When a Duke Loves a Governess

Unlikely Duchesses

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Pub Date 27 Jul 2021 | Archive Date 10 Aug 2021
St. Martin's Press, St. Martin's Paperbacks


A stunning new Regency from beloved author Olivia Drake, When a Duke Loves a Governess...!

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?

A stunning new Regency from beloved author Olivia Drake, When a Duke Loves a Governess...!

Tessa James has worked and planned tirelessly to open her own millinery shop. All she needs now is a loan...

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ISBN 9781250174499
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Average rating from 348 members

Featured Reviews

This was a wonderful book. Olivia Drake weaves a romantic plot with enough twists to keep you guessing and enough heat to keep you blushing. A wonderful novel with the perfect amount of sass, smiles and sighs to keep you entranced. I enjoyed reading this novel and look forward to reading more by this talented author. I appreciate being given the opportunity to read a copy of this book before release in exchange for my honest opinion and unbiased review.

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Good story and great characters. Tessa is a woman who knows what she wants and isn't afraid to go after it herself. She never accounted for a handsome Duke and his wild but darling daughter.

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I received an Advance Reader Copy from the publisher, via NetGalley. This in no way impacted on my view.

Tessa James wants to find her aristocratic father, who abandoned her mother while pregnant, and ask him for a loan so she can start her own millinery business, rather than being at the beck and call of others. She has scrimped and saved for years, and has a small savings pot, but needs to speed it up. The problem is, the only link she has to her father is a locket her mother gave her before she died, with a heraldic emblem on it. When Tessa overhears that the Duke of Carlin needs a new governess for his young daughter, Sophy, Tessa decides to try and blag her way in, and hopefully use the time to find her father. However, the growing attraction between herself and Guy, and the love and affection she feels for Sophy, soon make Tessa want more than just her own millinery business, and will the 'Carlin Curse' come back to haunt them?

This book was definitely my favourite of the series, even though I enjoyed all of the others. As soon as I had started it, and met Tessa, Guy, and Sophy, I was hooked, and one thing I will say for Olivia, she knows how to write families, and romances. Tessa and Sophy may have had a difficult start, with Sophy feeling unwanted by her father, hating being taken from her grandparents and elderly nursemaid when Guy returned from overseas, and had been running all her other governesses out of the home with her behaviour. She didn't want to like Tessa, and didn't make it easy for her, but with Tessa's history of living in an orphanage, and looking after the younger girls, she knew how to gain her trust, and later, her affection.

For Guy, he never expected to be duke, as the son of one of the younger sons, but when his uncles, father, and elder cousin died, his grandfather made him heir, and he had to return home for his travels looking at botany and wildlife abroad. All of his relatives seem to have died in weird or strange circumstances, and when his aunt proclaims that there is a curse on the family, Guy, with the help of Tessa, start to investigate it further. I will admit that I had guessed that the culprit was involved somehow, but not to the full extent of it all. Even so, I loved the mystery, and the resolution of it all, as well as how the truth of Tessa's heritage was. I never expected it all, especially when more is revealed about her mother's past, but it fit her perfectly, and, more importantly, fit the story. Tessa and Guy had a fantastic relationship, and I really appreciated the growth in their friendship first, then romance. They both truly cared for Sophy, and that brought them a kinship, which helped them realise their love for one another, and that they could be together. I can't wait to see what Olivia releases next!

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All Tessa wants is to be able to own her own hat shop, where stylish, yet tasteful designs can be found, but after quitting her previous employer on a not so good note she needs to find a new job to raise money and fast. Using a bit of gossip she overhears at her old job she decides to apply for a governess position for the new Duke of Carlin’s incorrigible daughter, because how hard can it be right? Unfortunately the spoiled little miss is a tough nut to crack, but no match for Tessa, too bad her somber and staid father, the Duke is not so easily swayed. Although adventurous in spirit Guy, the new Duke, is a stickler for rules and hates liars, but even he can see the positive changes Tessa has brought about, as there’s more to Tessa than meets the eye and through a few mysterious events events the two start to fall for each other. Unfortunately their end goals don’t seem to match until a bit of intrigue pulls them closer together. This was a nice, quick historical romance, with a bit of secrecy for both lead characters , a twist about the family curse that has you wanting to find out who the “villain” is, and lots of amusing supporting characters. 4 stars. I received an arc copy of this book from NetGalley and the publisher for my honest review.

