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Girl Meets Duke #2

The Governess Game

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He’s been a bad, bad rake—and it takes a governess to teach him a lesson

The accidental governess

After her livelihood slips through her fingers, Alexandra Mountbatten takes on an impossible post: transforming a pair of wild orphans into proper young ladies. However, the girls don’t need discipline. They need a loving home. Try telling that to their guardian, Chase Reynaud: duke’s heir in the streets and devil in the sheets. The ladies of London have tried—and failed—to make him settle down. Somehow, Alexandra must reach his heart . . . without risking her own.

The infamous rake

Like any self-respecting libertine, Chase lives by one rule: no attachments. When a stubborn little governess tries to reform him, he decides to give her an education—in pleasure. That should prove he can’t be tamed. But Alexandra is more than he bargained for: clever, perceptive, passionate. She refuses to see him as a lost cause. Soon the walls around Chase’s heart are crumbling . . . and he’s in danger of falling, hard.

385 pages, Kindle Edition

First published August 28, 2018

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About the author

Tessa Dare

53 books12.8k followers
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Tessa Dare is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of fourteen historical romance novels and five novellas. Her books have won numerous accolades, including Romance Writers of America’s prestigious RITA® award (twice!) and the RT Book Reviews Seal of Excellence. Booklist magazine named her one of the “new stars of historical romance," and her books have been contracted for translation in more than a dozen languages.

A librarian by training and a booklover at heart, Tessa makes her home in Southern California, where she lives with her husband, their two children, and a trio of cosmic kitties.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 3,810 reviews
Profile Image for Lana ❇✾DG Romance❇✾.
1,987 reviews11.7k followers
August 22, 2018
You are the worst example of false advertising. I was led to believe I was hiring a prim scold. Then I learn you’re remarkable and bold and interesting.”


I absolutely LOVED The Duchess Deal, but I was so unprepared for just how phenomenal this book would be. I kept thinking nothing can top the first book for me, but this one managed to blow it right out of the water! The banter, the romance, the characters, I adored absolutely everything about it. This just may be my favorite Tessa Dare book now. I loved it so hard!

Let me start with Chase.
When it came to relationships, sensual or otherwise, Chase had one rule. No attachments.

For an irreverent rake, he was one of the most endearing heroes I've ever read. There was this boyish charm to him beneath the sexy exterior that I simply couldn't get enough of. He was funny and all the while having this broken part to him that you can't help but want to heal.
I’ll have you know,” Chase said indignantly, “I have been hard at work during your absence. Witness the renovation in progress around you. I built that bar myself, thank you very much. It only needs a few coats of lacquer. And if that’s not sufficient for you—in the past week alone I’ve gone through a decade of bank ledgers, given seven orgasms, and interviewed five governesses. And no, none of the governesses were recipients of the orgasms, although a few of them looked as though they could use one.”

When Chase inherits two quirky young girls who lost their parents, he can barely keep up with their antics. In a desperate search for a governess, he meets Alex, who goes to his home in search of a job. Alex immediately falls in love with the two girls, and they're incredibly difficult not to love. I fell for them and their crazy antics right away. Their quirky personalities simply jump off of the pages at you.

When Alex takes the job as a governess, the slow brewing chemistry between her and Chase begins to build. And let me just tell you how incredibly delicious that chemistry was! Between their banter and sexual tension, I was riveted to my kindle and unable to tear myself away from the book.
What position?”
“Any position that requires insertion of my . . .” He waved vaguely toward his loins. “. . . male member.”
“Male member. Are we discussing a Masonic society, or are you referring to the penis?” He stared at her. “We are adults. If you’re going to discuss such matters, you may as well use the proper words. I would never have supposed you to be prudish.”
“I’m not prudish. I’m protecting your delicate feminine sensibilities.”
“I never acquired many of those. And considering that it was pressed up against me the other day, I should think we’ve moved beyond euphemisms. So go on, then. We were discussing your penis.”

I adored these two characters. I couldn't get enough of them. Alex and her sweet disposition but with a spine of steel was a phenomenal heroine. I loved that she was shy but not a pushover. I loved the way she blossomed throughout the story.
Has he touched you?”
Oh, had he ever. But what happened between them wasn’t any of Ash’s concern. “Not in any uninvited manner.”
“Are you certain?”
“Absolutely certain.”
“Now, now.” Chase shifted forward in his chair. “Be honest, Miss Mountbatten.”
“I am being honest. Mr. Reynaud has not subjected me to any unwanted attentions, nor taken advantage of me in any way.” Ash looked suspicious, but he didn’t belabor the question.
“Regardless. His sexual escapades are merely the tip of the iceberg.”
“Oh, I haven’t even acquainted her with the tip,” Chase said merrily. “Not properly.”

I think I must have highlighted over 3/4 of the book. I couldn't stop myself. I wanted to highlight all of the banter. This book had a ridiculous smile on my face the entire time I was reading.

The romance was incredible! What starts as a bit of unrequited love with Alex's crush on the mysterious stranger she once bumped into at a book store, soon turns into one of the most sizzling romances. The Governess Game was one of my favorite historical romances of the year! It was everything! Just everything! Funny, swoony, and full of banter that's sure to put a smile on your face. I loved every single page of it and cannot recommend it enough!

ARC courtesy of publisher in exchange for an honest review

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Profile Image for Anne.
3,787 reviews69k followers
March 3, 2019


I love Tessa Dare. Love her books! I stalked this one for a while and was really looking forward to it, but... I don't know. It was a bit weak somehow, especially towards the end.
Now, Tessa Dare is like Lisa Kleypas when it comes to romance novels, in my opinion.
And what I mean by that is that even one of her lesser works is still pretty darn satisfying.


