Type: Historical Romance
Publisher: Pocket Books
My Copy: Sent
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… I so enjoyed this book, the premise is intriguing with a take on Trading Places, as friends that deceive for their own gain do not realizing the consequences that will come or those that they will hurt.
The author does a wonderful job infusing humor and heartache in this story and I am excited for more of these three friends.
Phoebe Baker is about to change her life, she has spent the last five years at school but now that her father has died, she must leave. Without her father to champion her, the head of the school knows she does not belong and as she begins a new life as a governess she blames one man for the monetary losses her father encountered that led to her fall from society, the Earl of Ashby.
Edward Granville, the Earl of Ashby is called Lucky Ned; because if you look at his life he has luck on his side. As a distant relative of the former Earl he inherits the Earldom and leaves the countryside, his mother and poverty for a new life at the age of twelve. He seems to have it all but boredom sets in early and he purchases a commission in the army and meets two men (John Turner and Dr. Rhys Gray) that become lifelong friends. One fateful night the three set forth events that will change their lives forever as Ned and John (his secretary) change places for two weeks in a wager.
This is an engaging story that shows us that things can get very tangled when we deceive, as these friends innocently make a wager to prove a point.
I thought when I read the blurb that Ned was not going to be my favorite person in the beginning, he sounded spoiled and a little too selfish be likable, but there is something about him, even in the beginning that I liked, it might have been the way he treated his two friends or just his sense of humor that caught my interest. What did surprise me was how I felt about John; I did not expect to dislike him and got angry with him several times before circumstances and background knowledge changed my mind. The two are good friends, at least on the surface but the selfishness between both Ned and John fuels underlying anger. I like the dynamics of their friendship and although the wager causes problems for others, it does bring their issues to the forefront and I like how things end with them.
Phoebe is very likable although we really do not get to see the true person until far into the book. When we met her in the beginning she was seventeen and angry, the Phoebe of today seems quiet and very governess-like, that is until Ned tries to get to know her and we find a funny and witty young woman. The two of them together are delightful, they bring out the best in each other and we also find out how vulnerable and lonely they both are. The romance with Phoebe and Ned is slow and quiet; between being a proper governess and Johns meddling they are few times that they are alone.
The story takes place almost entirely at the Widcoate’s home; therefore secondary characters are pivotal to the story. I am intrigued by Leticia, the childhood friend of Ned’s who is now a widowed countess that sets her sights on John, at least until she finds out who he really is, his story is next so I am very excited to see what happens as things are left unsettled. I also like Rhys, although he is not in many scenes but since this is the first of a series about these three friends, I am sure we will see more of the good doctor in the future. The pace of the story works well and it is refreshing to read this story mostly from Ned’s POV, we are privy to both his reasons and the changes he goes through. This is very enjoyable and I recommend it for those that like an engaging and interesting historical romance.
I gave The Game and the Governess by Kate Noble 4.25 stars!