What is there to say? I thoroughly enjoyed this novel! It was sweet, witty, charming and a consummate classic. You may hear this a lot on the blog, but this is the first book by this author for me. Whenever I pick up a new title by an new author I haven't read before, there is always this anticipation to find out whether it's a home run or foul ball. Christina Dodd will grand-slam you into a bookstore near you; purchasing anything with her name across the cover. Military man, Colonel William Gregory, needs a governess; strike that, he needs a wife, but when Samantha Prendregast shows up from the Distinguish Academy of Governesses to fill in for one role, she never expects to be considered for the other. And so our tale begins...
Read an excerpt: here
Miss Samantha Prendregast was a cut-purse, plain and simple; and you know what they say, "Once a thief, always a thief". Although Samantha has changed for the better, she can't escape her past, or the notoriety that proceeds it. After refusing to go against her high strong nature and giving her previous employer his just desserts, Samantha must now accept a position that will take her out to the country and away from the onslaught of scandal her previous employer is sure to drum up out of revenge. Shes lived in London all her life, and harbors many aversions to the country life her fate has bestowed upon her; but she really doesn't have much of a choice.
After offending the driver of a carriage she was using to get to her new, remote place of employment, Samantha must trudge along on a dirt road and brave the terrifying 'wilderness'. She has a bizarre encounter with a strange man on horseback whom she later finds out is her new employer, Colonel Gregory. The colonel is the father of 6 mischievous daughter ranging in age from 4-12 who can't seem to hold on to a governess.Samantha promises him she'd be there for at least a year; but when the girls start making trouble for her, she begins to question that figure herself. But, being one step ahead of the girls, Samantha wins their favor,trust and vote of confidence to become their new mother.
Although William can't seem to reign in his desires for his new governess, he is determined to give his children a mother and finds Lady Teresa Marchant is the perfect candidate. Although his children would prefer anyone but the intoxicating Marchant, William insists on the idea of marrying the right sort of lady. All the recent distraction in his life doesn't take away from the urgency his secret endeavors require of him. Russian spies are right under his noes, and it could spell trouble for England if he lets his personal turmoil best him.
William's wife was killed by thiefs, the spies who threaten the welfare of the crown are no more than thiefs; how will William react when he finds out the one whose stolen his heart use to be a thief? And after that revelation is made, how will Samantha bare the lost of not only the love of her life, but the 6 lonely, motherless little girls whom light up her heart?
Rating: 4 "Aww's"
My Favorite Part of the Book: Is when Agnes, the eldest and most disgruntled with Samantha's presence at first, knocks on Samantha's door claiming shes dying. She can barley get a word out, but Samantha surmises that the 12 year old is becoming a woman and her monthly courses are starting. I thought it was a sweet scene because all of us girls remember the first time we got our period. I for one, jumped up and down and did a 'I just got my period' dance. But for Agnes, she hasn't a mother to tell her everything is normal; but it was endearing how Samantha stepped up and reassured her of everything. And then later, William comes to her door, wanting to know where Agnes was, and Samantha proceeds to give him an earful; and soon William gives her a mouthful ;)
I think Christina Dodd did great with this book. There were really 2 love stories in 1; with the unlikely pairing of Teresa Marchant and a prevalent buddy of William's. William's treatment of Samantha after he found out about her past was deplorable and I actually couldn't believe some of the things he said had me fuming! I loved the heroine in this book because she wasn't some wilting innocent without a backbone or a brain. The writing style was superb and did I mention how HOT the love scenes were? There is something to be said when a book can hold off on 'intimate relations' for more than half the book and still be satisfying. The story and plot had commendable merit on its own, but the intimacy towards the end just frosted a perfectly baked cake. Give yourself a treat and read this novel!
*And also check out one of Christina Dodd's most popular and acclaimed novels to date, 'A Well Pleasured Lady' !!!
-Read an excerpt from 'A Well Pleasured Lady': here