently-discovered products of his youthful affair with a poetess. He is instantly infatuated with Mari, although his disgust with his late father’s habits of taking liberties with servants causes him to try to put distance between them right away. Mari wants to stay away from Edgar as well, as she's eager for time to investigate the truth about her own parents before her subterfuge is discovered, but she's continually distracted by her longing for the rigid duke, and it's not long before they're in each other's arms. In the first entry in her new School for Dukes series, Bell (Blame It on the Duke, 2017, etc.) reimagines the story of Mary Poppins for the Regency era, with delightful results that go beyond the typical fairy tale. In portraying society’s reaction to Mari and her charges, Bell offers a heartbreaking look at the cruelties that faced orphans and bastards, making Edgar’s attempts to protect the three of them all the more meaningful. Several steamy scenes—including a memorable one in the duke’s office—add passion to the otherwise sweet family story. Edgar’s unconventional sister, Lady India, steals many of the scenes in which she appears, and readers will be happy to discover she’s the star of the next School for Dukes book.
A supercalifragilisticexpialidocious start to a new Regency series.