Anyway, this is a cute story about a girl who set clocks (Clocksetterperson?) who ends up governess to 2 loveable odd little girls because of a panic attack on a boat. <--it makes sense in the story


Add in a handsome & rogueish Duke, and mix with a couple of sad-but-not-too-sad backstories for the two of them, and you have the basic plot of The Governess Game.
It's not too shabby, just don't go into this one expecting the bestest romance of your life and you should enjoy yourself.
Profile Image for Warda.
1,091 reviews17.4k followers
August 31, 2020
I wasn’t expecting anything other than pure enjoyment and to be swept away by this story and that’s exactly what I got.
I can’t help but helplessly fall in love with the stories Tessa Dare writes. Granted, the characters are somewhat interchangeable and they more or less follow the same plot line making it feel slightly, just slightly, regurgitated, but I am hooked on it every single time. It doesn’t bother me in the slightest. I’d happily read them all over again. These books are my happy place.

All you need to know about this book: our main character loves books. Just go and read this!

Tessa Dare writes the most loving characters, endearing romances, fierce females who defy societal standards and follow their dreams and alpha males who are the biggest of softies on the inside. I swoon every single damn time and I love relishing in those feelings.

I’m super grateful I received a copy of ‘The Governess Game’ and ‘The Duchess Deal’ by Mills and Boon. Thanks a million! I'll forever be reading Tessa Dare.

Pre-reading feels!
I received a copy from the publisher, which made me stupid happy! I love Tessa Dare and the stories she writes, the heroines she creates, the romance that is infused. And do not get me started on the men.

Profile Image for EmBibliophile.
461 reviews1,016 followers
October 1, 2020
3.5 stars

An honorary award should be given to Millicent. She survived a lot. Seriously, Millicent’s funerals were the most entertaining thing in the book!

Because I was so eager to read Penny’s book, I jumped right into it and skipped this one. I’m glad I finally picked it up. It was so adorable. The kids were so cute. I enjoyed their scenes a lot, specially all of those Millicent’s funerals! I loved those scenes!

However, I felt like the book is going so fast, I just didn’t get the chance to see their chemistry? And for some reason I wasn’t invested in their romance. I liked Alexandera, she was an interesting character with an interesting background. On the other side, Chase’s character was kinda weak? Or just superficial? I don’t know I just thought that he’s kinda boring or didn’t interest me enough. There were many cute adorable scenes that I enjoyed tho. This might not have a lot of depth, but it was still a fun read!
Profile Image for Geri Reads.
1,232 reviews2,023 followers
August 6, 2018

Tessa Dare writes my kind of romance. Her latest book proved that once again. The Governess Game is filled with relatable characters, playful banter, and a swoon-worthy romance.
"First he was merely the Bookshop Rake, but as the weeks wore on, he made a rapid ascent up the rungs of the peerage. Sir Read. Lord Literature. The Duke of Hatchard's."

When Alex Mountbatten ran (literally) into Chase Reynaud at Hatchard's book shop, she had no idea that in a few months time she would be working as a governess for the two wards who came under his care. She was a clock-setter, not a governess. But some unexpected circumstances landed Alex her new position as Chase's governess and thus, the Governess Game begins. And boy, did it ever begin.
"You are the worst example of false advertising. I was led to believe I was hiring a prim scold. Then I learn you're remarkable and bold and interesting."

I adored this book. Specifically, I adored Alex. She was, like most of Dare's heroines, interesting and ahead of her time. Her being a half-mestiza Filipino was a bonus. She was resilient and ambitious with big dreams. Most of all, she took no crap from Chase no matter how irresistible he was, and Chase was pretty much 'irresistible' come to life. The man oozed rakishness and sex appeal, and he glories in it.

Their banter was, once again, on point and hilarious. I found myself laughing many times throughout this book. And when I wasn't laughing, I was swooning. Tessa Dare just knows how to make her readers swoon. This book was also sexy and steamy as hell. There's one particular scene which I won't disclose but oh my lawd, I had to fan myself whilst reading that one. It was HOT. Chase was indeed a bad, bad rake in all the best ways possible.
"We should go after the girls"
"Yes, we should"
Neither of them moved.
Alex bit her lip. "We're going to kiss instead, aren't we."
"You're goddamned right, we are."

Another wonderful thing about this book was Chase's wards, Rosamund and Daisy. I have to say that Dare knows how to write kids. Rosamond and Daisy were smart and precocious but their dialogue shows you they are still kids.  I loved how she wrote about their relationship with Chase. Those scenes were some of the most hilarious in the book.

We also get to see more of Alex's friends, which I personally loved. Emma's story is up next and I'm already salivating at the set up Dare has for her and her Duke. Anyway, I digress.

So why did I not give this one 5 stars when I so clearly adored it? Well, the pacing was a little spotty for me. It didn't lag exactly but it could've been definitely better or smoother, I suppose. There were also moments where I really got frustrated with Chase. He did wise up in the end but man, was he stubborn or what.

Despite those things, Alex, the kids, and the romance made this whole book for me. Tessa Dare continues to be an auto-buy author for me.
"I couldn't forget you, Alex. And I won't allow anyone else to forget you, either. Not the Royal Observatory, not the world. Not the universe, for that matter."


ARC provided by Avon
Profile Image for h o l l i s .
2,335 reviews1,821 followers
August 21, 2018
Five stars for every single one of Millicent's funerals.

