The Game and the Governess


The Game and the GovernessWinner Takes All Book 1
by Kate Noble
Narrated by Beverly Crick
Simon and Schuster  |Pocket Books | July 22, 2014
Paperback and E-book: 432 pages
Audio from Tantor Audio 10:33

Provided by Publishers for review purposes.  No remuneration was exchanged and all opinion presented herein is my own except as noted.


Trading Places meets Pride and Prejudice in this sexy, saucy romance—first in a new series!

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…

Three best friends make a life-changing bet in the first book in a witty, sexy new Regency trilogy from acclaimed author Kate Noble.
As the Earl of Ashby, Lord Edward Granville has never been in short supply of luck, earning him the nickname “Lucky Ned.” Why should he not take risks most sensible men would run from, since the tide always turns in his favor? Making a wager that he can have any woman he desires even without his title, Ned switches places with John Turner, his friend and secretary. But once he does, Ned’s luck suddenly abandons him, for the ladies now have eyes only for Turner. When Ned meets governess Phoebe Baker, he becomes intent on gaining her affections.

Phoebe wants nothing more than to keep her head down, teach her students, and go unnoticed—especially by the Earl of Ashby. But his rakish secretary has the infuriating habit of constantly crossing her path. Yet Phoebe cannot deny that her pulse quickens in Ned’s presence. If this prim-and-proper governess lets her heart rule, will fate intervene where Ned’s luck has forsaken him?


With skilled narration and writing, this story has a  lot to offer.  It has a rhythm of place and theme.  It has a villain who really isn’t a villain just being destroyed by circumstance, and that leads to understanding the plight of the governess.  But, he is helpless to change his course.

I loved the way Noble uses setting and diametrically opposed situations to develop her themes. It is very effective in affecting how we see the characters and in allowing the characters to change believably.  For, in returning to home, we can regain our roots and humility.

I especially loved how Noble describes Ned’s coming into his mother’s home and how this creates an upswelling of memory and emotion in his life.  That was really brilliant and moving.

Between returning to his childhood home and switching places with his secretary, Ned gets both a glimpse of how lucky he really has been, how much he has forgotten and how he allowed his life to be swept away on the current of his entitlement.

The character and relationship development is also outstanding as each of the three main characters comes up against the circumstances of the plot. The relationship develops slowly and quite believably. And it brings both characters back to themselves and out of what has caused them to shelve their hearts in the first place.

With some interesting twists and turns,  the story follows a  genre-typical path, but it’s a lovely road upon which we get to travel. And, it can be amusing, though it is mostly heartfelt. Towards the end, the story got quite heated.

The real villain of the piece is really a rather nasty lady. She’s titled by marriage, not birth, but you would think she’d been “to the manor born.”

The narration is skilled and doesn’t overdo the voices of the men – not too much artificial deepening. It was very pleasant and well done.

I HIGHLY RECOMMEND this story.  It has so much to love.

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