Book Review: A Governess Should Never… Deny a Duke by Emily Windsor

Happy Thursday and a very happy book birthday to A Governess Should Never… Deny a Duke by Emily Windsor. This is such a wonderful historical romance! Let’s check it out.

About the Book:

Title: A Governess Should Never… Deny a Duke

Author: Emily Windsor

Series: The Governess Chronicles #2

Page Length: 350

Publication Date: July 7, 2022

Synopsis: “So tell me, Miss Beaujeu, why should I employ you as governess?”

A question to rouse fear within the breast of any prospective governess but for Isabelle, a lady with impeccable references and tightly pinned hair, it barely raises a brow. But this rugged Welsh duke of an employer is unlike any other: dubbed Mean, Moody & Mysterious in gossip columns, he’s known to scowl a path through London society. And why have three governesses fled his employ within the last twelvemonths?

“I appoint you as governess. When can you start?”

Rhys Cadogan, the Duke of Aberdare, never procrastinates. And besides, with a house party to be hosted at his coastal estate, the sole purpose of which is to find him a wife, he’s in somewhat of a rush. But this drab-gowned paragon of a governess is unlike any other: lauded in her references, she exudes composure and intelligence, a perfect fit for his troubled niece. So why do Miss Beaujeu’s eyes also flash with a wild silvered gleam?

The Prudent Governess and the Passionate Duke.

One should never judge a duke by his Mean, Moody & Mysterious reputation or a governess by her tightly pinned hair, for beneath both tamed façades lay wildness and shared passions – not to be denied.

With forbidden kisses on stormy nights, a house full of prospective brides, a scandalous rake of an heir, dragon folklore and cinnamon biscuits, the vocation of governess has never been so thrilling…

LINKS:   Goodreads   |    Amazon

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My Review:

Emily Windsor’s newest historical romance, A Governess Should Never… Deny a Duke, is the second book in The Governess Chronicles, and it is a delightful read! It has wonderful characters, a fantastic found family, and a swoon-worthy romance.

When Miss Isabelle Beaujeu procures a governess position for the Duke of Aberdare’s niece, she didn’t realize it was not in London but in Wales. Though not thrilled with the idea, Isabelle can’t pass up the chance of working for a Duke, as it will help her in obtaining future jobs. Rhys Cadogan never expected to be a Duke, but when his beloved brother dies, he inherits the title and a grief-stricken niece. Determined to do right by the people who now depend on him, especially his niece, Rhys hires Isabelle to serve as her governess. He also enlists the help of his cousin Elen to find him a Duchess.

Elen arranges a house party with numerous possible matches for Rhys, but as much as the women try to tempt him, Rhys only has eyes for the intelligent and enigmatic Isabelle. And when Isabelle appears to be the target of some nefarious acts, Rhys will do anything to protect her. Can this pair figure out who is targeting her? And will they give in to their feelings for each other even though many obstacles stand in their way?

Isabelle and Rhys are fantastic protagonists! A French woman with a tragic past, Isabelle is strong, independent, and intelligent. She’s also an excellent teacher. She is so intuitive and compassionate, especially when it comes to her charge. Known for being mean, moody, and mysterious, Rhys is actually an honorable man with a strong sense of family, and it’s clear that he wants what is best for those he loves. Intelligent and capable, Rhys still feels out of his depth and unprepared for the responsibilities thrust upon him. They are both well-rounded and layered characters whose individual stories are as engaging as their journey together as a couple.

The love story between Isabelle and Rhys is, of course, my favorite part of the story. Windsor sure knows how to write a swoon-worthy romance! Isabelle and Rhys have amazing chemistry, and their banter, intellectual conversations, and romantic moments are wonderful. I like how they start as friends before their feelings develop into something more. I also love the integration of poetry and how important it is to each of the protagonists. For both, it is a way to express themselves and deal with their emotions. This becomes an interest that further connects them, as does their appreciation for literature in general. Plus, poetry, especially the poetry they recite, is so romantic!

The secondary characters are also dynamic, and I love the found family aspect of the book. Rhys’s family and the people who work for him are all well-developed, and they add so much to the story. Rhys’s housekeeper, Mrs. Pugh, is dramatic and funny, Mari, Rhys’s niece, is a delight, and Rys’s cousin is comical. I love the setting too. Wales sounds like a beautiful and majestic place, much like the castle and lands Rhys owns, and the way that Rhys talks about it, and the way the author uses sensory language to describe it, very much complements the romantic nature of the story and Rhys and Isabelle’s relationship.

With secrets, intrigue, mysterious plots, devious house guests, lovable characters, and more, the novel also addresses topics like grief, racism, war, friendship, and more. It’s a great read, and one I’d highly recommend to readers of historical romance!

Thanks to Emily Windsor for providing me with a copy of the book. All thoughts are my own.



Favorite Parts:

  • The romance.
  • The found family.
  • The setting.

Favorite Lines:

I do not think there is a time limit on the clock of grief.

Silence was one’s closest ally.

Comfort such as that is never foolish, for it is the type that yields remembrance of joyful times, inspires and gives hope.


Want to learn more about the series? Check out my review of the first book.

11 thoughts on “Book Review: A Governess Should Never… Deny a Duke by Emily Windsor

  1. Great review! I love reading the duke/governess and found family tropes, so this sounds like a winner. Do you have to read the series in order?

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