When Miss Martha Swan enters the fine home of Lord and Lady Stanton to become a governess, she is full of lofty ideals. Yet something is amiss in the hallowed halls of Stanton: whispers, laughter, and something darker and more wicked echoes from behind closed doors, and Martha is determined to find out what. She soon discovers that all is not as it seems in this stately home. The lord and lady have secrets � lustful, carnal, shameful secrets that could spell ruination for all. Martha wants to be appalled, but she finds herself intrigued, and when her long-time friend Mr Jonathan Reeves comes to visit, Martha conceives a daring plan to assuage her curiosity. Thing are not so simple however, as neither Martha nor Jonathan have the money to marry. Nothing can come from this relationship nothing but the experience of ecstasy. In such a situation, what is a curious governess to do?
Anytime one involves oneself with a long-term series, there are bound to be low points, the installments that just don’t quite live up to the standards of the rest of the series. It pains me to say The Observations of a Curious Governess would be that read in the on-going Regency Diaries series.
Due to circumstances well beyond her control, Martha Swan knows she will never be allowed to marry the man she truly loves. In Martha’s time and place a love match is far less important than a financially good match and so, with a heavy heart she accepts her fate and applies for a position in the home of Lord and Lady Stanton. Intent on being the best governess she possibly can be, Martha enters the Stanton household with every intention of carrying herself well and performing to the best of her abilities. It doesn’t take long for Martha to figure out that not all is as it appears to be within the Stanton household and though Martha is shocked by the things she encounters, she enjoys her job and doesn’t want to jeopardize her position. Secrets such as the ones being kept in the Stanton household aren’t easy to keep and though Martha would never tell what she knows, she does find herself becoming increasingly more interested in the sexual escapes that occur on a regular basis.
When Martha encounters her love, Jonathan Reeves she taken aback and completely unsure of what to do. Away from home and dealing with the foreign feelings of sexual curiosity, Martha hatches a plan to seduce Jonathan and explore her new-found feelings. In a household such as the Stanton’s, a liaison between the two should be completely acceptable but there are others in the community who aren’t quite as accepting and just when Martha and Jonathan think they have a plan for their future, everything comes crashing down around them.
The Bottom Line: The Observations of a Curious Governess thoroughly disappointed me and certainly doesn’t live up to the standards of the previous series installments. Both Martha and Jonathan are fairly flat characters, the plot is by far the weakest to date and, the sex is not near the level of steamy that I have come to expect from Portman. Given how much I have enjoyed the previous installments of the Regency Diaries series, I am going to a chalk this one up to bad day and hope the next installment is as good as I expect Portman’s books to be.