Rules for a Proper Governess by Jennifer Ashley

Rules for a Proper Governess by Jennifer Ashley
Publisher: The Berkley Publishing Group (Penguin)
Genre: Historical
Length: Full Length (276 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 5 Stars
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

To Kiss A Thief…

Scottish barrister Sinclair McBride can face the most sinister criminals in London – but the widower’s two unruly children are a different matter. Little Caitlin and Andrew go through a governess a week, sending the ladies fleeing in tears.

Roberta “Bertie” Frasier enters Sinclair’s life by stealing his watch – and then stealing a kiss. Intrigued by the handsome highlander, Bertie winds up saving his children from a dangerous situation and returns them to their father. Impressed with how they listen to her, Sinclair asks the lively beauty to be their governess, never guessing that the unconventional lady will teach him a lesson or two in love

Reading this novel was like coming home and finding old and new friends waiting for me with amazing tales to tell.

Sinclair and Bertie were a wonderful couple. I got a kick out of Bertie making the first move, and the second and I adored Sinclair’s response. I liked the hero’s children and their personalities. I laughed at some of Andrew’s exploits and I had great empathy for Caitriona’s shyness and pain. There is a wonderful family dynamic that is explored and expanded upon that made reading Rules for a Proper Governess a rich and rewarding experience.

Bertie was a treat. I think her charm came from her being willing to go for what she wanted, say what needed to be said and how she just loved everyone around her. She gave everyone a chance and each and every person was a gateway to a new adventure for her. It was delightful watching her grow to love Sinclair and his children.

Sinclair was a tough nut to crack. He was suffering the loss of his first wife and he was acting like an automaton. He loved his kids – he just didn’t LIVE anymore – until Bertie stole his watch and set in motion an amazing series of events that led the hero to rediscover passion, laughter and the determination to fight for the woman he eventually came to love. His journey is one of the reasons this book was such a page-turner.

There’s nefarious side of the tale that dogs the hero’s footsteps. He keeps getting letters that are very disturbing and so far, there’s no clue as to whom it could be. During the telling of the tale, I had an Aha! moment that ended up being right. I enjoy figuring out a mystery, but meanwhile, as Sinclair slowly gets closer and closer to confronting the villains, the suspense and not knowing was delightful as it kept me on the edge of my seat. The scuffle and chase was exciting, well written and quite dramatic. In fact all of the action scenes were well written and effective.

Beware of the seduction. Ms. Ashley has written a very detailed, romantic and extremely sensual love scene when Sinclair introduces Bertie to the passion she has hidden inside. It’s so well done and beautiful that I was moved. Of course Bertie, irreverent as she is, laughs, is delighted and simply embraces the joy and heightened passions as she falls in love for the first time. Bertie’s character makes me smile.

There are quite a few characters that pop in from books past but for me, any time Ian Mackenzie is on scene, I melt. I adore his cryptic comments because anyone who’s read The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie will understand why his saying anything is momentous and special. Ms. Ashley has kept his character true whenever he pops in during any of the novels in this series. His story will always have a special place in my heart so his briefly being in Rules for a Proper Governess was a major treat. True, this book can standalone just fine, but that feeling of family and continuity comes from having read the previous books.

Rules for a Proper Governess is another gem and a must read from the talented Ms. Ashley. I loved it, I enjoyed myself and I heartily recommend it to any romance reader who loves a story about a man who finds love after believing he’d never love again. It’s got it all: adventure, drama, suspense, love, laughter and characters that touch the heart. It’s a keeper.


  1. This story sounds like a lot of fun. 🙂
    I will be adding it to my TBR. Thanks for sharing your honest opinion, X.

  2. Xeranthemum says:

    Thanks for your comment, Tina B.! I <3 the story. Bertie was so fun and atypical of the type of heroines I usually see. She even made some smart choices that other authors often tip the other way making it a tired and worn out plot conflict. That's another reason why I thought this book was great – Ms. Ashley gave her heroine courage and brains. I hope you get a chance to read it too! 🙂

    • Have you read the others in the series? If not, did you feel like you were missing anything?
      I love series, but this one being so far in, I don’t have time at the moment. Lol. Thanks.

  3. Xeranthemum says:

    Yes, I have read them, but many I’ve read out of order. And, sometimes, so much time has passed between reading each book that I forget a lot and it’s like coming into it as a newbie. It’s only after reading for a bit, and someone pops up … something had to trigger my memory of why so and so sounds familiar. The ONLY person, character, that I would truly recommend ‘meeting’ is Ian. His character has touched a lot of readers because he’s special. And whenever he pops in, he only has a few words to say, but they MEAN so much – No other character pops in with as much regularity as Ian. I mean, there IS Hart, and his story is good too – but for the most part, I wouldn’t worry about feeling like you’re missing something if you read hodge podge or out of order. Ms. Ashley tends to give her readers a full and complete story for each book – even though the overall story arc is a story about the MacKenzie and McBride families — they sort of overlap so I never can keep them straight. LOL — It’s a wonderful series so far and I really do hope you’ll experience the same enthusiasm as I do when you get to try a few. Good luck and happy reading!!! —

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