"Can you tell me about their interests, or their schooling? Anything at all?"
"They've had little proper schooling, but are somehow far too clever despite it. Their interests are mischief, disease, petty thievery, and plotting crimes against the house staff."

As for the rest of this story.. meh?

Embroidery wasn't her favourite hobby, but Alex planned to stitch those words on a sampler and hang it over her bed : Seducing you would never even cross my mind -- Mr. Charles Reynaud, 1817.

I know, it feels like a freaking travesty because I love Dare. I love her silliness, her heart, her humour, everything. So many of her books are my happy place. Including book one in the Girl Meets Duke series. But as for THE GOVERNESS GAME.. it is weakened by Dumb Dumb Duke/Dude syndrome.

"Now if you'll excuse me, I have an engagement this evening. The women of London can't pleasure themselves, you know. I mean, they can pleasure themselves. But on occasion they generously let me have a go at it."

While the heroine, Alexandra, has a fantastic and totally unique background (one I am not spoiling), and the romantic relationship that develops between these two characters is both kind of typical and yet also not at all, the major failing is Chase. He is holding onto the belief that he can't be close to anyone, can't love, can't marry, can't carry on his line, because he let down his cousin and inherited everything he never wanted. But meanwhile he's charming, sweet, and caring, and so it's really quite hard to buy in on the nitty gritty of his refusals and rebuffs because it doesn't end up carrying any weight. It can be done, it's been done before (probably by this very author), but I just couldn't swallow it this time.

"I'm not a governess. I've no training, no experience. And governess are gently bred women, aren't they? I don't meet that qualification, either."
"I don't care if you're gently bred, roughly bred, or a loaf of brown bread with butter. You're educated, you understand propriety, and you're.. breathing."

What I did love, in addition to Alex and the sexytimes, were the children. They were just the best. And anyone who knows me knows I don't often say those words. I often struggle with young characters who play large roles in a plot but Rosamund and Daisy (and Millicent!) were just wonderful. I loved how Alex won them over, and how they won her over, and the entire dynamic between all three of them. Throw in some cameos from book one's couple and a reintroduction to Alex and Emma's other ladyfriends.. it was just a delight. But oh Chase, why.

"Don't do it, Alex. Don't try to hold me with my head in your lap, and kiss my tortured brow and stroke my hair, and tell me I'm blameless and misunderstood."
"I hadn't intended to do any such thing."

I will definitely be reading on because the potential for future shenanigans is great and I will never not read a Dare. I want to blame this on my slump, that I'm rating more harshly than I otherwise would, that I would've probably rounded up had I read this at any other time. But I don't quite believe that. This one just didn't quite measure up to the ones before.

2.75 stars

** I received an ARC from Edelweiss and the publisher (thank you!) in exchange for an honest review. **
Profile Image for chan ☆.
1,013 reviews46.2k followers
December 12, 2018
A man rose to his feet for a lady, his queen, or a divine being, and she was at least one of those- if not all three

swoon, muthafuggin SWOON! what a fantastic way to kick off smutathon. i fell too hard for this book.

so what had happened was, chase is a duke and he begrudgingly cares for 2 orphans who are probably in some way related to him. 10 and 7 year old girls. after a series of strange circumstances, clock winder and aspiring astronomer alex becomes the girls' governess.

both chase and the girls have spent too long feeling guilty and unloved, respectively. but the story itself really focuses on humor and acceptance and big ole fat swoons. because chase was hilarious and so so thoughtful. and while i don't typically enjoy romances that have children as a way to bring the main characters together, i fell for this one hook line and sinker.

i think the reason i appreciated the children so much was their gallows humor. each night they would wake up their guardians for a doll funeral which chase would give eulogies for. here's a lovely snippet:

"almighty father, we commit to your keeping the soul of millicent. ashes to ashes. sawdust to sawdust. she was a doll of few words and yet fewer autonomous movements, yet she will be remembered fr the ever-present- some might say permanently painted- smile on her face. by the grace of our redeemer, we know she will be resurrected, perhaps as soon as luncheon"

and the reason i liked chase so much was that his appreciation for alex never seemed to waver. even when he wasn't able to admit his feelings to himself. i mean cmon:

"Because it's damned tiresome being the one person alive who understands how truly remarkable you are"

and of course, i can't forget alex. her ability to understand exactly what the girls' needed after being abandoned time and again. and her ability to see thru and call out chase's bullshit really got me. and i mean, she's smart as hell.

overall this was damn lovely, and unlike most of my friends i liked this one even better than the first. 10/10 would read again.
Profile Image for Jilly.
1,838 reviews6,209 followers
October 10, 2019
This could also be called 40 Funerals and a Wedding. Because, there is pretty much a funeral every day. And, I loved it. I mean, sure, who doesn't love a good funeral, amIright? But, these funerals are special. And, hilarious.

Perfect eulogy.

Our hero in this book is a rake - my favorite kind of ye olde dude. Why are the rakes the ones who are the funniest and most relaxed, unlike all of the other dudes with sticks up their butts? Must be all the sex. Or, maybe the syphilis? Does that make you funnier? I don't know much about it, so let's just make the most logical conclusion from the evidence in romance novels: Syphilis gives you a better personality. Now, kids, go out and get ya some syphilis. It will totally help you get girls, or boys, or whatever you're in to. I'm not your mother. Do your freaky thing!

Yeah, I also heard that gonorrhea gives you shiny hair. Why not go for the gold?

Gah, I'm nailing this advising-the-young thing! I know all about the sex things.
You might say I'm DTF - a Director of True Facts.