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Olivia Drake has written another delicious historical romance. Tess and Guy are quite an entertaining couple. Good plot and writing. Totally enjoyed it!

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A great read overall. Olivia Drake is one of my favorites and she delivered a delicious romance. The child acted just like a child experiencing tragedy would act and the other characters were good too.

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Tessa James has had a rough life. Born to a nobleman that doesn't even know she exists, she loses her mom at a young age and is forced into an orphanage and workhouse for most of her childhood. She spends her life in the cramped back room of a millinery shop, working for next to nothing for a mean boss. One day, she's had enough. She quits with dreams to find her highborn father, get a loan from him and open her own hat shop one day. In the meantime, she has to find a way to feed herself.
She stumbles upon a job as a governess to the Duke's misbehaving daughter, and with a little bit of deception and hard work is able to get the position. Along the way, can she resist her feelings for the Duke while deceiving him and also find her real family?

This was a fun read for me. Was it anything super original? No, but it was still enjoyable. I loved the main characters and immediately wanted to know more about their story. There were just enough plot twists at the end to keep the ending from being completely predictable and the author did a great job of not dragging the story on for too long. Overall, I enjoyed this book and look forward to others in the series.

Thank you Netgalley and the publishers for the ARC in exchange for my review and honest opinions.

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This was a really cute story. I enjoyed it a lot. A perfectly pleasant way to spend an evening. I highly recommend it to everyone. The story is adorable. It was also a bit of a nail biter. I was so worried that her house of cards was going to collapse! It was amazing though. I loved it!

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This was a fun story about a Duke and the governess. I hadn’t read anything by Olivia Drake before but I will definitely try out more of her books in the future!

Tessa is a hat-maker who is the bastard daughter of an unknown aristocrat. She dreams of owning her own shop one day and finding her family to help secure a loan for this purpose. When she overhears that the Duke is having trouble keeping a governess, she jumps at the chance to insert herself into the household and see if she can find information on her family.

Guy Carlin came back from a world tour voyage to many deceased relatives making him Duke and a child who hates him. His little girl is out of control and can't keep a governess. Enter Tessa! He knows something is off about Tessa immediately. Tessa works wonders on the little girl, finds her family including two half siblings and they all live happily ever after.

This book was a quick read for me which I enjoyed after reading a man killer book. I love a good historical romance about the governess! The romance had great tension but we don’t get most of it until the end of the book. We needed more Carlin and Tessa time! It ended rather abruptly and we could have used more in terms of how she came to accept a relationship with him and more of her new family but overall still a fun read.

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This was a really lovely romance to read and I thoroughly enjoyed the story. It was long enough for a great storyline to develop and the mystery element had me guessing until the author revealed their identity. The leads were given enough depth to make them enjoyable characters. The only down part for me as an English reader was the American words, but overall it was a great read.

Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for allowing me to read a preview copy of this book.

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I hadn't read this author before but when St Martin's Press offered me an advance copy through NetGalley, I quickly went back and found and read the first two books in this series. I quite enjoyed both, so I felt encouraged about this one. And I quite like it as well. All three books are 4 stars for me. This one teetered on being able to round up to 5 stars a few times, but overall I think 4 is most accurate.

Governess/employer stories can be a little bit tricky. I like the built-in reason for having to try to resist someone, but obviously in a romance they're ultimately going to end up failing at it, so you have to ward against making the man seem like a creep preying upon his staff. I think this one balanced that well. Also the setup- a woman applying for a job she's not nearly qualified for and lying and being hired anyway, etc., all of that is inherently terribly unlikely! But the book does a good job of acknowledging that, it's a very risky move and the chance of pulling it off is tiny, but not entirely impossible! I appreciated that much more than a book just trying to pretend like everything's normal. It made it much easier to go along with it!

