St. Martin’s Griffin. Mar. 2024. 336p. ISBN 9781250323965. pap. $18. HISTORICAL ROMANCE
A widowed captain and a sharp-tongued fake governess fall for each other in Regency England in Croucher’s latest (after Infamous). Emily Laurence takes a position as a governess at Fairmont House with one thing clear in her mind: she’s not there to make friends. She’s masquerading as her sister Amy, in the hopes of stealing all she can carry to pay for her sister’s medical care. However, she soon finds out that the staff are more like family than servants, the teenaged children she is meant to teach are more wayward and sympathetic than she might have imagined, and the captain infuriates her and compels her in equal measure. All of these things start to weaken Emily’s resolve and threaten to bring down her prickly exterior for good. This is a thoughtful, funny novel with a slow burn toward romance between the proud, wounded Emily and the gruff yet sad Captain Edwards. Croucher takes care in their portrayal of queer people, chronic illness, and cross-class romance; humor and laughter is present throughout.
VERDICT Recommended for readers who enjoy found family, working-class historical romances, and stern sea captains with hearts of gold.
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