Review – The Tempting of the Governess by Julia Justiss

About the Book:

His new governess…

Is getting under his skin!

Infuriating, impertinent…just some of the words Colonel Hugh Glendenning could use to describe Miss Olivia Overton! She’s insisting he spend time with his orphaned wards—which has forced him to admit he’s been keeping the world at arm’s length since losing his wife and baby son. That’s not all that’s disturbing him. It’s the new temptation Olivia’s sparking in Hugh to enjoy life again—with her!

Click on title below for direct Amazon buy link:                                                   The Tempting of the Governess

My Review:

I received a complimentary copy of this book.

Olivia Overton has her life planned out, and is eager to begin establishing her own home with her friend, Sara, and to become an active supporter of political reform.  Olivia’s dreams for her future fade away as she learns that the trustees of her money have poorly invested and lost all of it except for a pittance.  In addition, due to her mother’s recent death, her family home now reverts to a distant relative who plans to immediately take possession.  Refusing to accept charity, Olivia decides to remain independent, and begins to seek a position as governess.

Colonel Hugh Glendenning is back in England after several years spent in India.  He has inherited Somers Abbey from his cousin, and has spent the last year and a half trying to restore the run down estate.  Hugh is glad for the hard work and the location away from town, as he has his own heartbreak and guilt to deal with.  While in India, Hugh lost his young son, then shortly after, his wife, and he feels that the blame rests squarely on him.  Hugh had agreed to act as guardian to his cousin’s two young daughters in the event of his cousin’s death, but he is shocked to find them turn up on his doorstep.  It seems their stepmother has no desire to have the girls in her household, and is only too happy to turn them over to Hugh.  The two terrified young ladies should have touched Hugh’s heart, but all he can feel is the memories of his beloved little boy, brought even more to the forefront by his cousin’s children.   He needs to hire a governess immediately, one who’ll care for the girls, and keep them out of his sight.

Olivia arrives to find the girls, who had been left in the care of a witch of a housekeeper, scared, cold, lonely, and hungry.  Under Olivia’s supervision, the girls begin to flourish, though they’re still very leery of their guardian, who seems determined to avoid them at all costs.  Once Olivia, who is not shy, has badgered Hugh into providing additional funds for dressing and providing for the girls, she begins to work on having him become a part of their lives and give them some attention and affection.

Hugh is truly not a bad man at all, just one who has let his past cause him to close his heart to love – both romantic and familial.  His avoidance of the girls helps him block the pain of the loss of his son.  Olivia, however, is a force to be reckoned with, and ever so slowly, she begins to integrate the girls into Hugh’s life.  As he thaws toward the girls, he begins to heat up for Olivia, whose care and boldness attract him and make him feel alive for the first time since the early days of his marriage.  Hugh begins to envision a future of them as a family, though he’ll be sure to let Olivia know that he has no love left in him to give.  When the opportunity comes for a family member to take the girls off his hands, Hugh has to make a decision about whether he chooses to be safe, or to risk the possible pain that is part of the package of having a family.

In reading, I’m usually definitely hero-centric, but in this case, Olivia steals the show for me.  She has had to deal with so many misfortunes in her own life, yet she’s so strong in her resolve and determination.  In no way does this make her hard, as she has love and compassion in abundance.  Even when she gets her heart broken one more time, she picks herself up, and makes a plan.  I totally adore her.  That’s not to say that I didn’t like and understand Hugh – I did.  His grief and guilt was strong, and his only desire was to protect himself from ever feeling such hurt again.  As Olivia chipped away at his walls, I could see the loving and caring man that he once had been.  Hugh’s and Olivia’s journey to finally finding love was filled with longing for each other that jumped off the pages.  THE TEMPTING OF THE GOVERNESS is a beautifully written and emotional romance, which showcases the healing power of a strong love.    ~Rose

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