I liked the hero and heroine individually and as a couple. They made mistakes here and there, but they were pretty believable and understandable ones. The steam was about average in quantity and detail, but I felt like their chemistry was a notch above average. The supporting cast was good. It didn't go into great detail about most of them, but I don't think it was necessary to do so. What was there was enough of an outline that they didn't feel like nameless stick figures.

I solved the mystery early on, but that's fine, I don't read historical romance for the mysteries. A couple clues felt like the characters were being a bit oblivious not to consider, but, that happens sometimes in real life as well. And it didn't feel *painfully* obvious as some do, so I appreciated that.

I enjoyed reading this and was entertained throughout. I look forward to reading more books by this author.

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So good, so good, so good! Loved every page! fabulous, she knows what she wants and plans to get it.
I never write a spoiler, but really, this is great .I can't wait!! for the next book.

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I received this from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review, This is book 3 in the Unlikely Duchesses series. This was a good read and I really enjoyed it a great deal,

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I received an arc from NetGalley and this is my honest opinion.
Tessa is a strong willed and determined young lady. When her creative fashion is criticized and used against her she is bound to find a new way to follow her dreams.
Tessa acquires a new job as governess in search of her Nobel family who can hopefully help her fulfill her dream however her charge Sophy and her father start to mean more to her and there is someone who not only wants to harm her but harm Guy, her employer.
Great story with some romantic suspense thrown in.
4.5 stars

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I love a good governess story and I found this book delightful. I would continue to read books by this author.

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I'm a sucker for a regency book with a governess plot. A hatmaker as the main character was an interesting take on things. She's a strong character who doesn't back down from what she wants. The duke was the typical brooding persona at the start and then comes around. All in all a fun story.

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When a Duke Loves a Governess is a slow burn romance/mystery which follows Tessa James, a young woman with the modest dream of opening her own millinery shop. Having lost her mother at a young age, Tessa has known nothing but hard work with little payout. When the opportunity arises to be a Governess for the incorrigible young daughter of the Duke of Carlin, Tessa jumps at the opportunity. Not only will she be able to leave behind her awful working conditions, she'll have the opportunity to investigate the true identity of her unknown father. With only a locket detailing her nobleman father's coat of arms, she enters Carlin house ready to uncover her father's identity and beg him for a loan to pursue her dreams. What she wasn't expecting to uncover: affection for a mistreated young girl, mutterings of a family curse, and passion in the arms of a Duke. As more secrets unravel, Tessa realizes that nothing is quite what she assumed it to be, including her own identity.

This book was very enjoyable! While some plot points were easy for the reader to predict, others had me genuinely surprised and eager to know what would happen next. The book had a great range of scenes: tender moments with Sophy (the duke's daughter), intriguing tales from the duke's travels around the world, witty banter between Tessa and… well… pretty much everybody, and of course, the mystery behind both Tessa's heritage and the Carlin Curse. Overall, an ecstatic ⅘ stars!

Many thanks to NetGalley and to St. Martin's Press for the opportunity to read this ARC in exchange for an honest review!

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I enjoyed this book. I have not read an Olivia Drake book before, however, I will be reading more of her novels.
The story started a little slow but quickly picked up. All the characters were well written and the story interesting and enjoyable.
I recommend reading this book and I look forward to reading her other books.

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We follow Tessa James, a lone working class woman that dreams of opening up her own millinery shop one day. In a hunt for her unknown father she applies to be a governess to Sophy, the only daughter of Guy, the Duke of Carlin. Sophy is a terror that drives away all her governesses until Tessa comes along and recognizes the pain the little girl is hiding. As she helps Guy and Sophy connect as father and child she searches for her own long lost father. In doing so she uncovers more than she bargained for. Guy and Tessa work together to uncover a nefarious plot and an unknown enemy before all is lost. Along the way they fall headlong into love. A wonderful story full of heartbreak, loss, and love overcoming all odds.

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A very interesting story that reminds me of some of the first historical romances I read as a teenager; with a smidge of gothic overtones to it. You see; there seems to be a curse on the men due to inherit the title of Duke of Carlin over the past 5 years....