Our heroine is a chick who is just looking for a job to wind this guy's clock everyday. And, no, that isn't a euphemism. She actually winds clocks for a living. WTF history? That was a job? It's so fucking stupid! Not like nowadays. Our jobs in this day and age are actually necessary and important to the fabric of society.

Um... yeah.. important.
I don't want to say too much. That last lady is my boss. Don't want to get on her bad side.

What? I'm a total MILF: Mom Into Lots of Fun.

However, when our clock-winder gets to the rake's house, he thinks she is there for a governess job. He is also day-drinking, in the middle of setting up a sex den, smells like a whorehouse, and has some woman's stocking hanging from a fixture....

To say she is shocked is an understatement. This dude is even in his bare feet!!! BARE FEET!!

"What kind of gentleman conducts an employment interview in this..." She indicated their surroundings, at a loss for the word. "....cave of carnality?"

"Cave of Carnality," he echoed with amusement. "Oh, I like that. I've a mind to engrave that on a plaque."

And, that is how the ye olde knickers got melted back then. He's a cheeky monkey all right.

He decides that he really needs this woman as a governess to his two orphaned wards, and she's just as weak as Jilly would be when faced with those hot bare feet - she agrees.

The two little girls turn out to be pretty awesome as well.
There is flirting and pirating and lots and lots of funerals.
It's hilarious and awesome.

I'm ready for the next book. I hear there is a foul-mouthed parrot. That's Jilly's spirit animal.

I love him so much.
July 3, 2020
I really liked this book, but I didn't love it like book one. I found myself laughing a lot. I liked both Alex and Chase as a couple and I found them both endearing in their own way. I didn't care for the push/ pull of Alex and Chase's relationship though. Chase was what made me take a star off my rating. As charming as he was he was a bit of a chicken about his feelings. That's a huge pet peeve of mine. The fact that this book was still a 4 star read with cowardly actions is a testament to how cute this book was. I loved the girls and Alex. They were funny and outgoing. They all made a cute family. The dying doll was too funny. Also it was nice to get to see Emma and Ash again. Man I loved Ash. Overall I can't wait to read Penny and Nicola's books.
Profile Image for Chelsea (chelseadolling reads).
1,471 reviews19.1k followers
September 15, 2018
Hello my name is Chelsea and I am trash for Tessa dare 😅 this was SO MUCH FUN. I didn’t love it quite as much as the first book, but it was still a super solid read and I ADORED the parts that featured the characters from the previous book. My heart!
Profile Image for lisa.
2,068 reviews303 followers
October 14, 2018
Tessa Dare's latest is one of my anticipated titles this year and it didn't disappoint!

Um...............except for the tiny part of me that expected more kinkiness ever since I read the blurb line. "He’s been a bad, bad rake—and it takes a governess to teach him a lesson"??? I mean, c'mon! There was a scene where Alexandra played pirates with her charges and then the kids tied her and Chase up and ran off, and there might be an inner monologue from one of them about tying the other up in bed AND WE DIDN'T EVEN GET THAT?

Talk about missed potential!

But otherwise I really enjoyed Chase and Alexandra's book. Chase reminded me a bit of Colin from Tessa's Spindle Cove series. I just love his carefree ways and how he cared for his wards despite him threatening to send them off to boarding school. Alex is also easy to love; I admire her strength and I love that she's not a pushover. She's also smart in figuring out what the kids really need, and I love her bond with them. There's also cameos from Ash and Emma, the new parents. I love daddy!Ash especially. I think I'm going to reread The Duchess Deal one of these days.



What a kinky blurb line. If there is no kinkiness in this book I will riot-

Updated, 27th Dec 2017:

Tessa Dare just tweeted the blurb out and mi gente,

duke's heir in the streets and devil in the sheets-

He decided to give her an education-in pleasure.


Profile Image for preoccupiedbybooks.
439 reviews971 followers
June 13, 2020
Ah this was just what I needed! Funny, sweet and steamy with adorable rakes, aspiring astronomers, girl pirates, great friends and a goat 🙌This put a smile on my face, and sometimes, that's all you can ask for ❤️
Profile Image for Aisling Zena.
632 reviews452 followers
October 14, 2018
4.5 stars

Review now posted 5/9/18

What an utterly delightful and effortless read! I completely adored the first book and when I saw that there was a second one and it was available to request on NetGalley I rushed to do so. Nearly broke some fingers in haste. And I was right to want it so badly. It always thrills me when I find good books and even more so when my expectations and hopes for them become reality. And for a person that hardly ever highlights, I feel like I highlighted half the book almost.

"Bang. A collision of cosmic proportions."

After so many years of reading romance (in it's many and varied genres), I still love the moment the two protagonists meet. The meet-cute here was delicious! And in one of my favourite settings, fictional and real-life, a bookshop! I fell hook, line and sinker from the first page.

Meet Alexandra Mountbatten:

"She set goals, and she worked to achieve them. Feet on the ground, shoulders squared, and head on straight.
She would not-absolutely not-be carried away with romantic fantasies.
Sadly, her imagination ignored this memorandum."

A practical dreamer. A pragmatic romantic. A stargazer and a clock fixer. What a beautiful combination of contradictions. Also I don't recall reading another book where the protagonist is Mestiza(a person of mixed race, here part Spanish, American and Filipino) in Regency Era England.

And of course Chase Reynaud:

A libertine, a scandalous rake and a worthless scoundrel. An irredeemable, broken man. According to himself.

