Review: The Governess Game

So some of you may know my desperate love for historical fiction, which is only eclipsed by my love for diverse, mildly historically accurate fiction.

Tessa Dare has always provided lovely historical fiction, but I’ve never read one with a part Indigenous, part Spaniard, part American revolutionary character before. Its fun and intriguing.

Content warnings: Discussion of dead mother, orphans, bad caretakers for some part. No physical abuse, but some definitely unkind words.

On one side, we have the lovely Alexandra (who goes by Alex), raised by a ship captain who fell in love with a Mestizo woman in the Philippines. On the other, Chase (who’s real name is Charles) has had a dukedom drop in his lap but wants nothing to do with it or the two random orphans that have come along with it. Or so he says.

We start off with a relatively standard premise. Woman needs job, man needs woman to do job, hi jinx ensue to make this all come together.

Man doesn’t believe he’s worth loving and hides himself in a variety of ways. (I know its spoiler free, so its hard to elaborate). Woman believes he is worth loving.

Two small children are in the picture as the job is being a governess. They are holy terrors and I love them with all of my soul. Their hijinx are incredible and they totally steal the show.

Their relationship with Alexandra is also utterly believable and adorable. She finds ways to makes things work and its actually one of the more heartwarming chosen family fictions I’ve read before. I want there to be a book about those two when they get older, but I want some more of their adventures first.

I think the primary thing I love about this book is its willingness to stare straight at tropes, indulge in them but also occasionally flip them on its head. The amount of times Alexandra makes castles in the sky about how she and Chase could be together and soundly scolds herself for it will resonate with many a reader. Some of the lines are also utterly hysterical.

There’s occasional moments where it feels not quite in period, but they’re not jarring. Occasionally, I wondered “Isn’t someone going to see them fooling around out there?” and “Wow, that’s brave. I would be worried about getting caught.”

But it was thoroughly enjoyable and I devoured it in a full straight read with no breaks. So highly recommended, 4 stars out of 5 and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

Til next time,


*I received this book as an ARC in exchange for an honest review. This did not affect my opinion or my review.

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