Set around 1839, a trio of ladies boldly enter in a business venture…an academy for Governesses.
In the first of the series, Rules of Surrender, Dodd spins a tale of a governess sent to manage a group of unruly children…only to find their father is the real student in need of tutelage.
A loose retelling of The King and I, the hero has been living with the bedouin, and the heroine is “Miss Priss.”
There is some questionable material in this tale…the hero is pretty misgyonistic and the consummation scene smacks of rape. Dodd sparkles in her dialogue, but this first in a series doesn’t set the tone for what follows. Some will like the way Dodd toys with a familiar storyline, but others will find scenes offensive.
The Rules of Engagement was my personal favorite in the series. Our hero has received a royal ultimatum–get responsible or lose favour (and financial favours) with the crown.
He is inspired to hire a governess and adopt a foundling…and in this loose retelling of Annie our governess heroine Pamela (who is a Great Beauty) disguises herself as an old, homely creature. This provides the greatest tease between the character, as our naughty by nature hero finds himself strangely attracted to the less than attractive governess.
Its a funny book with lots of spicy and wonderful romance. Pamela is likable, and the hero is all those things we look for in a rakehell.
Rules of Attraction wraps up the series with a story of a wife who must return to the husband she abandoned who has suddenly risen in social status and in need of a caretaker for three delightfully dotty Aunts.
The Aunts are the saving grace of this story, for I found the hero to be totally repelling and completely abusive. Some will find the darkness of the hero intriguing and redeemable. Others will probably have a pretty sour taste in their mouth (as I did).
There were some funny moments and intrigue, and Dodd once again demonstrates her mastery of dialogue. However, this isn’t my favorite series of hers. But others who really like delving into the darker parts of the human psyche might give it a try. I think this is definitely one of those series that you either love or hate…so I leave it up to you.
Explicit content and adult subject matter make this one for teens and “clean” hist ro readers to skip.