"I thought you understood this from the very first day. I'm a bitter disappointment,remember. A poor excuse for a gentleman. A man incapable of understanding the consequence of stockings."

Chase is in a bit of pickle. He is set to inherit a title and become a Duke. But along with all the riches and title that he doesn't want, he also inherits two little girls. Rosamund and Daisy. They greatly challenge his no attachments rule.

"Chase's wards were incorrigible morbid hellions."

After losing several governesses because of their antics, he's desperate. He mistakenly interviews Alexandra for a governess and offers her an astronomical amount to stay. Following an accident, she accepts out of desperation. Soon, Alex sees through Chase's nonchalant airs and efforts of detachment and into his heart. Can she make him feel again without getting hurt?

"Here was a woman willing to stare into dark emptiness night after night, on the hope that someday some tiny speck might shine back. As she gazed at him, Chase found himself wishing he could reward her observation. "

"I'm not worried. You said the thought of seducing me would never even cross your mind"
"Yes, but sometimes", he murmured,"a man acts without thinking at all."

"Every woman was unique, but she was just so different. Strange and brave and clever. She made him different, too."

If I could I would add all the quotes I highlighted but I fear that would probably be the entire book copy pasted on my review. The relationship developing between Alex and Chase was entrancing and entertaining and even though they both had their fair share of hardships, the reading was so easy. It just flowed from page to page. No stumbles, drama or miscommunications. They both grow and make each other better. And of course their love encompasses the two hellions wards making it that much more touching. It made me tear up, it made me laugh, it made me flash with excitement and it made me supremely happy that my daughter doesn't conduct funerals for her dolls. (My kid resurrects everything with a magic kiss.)

I could not recommend Tessa Dare more and I am giddily awaiting the next book!


I got an ARC!! Thank you so much Netgalley! Sadly I got approved while I was away so now I have to ignore all my unpacking and cleaning and read all my ARCs. No regrets!


** ARC kindly provided via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review
Profile Image for Princess under cover.
517 reviews238 followers
September 7, 2018
It's been a dry spell in term of gobbling up books, so perhaps my expectations have become too high in the meantime, but... whatever the reason, this was not a great book for me. It helped to pass some time before bed, but I certainly didn't want to finish it in one sitting - it took several sittings and a lot of skipping to finish it. Here's why:

It started out well. I was so pleased with the Prologue. I was ready to hunker down into a witty, humorous story with extremely likable characters.

The doll deaths were cute and inventive. The heroine was likable. The hero I had hopes for, but then...

The plot is too contrived. Maybe that's the biggest problem. The rake is not really a rake (he doesn't have intercourse with women, hasn't for many many years), he's just relationship phobic.

He's relationship phobic because a cousin of his died on his watch, by accident. He felt responsible. He decided that he can't handle responsibilities, esp. as it pertains to other people. He also decided that he doesn't deserve to enjoy life and all the happiness his cousin would have had. Hence, no love, no marriage, no babies. And if no babies, as contraception back then wasn't fail proof, then no intercourse. He certainly won't be sticking his P inside any V. Just to make sure he can't have any babies so that he doesn't feel guiltier for having a life when his cousin is dead.

Now. We never get to see why he felt so responsible for the cousin, whether they were the best of pals and close as brothers and etc. (unless those are the parts I skipped, but I think not). So my first question is - why are you punishing yourself for something that really wasn't your fault, and second question is, what leap of logic made you believe the punishment ought to be no intercourse and no love?????

A more realistic response would be that such an incident helped him to mature, helped him view life perhaps as something fragile and should be taken seriously, maybe take his responsibilities more seriously rather than rejecting any and all responsibility. The convoluted logic to lead to his current character flaws which the heroine is supposed to cure him of with her love was so unbelievable to me, the more I read the less I got drawn into the story.

The rest of the book was kind of like a string of "scenes" to fit the guidelines of a 300+ page novel rather than an organic story that just naturally told itself. Which was why I was perfectly happy to skip around and get to the "good bits."

Speaking of the good bits, they weren't all that steamy or connective. They were - meh. Definitely didn't make me hot under my collar. Might have made me yawn in places.

So... I don't know if I'm being too harsh or in a weird funk. I loved some of Tessa Dare's books. But this one missed the mark for me.

And don't even get me started on the guy on the cover!
Profile Image for Michelle.
147 reviews236 followers
September 23, 2019
Delightful prose, wonderful banter and fabulous characters. Tessa Dare has exceeded all my expectations with “The Governess Game”. From the doll with an unfortunate tendency to die from horrendous diseases to inventive sandwich recipes, there is a lot of background entertainment in this story that makes it a memorable experience.

The second book in the “Girl Meets Duke” series features Alex and her “bookstore rake”, Chase. Both have their own charm and are thoroughly likeable. Their love story is delightful and sexy, but not erotic -- a really good mix of love play. Chase’s orphaned charges, Rosamund and Daisy, nearly steal the entire show. I wanted to adopt them both -- especially Daisy, who concocts ghastly deaths each morning for her precious baby doll, Millicent, just so Chase will have to hold her hand as he does the eulogy . The cast of characters have the enchanting quirks that I've grown to depend on in Dare’s novels. The plot draws brilliantly on each of their special personalities to weave an only slightly fanciful story that nevertheless captivated and enthralled me from the moment I started reading. And it was all done with a most generous sprinkling of laugh-out-loud funny moments --as well as a fair amount of gasp-worthy surprises.

