The Game and The Governess (Winner Takes All #1)
Author: Kate Noble
Release Date: 29 July 2014
Publisher: Pocket Books
Three friends. One Wager. Winner takes all.
The Earl—‘Lucky Ned’ Ashby. Pompous, preening, certain that he is beloved by everyone.
The Miller—John Turner. Proud, forced to work as the Earl’s secretary, their relationship growing ever more strained.
The Doctor—Rhys Gray. Practical, peace-loving, but caught in the middle of two warring friends.
Their wager is simple: By trading places with John Turner and convincing someone to fall in love with him, Ned plans to prove it’s him the world adores, not his money. Turner plans to prove him wrong.
But no one planned on Phoebe Baker, the unassuming governess who would fall into their trap, and turn everything on its head…
Three best friends make a life-changing bet in the first book in a witty, sexy new Regency trilogy from acclaimed author Kate Noble, writer of the wildly popular Emmy award–winning web series The Lizzie Bennet Diaries.
I found that whilst I enjoyed many aspects of this story, from the witty and lively writing to the growth of Ned's character, there were a few things that kept me from loving it as much as I wanted to.
I really enjoyed Phoebe's character. She's suffered through much in her life and quietly works as a governess in order to save enough to leave and build a new life in America. She has a quiet strength and dignity to her, whilst always trying to enjoy the small things in life.
Ned had a change of fortunes when he was young and unexpectedly became the heir to an earldom. Since then Ned's life has taken on a rather charmed quality but it has also made him rather conceited and self-absorbed. His obliviousness has eroded his friendship with his friend-turned-secretary, which in turn leads to the wager between them. As Ned leads the life of his secretary he starts to realise that his good fortune is not merely due to himself and as he spends more time with Phoebe he realises all he has taken for granted. I liked seeing Ned's development and seeing him turn into more of a man. Unfortunately he's not really the kind of hero I like to read about. I didn't particularly like him at first and found him immature, and then he was still fairly blah for me at the end.
Considering that the romance is at the heart of the story, I didn't feel the chemistry between Phoebe and Ned. I thought she was a very good influence on him and they were nice together, but they hardly set my heart alight.
Overall this is a charming and sweet story that has an enjoyable setup. I liked the characters and thought Phoebe was a wonderful heroine. I just prefer my heroes with a little more oomph.
*I received a review copy for my honest opinion. Thank you!