by Christina Dodd
Plot Summary:When Miss Samantha Prendregast arrives at Devil's Fell to take charge of six rebellious girls, the vibrant, outspoken governess is not quite prepared to deal with the tall, dark and dashing master of the grand estate. The children she can manage with intelligence, guile . . . and a little bribery. Their widowed father, Colonel William Gregory, is not so easily charmed -- and far too easy to fall in love with, which she dares not do.
William always cherished the orderliness of his life, until this captivating troublemaker began flouting his authority and distracting him with her witty defiance and breathtaking beauty. Despite the fact that they clash at every meeting, William finds himself inexplicably drawn to Samantha's fire. And now he's even contemplating marriage, which would be sweet madness indeed.
But before he can successfully woo her, William must discover what it is that Samantha is hiding from him. But the secret the lady is preciously guarding is far too shocking and dangerous to ever reveal .
Review:I picked this book up because it was inspired by The Sound of Music and I found it a really fun read. This is part of a series of romance novels with Governesses, and having not read the others, I was charmed by the romance which, if I had read the previous books, I might have found this formulaic, but I would think Samantha's sassiness and sharp tongue is an unique aspect to this book. Samantha's verbal sparring with Colonel Gregory is very entertaining as is Samantha's methods to tame the Gregory children. She is not as sweet as Maria from The Sound of Music, for sure! There is a subplot involving spies and Colonel Gregory's real heartbreak concerning the death of his first wife, which was nice and all, but of course I just wanted to read more about the romance and the tension-filled looks! The subplot did give Samantha a chance to prove herself to the Colonel and created her character arc, and maybe is a nod to the Nazi aspect of SOM? It was good but more interesting to read the scenes between Samantha and the Colonel.
The steamy romance scenes definitely build on the charged tension between the leads, and though I'm not a big reader of those sorts of things, I can see why the author included them, though it seemed over the top. There was a part near the end that really towed the line between consensual and non-consensual and that made me cringe a little, but the author pulled the scene back towards consensual eventually. Getting back to the Sound of Music aspect - I really loved the tiny nods to the musical that inspired the story - I'm thinking the title is a play on "My Favorite Things", the children sing, and there is even one part where a character wonders if she was wicked in her childhood. That really made me smile. Overall I really enjoyed the development of Colonel Gregory and Samantha's interest in each other and the way Samantha won over the children. And the children's hand in bringing the Colonel and Samantha together in the end!