The present Duke of Carlin, Guy Whitby, has been away all that time on a scientific study of flora at ports around the world. He didn't even realize that he had become the Duke of Carlin until months later. Forced to return home to take up the title; he is ill-prepared for the requirements of such a position and he also has to worry about his daughter; whom he hadn't seen since she was an infant (her mother died after giving birth). A string of governesses have gone through their home because of the ill-mannered child. Guy is at his wit's end.

Tessa James, an orphan and milliner's shop employee, overhears some talk between members of the Ton while she is working on a hat for a waiting client; about a Duke in need of a new governess. Tessa's dream is to open her own shop and she has been scrimping and saving as much of her hard-earned money as possible. She has also been trying to find her father; a man she's never met and doesn't even know his name. She has a clue to his identity that her dying mother gave her. She hatches a plan to acquire the governess position in hopes of tracking down her father and maybe getting him to help her open a shop.

You know the old saying about people's plans and God laughing...

This was a delightful story. It is well written with some charming characters and a superb plot. I enjoyed it tremendously.

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The author has the ability to place the reader into the story as if they were a bystander observing the tale unfold. The story line is believable and you are able to relate to the main character as she overcomes numerous personal and social stumbling blocks. This is a story which will leave you feeling good about the outcome. As it is said love conquers all.

I have rated this book 4.5 stars and recommend it if you enjoy historical romance.

I received an ARC from Netgalley for my unbiased review.

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This book was a nice slow burn. The story line was unique & I enjoyed both main characters. Guy was not you typical Duke and was really down to earth. Tessa was a ambitious orphan who was trying to better her life. Who was the enemy came as a surprise at the end for me. Over all I really liked this story.

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Plot: It was so good! I went into this book expecting it to be a certain way, and it flipped so many things around in ways I didn't expect, which is a compliment! There were twists I didn't see coming, and it took turns I wasn't expecting, which was fun!

Characters: Tessa was such a great main character! I liked how she had her own dreams, completely unrelated to the aristocratic world. And Guy was a fantastic love interest! (Even when he was sticking his foot in his mouth!) I liked all the supporting characters, too. MINOR SPOILER: I hope we get a book about Will and Avis! END SPOILER

The Cover: I like it!

Overall: I went into this book expecting a fun read, but I underestimated how much I would like it! I loved this book, and I definitely want to read more books by Olivia Drake! If you're looking for a fantastic regency book, I highly recommend this one!

I received an e-ARC of this book from the publisher.

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*Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for a review copy of this book.*

This was a delightful little story about a Duke and a woman on a mission.

Tessa is a hat-maker who is a bastard daughter of an aristocrat, but she isn't sure which one. All she has is a dream for her own shop and a pendant with her family seal on it, left to her by her dead mother. When she overhears that a Duke is having governess problems, as in, trouble keeping one. She jumps at the chance to insert herself into the household and see if she can find information on her heritage.

Carlin is a man at a loss. He came back from a scientific voyage to a dead wife and a child who hates him. His little girl is out of control and can't keep a governess. He wants the best for her, but his choices are limited. He knows something is off about Tessa, but is honestly more disturbed by his attraction to her than anything else. She soon quickly proves herself as capable of taming his daughter and now he just has to fight his attraction to her and stop from ruining everything.

This book started off real strong and it was a quick read for me. I loved the set up and the characters and I LOVED watching the Duke get a chance to win over his daughter and become the father he wants to be. I could have used a bit more scenes with all three of them together (daughter, governess, and duke) because they were some of my favorites.

The romance had great tension, if a little on the tame side and my only real complaint is that the conflict was a bit confusing. There was a mystery element included that started too late and dragged on too long. There wasn't enough time to see Carlin woo Tessa. After he gets injured protecting her, she is just ready for anything he wants.

This was still a fun read and I would look forward to trying another Olivia Drake in the future.

4/5 stars for me.

