The Defiant Governess defied my expectations and turned out to be so much more than expected. Andrea Pickens has written an absorbing, fun story that will please romance fans.
Lady Jane is a force to reckon with. Motherless since a young age, she has been raised by a doting father and loving Nanny. Her comrade in arms is her brother who pulls all kinds of stunts with her. There is no evil step mother but there is an evil aunt. The aunt repeatedly pesters the father about his mannerless daughter. So much so that the Duke puts his foot down and orders Jane to marry a man of his choice. Indignant at this treatment, Jane runs away from home.
Lady Jane turns up as a governess in her friend’s place at a remote country estate. Her student is young Peter who is afraid to say boo to a goose. The lord of the manor is away and hardly ever visits. Jane settles down to the life of a servant with relative ease. She slowly coaxes Peter to take interest in studies and sport and makes him a happier lad. The household staff soon begins to worship her. Until the Marquess turns up.
The Marquess is the brooding type who carries a sad secret. He is attracted to Jane, and also amazed at her outspoken nature. Love blooms on both sides although with some reserve since they are of different stations in life. Well, at least outwardly. There are a lot of twists and turns and misunderstandings and Lady Jane goes back home to her father.
Will Lady Jane finally accept the arranged marriage? Many reviewers have compared this story to Jane Eyre but I think there is no comparison here, other than the names, maybe. The Jane here is no poor orphan who is barely scraping a living. And neither is she timid about her feelings out of fear and uncertainty regarding her social station. The Lady Jane here always knows she is a Duke’s daughter, and is wealthy and high born.
Some of the plot points are a bit hard to fathom. Like how or why no one searches for Jane when she is away from home for six months. The ‘search’ need not have been part of the story, but there is not even a single mention of it. I think a few lines about how they searched for her when she returns home would have been apt in the situation.
Overall, this is a feel good story that will hold your attention and entertain you. Even though this is a Regency era book, the focus is on the story here, rather than social environment, which I like. This makes the basic plot timeless.
Overall, Andrea Pickens’s A Defiant Governess is a good read for romance lovers.