ARC Review: When a Duke Loves a Governess by Olivia Drake

About the Book:

Title: When a Duke Loves a Governess

Author: Olivia Drake

Series: Unlikely Duchesses #3

Page Length: 320

Publication Date: July 27, 2021

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Synopsis: Tessa James has worked and planned tirelessly to open her own millinery shop. All she needs now is a loan from the lord who sired and abandoned her. The only problem is, she doesn’t even know his name. What’s a woman to do to find him but enter the aristocratic world by becoming a governess?

Guy Whitby, the new Duke of Carlin, has returned to London after years abroad to discover that his young daughter Sophy has become a wild-child known for scaring away every governess who’s crossed his doorstep. When Tessa James applies for the job, he hires her in desperation despite his misgivings that she’s too bold and beautiful–and that she might be fibbing about her qualifications.

Their blooming attraction leads them on a completely unexpected path to love that neither wants to deny. But when an old enemy threatens Guy’s family, their forbidden romance goes up in flames. Can they still learn to love and trust each other as forces try to tear them apart? 

LINKS:     Goodreads    |      Amazon   

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My Review:

When a Duke Loves a Governess follows Tessa, who wants more than anything to own her own hat shop. Having lost her mother at a young age and not knowing her father, Tessa lived in an orphanage and has worked hard to achieve her goals. However, she still doesn’t have enough money for a shop. When an opportunity to work as a governess arises, Tessa jumps at the chance. Becoming a governess will give Tessa the funds for her shop and the opportunity to find her father.

With only a locket to prove her aristocratic father’s identity and an unruly child to care for, Tessa’s dream is filled with obstacles. And when she starts to fall for Guy, the duke who has hired her, Tessa’s dreams begin to change. An enemy threatening Guy’s family, a curse, secrets, and many other obstacles stand in the way of their forbidden love, which makes for a captivating and romantic read.

Guy never expected to become duke, but after several deaths in his family, the role is thrust upon him. Guy enjoyed his life abroad as a botanist, and he struggles with the new responsibility. He also now has to care for his young and uncontrollable daughter, who has lived with her grandparents while Guy was away. To top it all off, there is a supposed curse on the family that ends all of the men’s lives too soon.

I so enjoyed the love story between Guy and Tessa. They have great chemistry, and I like how their affection for each other slowly builds. Being an employer/employee and coming from different classes are huge obstacles for them, as are the other more dangerous problems that stand in their way, but Tessa and Guy work through their problems well. They make a great team, and, in addition to the romance, I like how the mysteries of the curse and Tessa’s father unfold. There were a few revelations that I didn’t expect, and I like how solving these mysteries brought Tessa and Guy closer together. They are also connected by their mutual love for Sophy.

Sophy is an out-of-control terror who has run away every other governess she’s had. Poor Sophy! Mad at being taken from her grandparents and feeling unwanted by her father, Sophy is filled with frustration, resentment, and anger. Of course, Sophy acts out and behaves terribly. Luckily, Tessa has a lot of experience with kids, and she is very patient. I love how Sophy and Tessa grow closer and how their relationship strengthens throughout the story. Tessa slowly gains her trust and love, and the feelings are reciprocated. They have a lovely bond, and Tessa is definitely a positive influence on Sophy’s (and Guy’s) life. Other characters like Carlin and Tessa (we need more of them, please!) are fabulous additions to the story as well.

I thought this was a fun historical romance with well-developed and interesting characters. The storyline is intriguing with a bit of mystery, intrigue, and a wonderful love story. Also, though it is the third book in the Unlikely Duchesses series, it can totally be read as a standalone. Thanks so much to NetGalley, St. Martin’s Press, and the author for a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review.


Favorite Parts:

  • The romance!!
  • The mystery.
  • Sophy.


This is a great story for readers who enjoy historical romance with well-developed characters and a couple of intriguing mysteries.

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