“The Governess Game” is a good yarn with excellent characters. It’s very funny, quirky and heartfelt. If I had any complaints it would be the end -- I wanted more and I didn't want Chase, Alexandra, Rosamund and Daisy's story to end.

Profile Image for Holly.
1,391 reviews926 followers
November 30, 2018
The best part of this book was honestly all the ways Millicent died and was eulogized. You'll understand once you read this haha. This had some of Tessa Dare's humor, which I enjoyed, but I've never been a fan of the 'I can't date/marry because of (*stupid*) reasons' trope, which this book unfortunately has. Maybe it's just been a while, but I don't really remember the other two quirky female friends from the first book? However I do look forward to them, especially the crazy animal lover one with her 'tuna-ish' sandwiches LOL!
Profile Image for Astrid - The Bookish Sweet Tooth.
792 reviews857 followers
September 3, 2018


This series? THE BEST. No, really. Tessa Dare writes the swooniest heroes, the loveliest heroines and the sweetest stories. I adored The Duchess Deal. In The Governess Game she surpasses any expectation I had. I didn't want this story to end.

There is something about a troubled hero who thinks he doesn't deserve love, who shows rakish behavior and is totally unapologetic about it because he doesn't mislead the women. It's the bad boy thing. The man WE (or the heroine respectively) want to bring down to his knees and make him give up his bad boy ways. Chase Reynaud is the epitome of this hero. He has charm in abundance, the mischievous, handsome man with the twinkle in his eyes but if you look closer you see the darkness.
“You are the worst example of false advertising. I was led to believe I was hiring a prim scold. Then I learn you’re remarkable and bold and interesting.” 

Along comes Alexandra Mountbatten, a hard-working girl who is such a contradiction - she's intelligent, sensible, level-headed, yet she tends to daydream about a man she collided with in a bookstore. In her mind she creates all kinds of romantic scenarios but never meets him again. Until one day, she is doing her job, setting the time in the homes of the wealthy, when she literally runs into him. Imagine her disappointment when he doesn't recognize her. Even worse, he's a rake extraordinaire. The real fun starts, however, when he hires her as the new governess for his hellions of wards.

While he falls in love with his wonderful, spirited, sweet and absolutely reasonable governess he sometimes needs a kick in the butt, however, Alexandra is happy to provide that. He hides his true feelings behind humor but she looks right through him. I was in awe of this heroine - her cleverness, her backbone, her sweetness she was the full package and the matching puzzle piece to Chase.
“We should go after the girls.”
“Yes, we should.” Neither of them moved. Alex bit her lip.
“We’re going to kiss instead, aren’t we.”
He caught her in his arms. “You’re goddamned right, we are.”

I loved every single aspect of the story. The characters, the storyline, the humor, the romance, EVERYTHING was perfect in this book. PERFECT. One of my favorite parts was Chase's creative eulogies for the wooden doll belonging to Daisy, one of his hellions.
“Almighty Father,” he began in a dispirited tone,  “we commit to your keeping the soul of Millicent. Ashes to ashes. Sawdust to sawdust. She was a doll of few words and yet fewer autonomous movements, yet she will be remembered for the ever-present—some might say permanently painted—smile on her face. By the grace of our Redeemer, we know she will be resurrected, perhaps as soon as luncheon.” He added under his breath,  “Unfortunately.”

For most of the book I had a goofy smile on my face. I couldn't get enough of the character's banter, their connection, the explosive chemistry. I am so gone for this author's writing style, it's not even funny.

I have read Tessa Dare's book before but I think this is her best series as yet. With her a warm, romantic, swoon-worthy stories she weaves magic around you that will have you think about the characters and their love long after you finish the book. I can't recommend The Governess Game enough. If you need a story that will cheer you up, don't hesitate. Grab this!
“Oh, and by the way.” She stopped at the door. “While you were ill, you pissed yourself. Twice. Just so you know.”

Profile Image for Aoife - Bookish_Babbling.
275 reviews296 followers
August 31, 2020
This was such a funny, sweet & obvs steamy read. I enjoyed how the MCs sparked off one another. I especially liked Alex, she was such an interesting heroine with a firm grasp on the situations she finds herself in. She kept surprising me in the best way & with her unique backstory, interesting career path + her snippy arguments with Chase were ridiculously adorkable, loved how she stood her ground despite the gulf in the social statuses and was no doormat.

Rosamund, Daisy & Barrow were such MVPs and of course the fun gals from Bloom Square were just as awesome as when we first met them. Even though Ashbury is not my favourite his cameos in this still made me giggle 🙃
And one cannot overlook Millicent, she has such an amazing role she ever so slightly pips Breeches' contributions to book1 😂

There are so many adorably sweet and funny scenes in this book. I seem to be slightly in the minority amongst my GR friends in preferring Governess vs Duchesse Deal but therein lies one of the many beauties of books - different things appeal to different readers 😎

I have reached the end of the Tessa Dare books available through my library but I have a sneaky suspicion that once I read the excerpt of Wallflower Wager available at the end of this book I am going to have to get my greedy grubby little hands on Penny's story as she is such a bleeding heart and ANIMALS!

