The Governess Affair
by Courtney Milan
Brothers Sinister #0.5 (prequel novella)
Three months ago, governess Serena Barton was let go from her position. Unable to find new work, she’s demanding compensation from the man who got her sacked: a petty, selfish, swinish duke. But it’s not the duke she fears. It’s his merciless man of business—the man known as the Wolf of Clermont. The formidable former pugilist has a black reputation for handling all the duke’s dirty business, and when the duke turns her case over to him, she doesn’t stand a chance. But she can’t stop trying—not with her entire future at stake.
He cannot give in…
Hugo Marshall is a man of ruthless ambition—a characteristic that has served him well, elevating the coal miner’s son to the right hand man of a duke. When his employer orders him to get rid of the pestering governess by fair means or foul, it’s just another day at the office. Unfortunately, fair means don’t work on Serena, and as he comes to know her, he discovers that he can’t bear to use foul ones. But everything he has worked for depends upon seeing her gone. He’ll have to choose between the life that he needs, and the woman he is coming to love…
This novella would be my first foray into Courtney Milan's work, and I will admit that I'm not disappointed. While I feel like this novella could have been developed a bit better, it gives a pretty satisfying, even if kind of boring introduction into the world of the Brothers Sinister. Maybe if this were a full-length novel instead of a short novella, we would have been able to delve a little deeper into each character's backgrounds?
Instead, this novella simply stood out a little awkwardly as a teaser, especially with the ending chapter wherein we get introduced to the next generation--this I hadn't realized until partway into those last two chapters, since I'm not familiar with Milan's other books, nor did I take any time to really read the summary of following books in this series.
Nonetheless, the way in which the boys we will meet in the novels are introduced really kind of felt forced.
Anyway, I did enjoy The Governess Affair. It was written well, and the while there were certain, brief moments that felt distasteful, I had no problems with either the story nor the characters.
If I had to choose something I immensely enjoyed about this story, I'd probably say it was the banter between Hugo and Serena. In contrast, while I can see that the author tried to make out Serena and Frederica's relationship to be that of close, loving sisters, it was actually kind of hard to believe--so I wish they could have had a stronger relationship.
Otherwise, The Governess Affair was a sweet, short story to pass the time.