It is impossible for me to hear “governess” and “Duke” without immediately thinking of Jane Eyre, and there are plot elements in the second half that have echoes, particularly when Jenny leaves in haste in the middle of the night (although for quite different reasons), but the first half of the book, which was my favorite, reminded me of “The Sound of Music,” which is an entirely different governess-falls-in-love-with-employer story.
One of the things I thought was quite brilliant here was that the class divide is so firmly ingrained in Andrew’s mind that when he is happy around Jenny (a river bank picnic with the children), he daydreams that he and the baroness he is courting will have picnics with the children in the future: he recognizes he is happy, but mistakenly thinks it is the setting, not the person he is with. (As I said, “The Sound of Music.” Love that about this book!)
Governess is listed as Book 4 of Andersen’s “Dangerous Lords” series, and I’m not quite sure why—although there is danger and suspense around them—but that’s good, because I don’t read books that romanticize dangerous men if I can help it. If you enjoy historical romance (1820s England), I recommend it.