Why am I such a sucker for a period setting? 😅
Profile Image for Choko.
1,167 reviews2,569 followers
August 29, 2018
Completely charming and very enjoyable! The characters were likable and the story was fast and easy to read. Perfect for a restful weekend 😊. The kids and the very troubled hepples doll steal the show from beginning to end 🤗!
Profile Image for Jen.
1,654 reviews978 followers
January 18, 2020
This second instalment was even better than the first, and is worth all of the five stars I’d given! The two little girls in this story added such a refreshing and humorous aspect to it that without them it wouldn’t have been as good! I loved how the younger girl killed her doll every night so that they would all have to join hands and surround the bed to have a funeral for the poor doll!😂😂😂

The entire book was so highly amusing that I just couldn’t put it down! I am in love with Tessa Dare’s work and am eager to get to reading her backlist!
I have already started the third book in the series, and once again I am devouring it!
Profile Image for gloria ୨୧.
656 reviews862 followers
September 2, 2022
➥ 3.5 Stars *:・゚✧

"You said..."

"I know what I said." Swaggering strides brought him close. "I said the thought of seducing you would never cross my mind." He swept aside her plaited hair and bent to whisper darkly in her ear. "I lied."

━━━━━━━━━━━ ♡ ━━━━━━━━━━━

Tessa Dare...you wonderful, wonderful woman, why taint your otherwise perfect books with misogynistic love interests every single time? Dare writes some incredibly unique romantic moments, some very intricate and yes, unique, romantic plotlines, and some banger sexual tension and SEX, yeah. Can we talk about that desk scene because... Unfortunately, I can't bring myself to enjoy her love interests, one of the most important aspects of a romance, due to their misogyny.

➥ Alexandra Mountbatten (h)...gosh I love the full name 'Alexandra'. It's so beautiful. Everyone calls her Alex though. Regardless, I was quite content with her character. I think I'm still partial to Emma Gladstone from The Duchess Deal because of her wit. Though, I found the heroine to be very likable, good natured, fun and also decently witty. We are often reminded of her itsy bitsy stature, mostly while in the male perspective too, which becomes quickly unendearing. Still, she had her moments where I nodded in approval.

“Does our guardian know you’re proposing this?”
“Not at all.”
“He’s not going to like it.”
Alex lifted one shoulder in a shrug. “Pirates don’t ask permission.”

➥ Chase Reynaud (H) is the greatest letdown of this book. Because of Dare's great skill in writing dreamy dialogue and romantic tension, there are moments where you enjoy what comes out of his mouth, or what he uses it for, but we are so often reminded of his misogynistic outlook that he becomes unlikable instantly. Another problem I had with him was his intended "rake" character. If you aren't aware, that's the classy term for a fuckboy. Although I think Dare is great at many things, I don't think writing a rakish character is one of them. He's always complaining about women falling in love with him but also never demonstrating his supposed charm. He treats his past partners with little respect and victimises himself over everything. For example, if we compare him to what I think is an excellent rake character, like Raphael from Dancing With Danger, his character is even paler in comparison. Raphael is a charming, sensual, kind man, who has treated all his women with respect and admiration, simply not having found the one. That's what Chase should have been like. He also pities himself a lot over not being a "good person" yet never does anything in attempt to better himself, yawn. I also hated how he refused to try to be a good father to the girls. I understand he hired a governess (motherly figure that teaches the girls) to be fair, but he could at least try. I'm just tired of women romanticising men's incompetence.

“Because if a woman looked too close and thought too long, she would see the truth: He was a despicable, shameless cad.”

Daisy Fairfax (youngest daughter), the sweet girl that's true passion is finding ever possible way to "kill" her doll every morning and therefore having a funeral too. The way she trusts and adheres to what her older sister says just makes me so emo.

Rosamund Fairfax (eldest daughter) the misunderstood eldest sister <3 I'll love her forever. I admire Dare's ability to write such a unique child character.

I'll just mention that Dare's books are not particularly for those who need a slowburn. Her books are gripping, filled with sexual tension and romantic angst from the very beginning. The first kiss was around 20%, but I didn't mind at all - it was a very enjoyable and unique first kiss <3

As I mentioned, it's really a shame that Dare makes her love interest spew such hateful and vile things because they really have some great moments. They can be hot and swoony, it's too bad it's ruined by blatant misogyny.

“Are you hurting terribly?”
“Tomorrow I will be. At the moment, I’m fine.”
“You’re certain? Perhaps I should—”
“Alexandra.” He cupped her chin and forced her to meet his eyes. “Enough.”

Like?? That was hot. It also had moments of such tenderness and perfection that it really saddens me to have to see Dare ruin this man's character. I mean look at this:

He broke the kiss and rose up on one elbow, needing to see her. She stared up at him with dark, glassy eyes. Her lips were plump and reddened from his kisses.
“By God, you’re lovely.”
Her skin warmed with a bashful glow. If she’d been lovely a moment ago, she was radiant now.

i'll finish this review eventually. enjoy that for now lmao.
Profile Image for Madison Warner Fairbanks.
2,120 reviews275 followers
April 18, 2020
The Governess Game by Tessa Dare

Laugh out loud historical romance. The heroine was a professional clock setter forced to take a governess job at the loss of her chronometer. She has no idea how to teach or motivate her charges until she goes with an unusual slant that connects with the children. And of course, the attraction she feels for their ward is powerful and cannot be ignored.

I loved the unusual meet-cute, the heroine profession and class as well as how those each are addressed. And humor is always my preference in this crazy world.
Historical is not my typical romance genre but I will absolutely look for more of this author in hopes that the stereotypical are overridden.
Loved this.

Girl Meets Duke series book 2.

