The Governess Club: Claire by Ellie MacDonald

CLAIRE
The Governess Club: Claire by Ellie MacDonald
Publisher: Avon Impulse
Genre: Historical
Length: Short Story (122 pages)
Heat Level: Sensual
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Camellia

Claire Bannister just wants to be a good teacher so that she and the other ladies of the Governess Club can make enough money to leave their jobs and start their own school in the country. But when the new sinfully handsome and utterly distracting tutor arrives, Claire finds herself caught up in a whirlwind romance that could change the course of her future.

Jacob Knightly has a secret. He is actually the notorious Earl of Rimmel. He’s just posing as a tutor to escape his reputation in the city. He never expected to fall in love with the kind and beautiful governess. She is the first person to love him for himself and not his title.

But when Jacob’s true identity is revealed, Claire realizes she has risked her reputation and her heart on a man she doesn’t truly know. Will Jacob be able to convince her that the Wild Earl has been tamed and that she is the true countess of his heart?

A pithy, delightful story, The Governess Club: Claire takes the reader to the limbo spot where Claire is. She is one of the “invisible” class, a governess who is responsible for five children. She and other governess friends make a plan to become independent private tutors some day. It is a long range plan that will probably take five years to accomplish. The plan encompasses Claire’s deep desire to regain her beloved home Ridgestone.

Claire, a squire’s daughter, had all the privileges of that social position but was left homeless and in need of employment when her father died leaving many debts. As a governess, she doesn’t fit with the servants or the titled. Moreover, she has become fair game for men of privilege who want sex without commitment. Even though she is supposedly under the protection of her employer, her word against the word of one of the employer’s peers is not like to go in her favor.

Jacob Knightly’s outward disguise is convincing enough when he comes into the household to be the tutor for the two boys in Claire’s care, but his actions give him away. Claire realizes he is not what he presents himself to be. He expects to be waited on, sulks when things don’t go to suit him, doesn’t obey house rules, and acts downright childish at times. His tutoring skills need work, lots of work, and he demands rather than asks when he wants something from the servants. To his credit, he is a fast learner. His attitude toward Claire and tutoring changes as he deals with day to day issues. He no longer sees Claire as a young woman to have some fun with. He wants more than he has ever wanted from a woman with her.

The plot unfolds in the way one expects, but the little tidbits and insights into the mores of the time and the different social standards set for nobility and servants reveals much about the unfairness of the way people were treated and how they were expected to act at that time in history.

Ellie MacDonald’s character development lets the reader see unique traits in the children as well as the adult characters, making them seem quite human. Her concise dialogue tells much about each of character. The reader becomes aware of their flaws, beliefs, desires, and deep-down values. Ms. MacDonald, with a captivating writing style shows the hero and heroine working out their own salvation in the class-crazy world they live in. Her writing sparkles with flecks of humor throughout and touches the heart as love slips in for a happy-ever-after.

It will be fun to see how each governess in The Governess Club fares in upcoming books.

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