This novel is an extension of Christina Dodd’s Governess Brides series, which I have, sort of, been following – I’ve only missed Lost in Your Arms – so it was easy for me to get back into the storyline again, especially when it brings back Celeste and Garrick Throckmorton from In My Wildest Dreams as the hero’s spymaster.
My Fair Temptress is the story of disgraced debutante, Caroline Ritter, who takes up the position of governess to Jude Durant, the Earl of Huntington, to teach him how to snare a proper wife by engaging him in the art of flirting, at which she is highly accomplished. However, in the process of showing him how to court and woo a lady, she succumbed to his seduction and surrendered her heart, while he has to choose between exacting revenge on his brother’s killers or chasing down his one true love before it’s too late.
But this is more than just a simple tale of romance, it is also about Caroline’s journey to independence and being true to herself. In typical Dodd fashion, there’s plenty of passion, humour and witty repartee on top of a daring idea for a plot – a gentlewoman teaching a gentleman to flirt as a means of living. There’s a bit of spy action and sexy scenes of seduction.
The heroine gets my vote for seeing beyond Jude’s popinjay facade to admire the real man beneath the garish tops. She concluded that he’s the most masculine man she’s ever met because he doesn’t ‘give a damn about what anyone thought [of him], wore what he wanted, ignored the people who laughed [at him] and behaved as [he] wished.’ In some ways, the way Jude adopts the role of a simpering idiot in order to accomplish his mission to uncover a plot to destroy the newly formed and already tenuous alliance between Victorian England and France reminds me of The Scarlet Pimpernel.
Of all the books in the Governess series, my favourite is Rules of Attraction followed by In My Wildest Dream (Celeste’s and Garrick’s story). This one ties with the latter, and showcases gentlemen spies on Her Majesty’s service. I’ve always got a penchant for intrigue so these two played to my love for spies. I think it’s one of the most thrilling jobs for that era. Just imagine the adventures and the traveling …
Oooh … I should also mention that there’s a very interesting twist in the end that opens up the story for further development.
Oh yes, Dodd has recently started writing contemporary Romantic Suspense, and already has the Lost Texas Heart series under her belt. I’ve only ever read her historicals so far, so if anyone has read the contemps, I’d love to hear your view. She has also revamped her website … it’s got a black background now with links for Cool Suspense or Hot Romance, very nifty for readers who already have an idea what they want from her.