I listened to the audio version from Libra.fm narrated by Mary Jane Wells who contributed a most pleasing accent and voice to the content.
Profile Image for Tatiana.
1,379 reviews11.7k followers
January 31, 2021
An astronomy-loving governess and a rake who is technically a “virgin” (How does that work exactly? You can get that reputation without, you know, actually doing it? 🤨) romance each other. Like the first one, low on drama, reasonably well stuffed with smut, short and snappy. Will totally read another one of these. What else do I have going on anyway?
Profile Image for Heather K (dentist in my spare time).
3,830 reviews5,504 followers
February 27, 2019

Sweet, light, expertly narrated audiobook (kudos to Mary Jane Wells), but it's Tessa Dare (!!) and I wanted more.

I am a Tessa Dare superfan, but this wasn't her most compelling work. I really enjoyed the female MC and the children, and even Chase was fun, but the contrived situations to break apart the couple were tiring. There wasn't much going on with the story, and while that's good and fine, I hate the "I'm breaking up with you because I know what's best for you"-trope. It's the WORST.

I also wanted Chase to be more, well, rakish. If you are going to cast him as a rake, make him a freakin' rake! He was a poorly disguised beta male that Tessa Dare tried to wrap up in a rogue's clothing. I don't mind a sweet male MC, but Chase made a whole den of sin, for crying out loud! He should have actually had some vices, damn it.

Alexandra was fun and educated and independent, but I feel like she was short-changed, for some reason. I could have seen even more spunk from her.

An easy, amusing listen, but not as good as the first in the series.

Profile Image for Bookphenomena (Micky) .
2,348 reviews366 followers
August 28, 2018
3.5 stars

This is a delightfully fun story, extremely light-hearted but perhaps missing a bit of seriousness and depth for me. I adored The Duchess Deal and THE GOVERNESS GAME connects well with some of the characters from that story, providing connection but also allowing it to be read as a standalone.

Alexandra (Alex) is a very unassuming heroine, I liked her but I didn’t love her. She finds herself governess for Chase’s (heir apparent to a Dukedom) two female wards. Chase reminded me a little of Percy from A Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue, he was a bit of a self-proclaimed fool, a player and without a serious bone in his body. I struggled to connect with Chase and whilst I saw Alex’s connection to him, I was never sure he deserved it. I found myself a bit removed from their relationship and whilst the heat was wonderfully written, the emotions between them left me a bit disconnected.

The storyline was engaging and easy to read, I found myself drawn in and enjoying the lightness. The girls Alex was teaching and their doll in particular made me laugh and snort; the governess element was a real strength in this book.

Overall, this is a series I am fully invested in, I like the concept, I like the potential characters for the next book and I love Tessa Dare’s writing. So, whilst this wasn’t a total hit for me, it was a nice addition and I’m here waiting for book three.

I voluntarily read an early copy of this book.

Reviewed for Jo&IsaLoveBooks Blog.
Profile Image for Saint Monique.
385 reviews166 followers
June 4, 2020
3,5 'Cave of Carnality' stars

“You,” she sighed, “are terrible.”
“You”—he pressed his lips to her forehead—“are delicious.” He kissed her cheek. “Beautiful.” Then the corner of her lips. “Irresistible.”

I'm not sure what exactly went wrong here. I mean, the story had all the usual brilliance of Tessa's books. Amazing characters, adorable humor, swoony scenes... Alexandra was a fantastic heroine, I liked Daisy and Rosamund's mischievous antics, I loved sexy flirting between Alex and Chase. But something was missing. I don't know what, I just know that when I was reading The Duchess Deal, I heard colors and smelled sounds and reading this book, I felt nothing alike.

I was really enjoying the first half of the book and then sometime in the middle my mind started to wander around and I spent the rest of the book with this image in my head.

No, I have absolutely no idea why but hey, it's Loki, so you won't hear me complain.
Profile Image for Ginger.
721 reviews316 followers
August 13, 2019
The Governess Game only gets 3 stars from me. I wish I could have liked Chase Reynaud more as a character.

The two little girls that Chase was put in charge of were wonderful! Rosamund and Daisy made this book for me. I loved those girls!! The funerals for the doll, Millicent really made me laugh.

I really liked Alex Mountbatten as well. I loved her grit, intelligence, practical nature and her love of astronomy!

The problem with The Governess Game has to do with Chase. I wish I could have liked him more. His constant bragging about being a sexual stud got on my nerves. And his self pity was a bit much. I'm also not overly found of charming men in romance books. *shrugs*

I loved the first book in this series, The Duchess Deal so much more!
But yes, I will continue with the Girl Meets Duke series and I'm looking forward to the remaining books.
Tessa Dare is such a great historical romance writer and even her "okay" books are still good.
Profile Image for The Girl Murdered by Her TBR.
388 reviews891 followers
August 23, 2021
5-Millicent-is-the-main-bitch stars!!!

Can I just dedicate this short and lazy review to Millicent Fairfax, cheers to being indestructible!

It's official. I am a Tessa Dare fan. I just loved how she writes her story. It's funny, romantic, and plain lovely. I adored this book just like I have adored the first one. Tessa Dare's stories really has that magic in them. You will definitely fall in love with the plot, characters, and the writing. What I really enjoy with her books is the banters, the hilariously awkward scenes which will definitely make readers laugh their ass out.

I simply loved this book. All parts and bits of it.
Profile Image for Melanie A..
1,031 reviews376 followers
October 24, 2018
"No one is a lost cause."
I don't know what to say here . . . maybe this:

I really wish I could round up because there were a few moments that gave me the warm fuzzies.

But I just can't do it.

Yes, there were a few warm fuzzies going on, but the characters and the plot were just too superficial for me. Except for Millicent and her many maladies, everything felt like it was being presented in black and white instead of Tessa Dare's usual technicolor.

But I guess it's true what they say, you can't love them all.
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