Review by Veronica

Series Name: Ladies Most Scandalous, # 4  

“The younger son of a duke,” Jane said wryly. “Which is nothing to sniff at. But yes, back then Mama would not have entertained an offer from you—no matter how much I would have swooned over it.” 

She smiled and her eyes danced with mirth. “I daresay she’d be of a different mind now. It’s funny how things change in the space of a few years. I would have given my last farthing if you’d but looked at me with one of your charming smiles back then. And now…” 

As her voice trailed off, he looked up to see her watching him, her expression arrested. The air between them fairly crackled with awareness as their eyes met.

A Governess’s Guide to Passion and Peril is another addictive installment in the Ladies Most Scandalous series.  

Jane Halliwell once dreamed of a home of her own—but those dreams (and her dowry) died with her father. Now, she works as a governess, preparing her charge for a future no longer within her reach. When her employer is murdered during a house party, however, Jane is forced back into the world of the ton. But stepping in as hostess will require working with the same lord who once broke her girlish heart.

Lord Adrian Fielding was too consumed with his job at the Foreign Office to pay young Jane much heed, but he always considered her a friend. Which is why he’s confounded by her icy demeanor now. More troubling still is his desire to melt the tensions between them. But his mentor’s murder means he must first find the culprit—and ensure Jane’s safety as she manages a house full of foreign dignitaries.

Only Jane insists on joining the investigation, and Adrian, despite all his diplomatic skills, finds himself seduced by her sharp wit and sparkling eyes. But with a vicious killer circling ever closer, will it soon be too late for their chance at forever? 

This historical romance series continues to “wow” me. Each installment is unique, romantic, and has a pretty solid mystery component. We met Jane and Adrian in the previous book. Their encounter was brief, but it was obvious that there were sparks between them and that they had this history that I was dying to uncover. Each book in this series can be read as a stand-alone. Characters from previous books do appear in this book, but Manda does a great job of bringing readers up to speed on the character’s backstories. Now, this is a fabulous series, and I highly recommend reading it in its entirety. 

I loved everything about this book. The pacing was fast enough to keep me entertained; there were some unexpected twists, and I loved the slow-burn romance brewing between Jane and Adrian. Manda can write an excellent mystery. At the beginning of this book, Jane stumbles upon the body of Lord Gildford (her employer and family friend). It’s clear that he has been murdered because of the knife sticking out of his back. But don’t be fooled into thinking this is just a simple murder case because evidence left by the body indicates that this murder is part of a much larger and sinister plot. I find myself enjoying this mystery. It was exciting, and the ending was unexpected (in a good way). I was surprised who the murderer actually was. 

Jane and Adrian were interesting characters. They met when they were younger in Italy while Jane’s father was working for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Adrian was just starting out as a junior “intern” for the Ministry and became close to Jane’s family during his time there. Jane had a huge crush on Adrian, who wasn’t romantically interested in this young teenage girl. Things take a turn for the worse when Jane’s father kills himself, and Adrian leaves abruptly. Jane never forgave Adrian for leaving her family during that turbulent time. Fast forward to the beginning of this book, and Jane is trying to avoid Adrian, but that is proving to be rather difficult because he wants to talk to her. I loved these characters together and individually. Both of them have a hard, tougher time in life. Adrian has worked hard to build his own life on his own merits. Something that is quite challenging for someone who comes from a powerful family. Jane has lost everything and finds herself working as a governess for horrid families. All she wants to do is publish her mystery book and live her own life. Both of these characters are smart, kind, and just so delightful to be around. 

The romance that unfolds in this book is a slow burn at its best. There is friction between Jane and Adrian at the beginning of this book. The friction part mostly comes from Jane, who is still rather angry with Adrian. These two find themselves working together to uncover the mystery of who murdered Lord Gilford and how far this sinister plot goes. Their unlikely partnership has some bumps because both parties are frustrated with each other. Jane knows that she is capable of helping solve this case, but is frustrated with Adrian, who wants to keep her away from danger. I loved everything about these two. Their banter was sharp and fun. I really enjoyed those moments when Adrian felt befuddled by Jane. It just was a nice romance. It is probably the least spicy book in this series. They don’t bang until the end. 

A Governess’s Guide to Passion and Peril is a fun and swoony historical mystery read.

Thank you, Forever Publishing, for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.