Title: Rules of Surrender
Author: Christina Dodd
Series: Governess Brides (book #1)
Next in series: Rules of Engagement
My rating: 4 Stars
Synopsis: Impoverished and cast out from her family, Lady Charlotte Dalrumple is forced to work as a governess. Ostensibly hired to teach Lady Ruskin’s Eastern born grandchildren in the ways of English society, Charlotte soon realizes that her real assignment is to turn their barbarian father into a true English gentleman. The only problem is that the outspoken and sensual Wynter Ruskin has every intention of turning the tables and seducing the prim and proper Charlotte.
Review: Light and entertaining with some laugh out loud moments but the plot is insufficiently developed and the ending feels rushed. The embezzling subplot, for example, has potential but fizzles out, and its conclusion is predictable and contributes little to the story.
Dodd is a skilled writer with a talent for characterization. Winter and Charlotte have a vibrant chemistry, and even though there are one or two questionable scenes that may put readers off, for me, they were consistent with the Eastern influence on Wynter’s character. Moreover, Charlotte’s emotional conflict with regard to Wynter and her attraction to him seem to negate the idea that he truly forces himself on her. While, Wynter is obnoxious, chauvinistic and overbearing, Charlotte succeeds in putting him in his place and ultimately teaches him the true value of women and love.
The secondary characters are another strong point. From the children, who are sweet and engaging, to Charlotte’s ridiculous bully of an uncle and the bitchy Lady Howard, each plays a part in building the foundations of the story and contribute to the overall atmosphere. On a side note, the story takes place in Victorian times and there are hints at the superior colonial attitudes of the British Empire, which readers may find offensive but should be taken in context. One cannot ignore history and culture even when writing historical romances.
In sum, a fun and enjoyable read and I will be continuing with the series.