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Amazing read I was captivated by the characters and the storyline was intriguing and engaging. I’ve been enjoying this authors books for while now and always look forward to reading more books. If you enjoy historical fiction you’ll enjoy this book

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Tessa is a wonderful heroine. Orphaned at age 6, she dreams of owning her own millinary shop! To get to her goal, she lies her way into a position as a governess...then the fun and trouble begins! Guy is the Duke, albeit a man who never wanted the honor. Every heir before him has died - year after year. Then we have Miss Sophy, the 5 year old daughter of the Duke, who was raised by maternal grandparents, who poisoned Sophy against her father. Well, yes, lots of things going on...and you'll enjoy every minute. There's romance, trust, confusion, treasure maps...everything in this story, and I couldn't put it down! I received a complimentary copy of this story in exchange for an honest review, and my honest review is that it's excellent!

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This was an absolutely delightful historical romance that was just swoon worthy. I absolutely adored Tessa and Guy and found their love story very compelling. My only wish is that the novel had an epilogue so that readers would have a glimpse into Tessa, Guy, and Sophy's lives in the years to come.

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4.5 Stars!

Born to a noble and a servant out of wedlock then forced into an orphanage when her mother died at age six, Tessa has experienced a rough life. For the last seven years, she’s slave away as a miliner’s assistant with dreams of opening her own shop one day. The only way Tessa can think of to make her dream come true is to find her noble father. All she has to go on is the family crest on a pendant her mother gave her as she lay dying. By pure chance, she hears the new Duke of Carlin is in need of a governess for his unruly daughter. Thinking that being in a noble house will help her find her sire, she quits her job and goes to apply for the governess position.

Guy Whitby, the new Duke of Carlin, was never supposed to inherit. He was the fourth in line for his grandfather’s title when his wife died after giving birth to their daughter. Not believing he could take care of his infant daughter, he leaves her with his in-laws while he travels around the world discovering all kinds of plant life. Upon his return, his grandfather, uncles, cousin, and father have all died and his four-year-old daughter is a holy terror. Becoming a duke and a father at the same time is a difficult road for Guy to travel. Going through six governess’s in less than two months, Guy becomes a little desperate. When Tessa shows up and demonstrates how she will interact with his daughter, Lady Sophy, he hires her. That, my friends, is just the beginning.

Olivia Drake once again creates a world with love, laughter, danger, and intrigue. There are so many facets to this story that draw you in, there is no way you will guess what happens next. Neither Tessa or Guy need or want a relationship at the beginning, but as their spark become a flame, there is no way they can stop their feelings from overflowing. While little Sophy is what we might call a brat, there are definite reasons for her behavior. It takes Tessa working with her and showing Guy the reasons his daughter acts the way she does to find the real Sophy. You know they will make a magnificent family if only things could go their way.

This story will make you laugh and cry all while falling in love with Guy, Tessa, and Sophy. A cast of secondary characters add a little flavor to the tale. Might we see a certain Earl and companion in an upcoming novel? I don’t know, but I sure hope we do. If you need some more Olivia Drake, check out the first two novels in this series, The Duke I Once Knew and Forever My Duke.

I received When a Duke Loves a Governess (Unlikely Duchesses, #3) for free. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

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Tessa James is an orphan who works in a millinery shop and loves making hats. Until she leaves the millinery to become the governess for the Duke of Carlin’s daughter while searching for her own father.

This is a well-written, emotional, romantic read.

I received an advance reader copy from the publisher. All opinions are my own.

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Wonderful story development, rich characters, and a plot that hooks you and never lets you go. I love it when I can immerse myself within a book and just forget about real life for awhile and “become” a part of the story. This book totally delivered!

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When a Duke Loves a Governess turned out to be exactly what I was expecting from this historical romance.

After the death of his wife, Guy leaves his newborn daughter in the care of her grandparents in order to travel the world studying plants. When he returns 4 years later to a terror of a child who chases even the strictest of Governesses away, he's desperate for a solution. Tessa James is an orphan looking for the father who cast her and her mother out. Could she be the answer to all his problems?

I really enjoyed this story, it was well written, well paced and dealt with some difficult topics in a great way. Especially the little girl learning to trust her father.

*Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for this eARC.

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What a wonderful story of redemption and love. The characters are just incredible. I so enjoyed the story and the way these people found love. I cannot wait to read more by this author

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