My review contains spoilers and they're mostly my thoughts as I went with the book...
Hmmm, where do I begin about this book?
Let me just tell you that if you want to read about real rakes, you’re in for a treat. The Earl and the Governess is an Erotic Historical Romance by Alison Shaw. There are two rakes in fact, cohorts in their mutual pleasures. There is an Earl of course, the hot H of our story, Rafe; one of those aforementioned rakes. There is also a beautiful governess, Miss Kemp or Charlotte... and then, there is Rafe’s gorgeous valet Eddie, the other rake.
TBH, I think this book should’ve been titled ‘The Randy Rides of Rafe and Eddie’. (Oh, don’t look at me, just came to me as I started writing this review! Lol)
Rafe is the young Earl of Langham who has been with many, many women (and a few naughty men) in and around London and far and wide. His ‘reputation’ inside a lady’s boudoir (among other places) always precedes him wherever he goes. Apart from those wide varieties of partners, Rafe also enjoys being with Eddie whose skills comes ‘handy’ when he needs it.
One day, Rafe finds that a governess is appointed for his orphaned young cousins. Even though he’s been eying the older sister of those boys, Sophia (since she’s a virgin, hence quite unattainable), very soon Rafe’s attention shifts towards the beautiful governess with the thoughts on how to have her.
Charlotte, on the other hand, just fell for Rafe, his manly beauty and sexyness on spot. There was no escaping that! She’s a sensual creature, though I didn’t think she was slutty. There was something about her I liked immensely. Charlotte was introduced to sex by her ex-employer, who had even shared her with a few other men. She loves sex and misses it ever since leaving the other household but she’s not sure if an involvement with Rafe would be the thing to do seeing how, on the outside, she’s the most prim and proper governess available out there! And this is what drives our randy hero crazy, shagging the prim governess (he did make good on his promise quite a few times :p).
But Eddie is another matter entirely. He’s a f*cking machine, I have no other name for him. He just enjoys it, likes to give it rough and to perform. He’s been with many women. As for men, I think it’s only Rafe he’s been with. They do share a special bond of sort that not many people know of. At one point in the story, when Charlotte asks for ‘it’ from him (when she finally gives into her bodily cravings, thinking Rafe is way out of her station), Eddie gives it to her without any hesitation. As I said, no question asked sex... Sometimes he likes to perform with a woman just for Rafe, who enjoys watching him and joins in if he feels like it.
As you can surmise, there are a LOT of sex in this book. M/M, M/F, M/F/M you name it, it’s here.
✔ Rafe with other women, including widows, upstairs maid etc.
✔ Rafe with Eddie (though M/M is mainly centered on oral, other actions are just hints)
✔ Eddie with Rafe (same as above)
✔ Eddie with other women, including the same upstairs maid and some prostitutes
✔ Eddie with Charlotte
✔ Charlotte with Rafe (finally!!)
✔ Charlotte with Eddie and Rafe... (you bet!)
✔ Rafe and Eddie with other women/prostitutes, again... (don’t ask me to elaborate, as you can see these two are mainly governed by their d!cks. lmao)
But the most important thing was, I enjoyed almost all the sex scenes in this book, even though I hardly read ménages. I believed in Rafe, Eddie and Charlotte’s chemistry when they came together in passion, which mattered to me here. I also liked the writing, the author being a new-to-me one because it reminded me a lot of Lisa Valdez’s writing; very raw and direct, no hide and seek so you can expect a lot of dirty talking.
I was pretty much sure of a 4+ star rating, until the last couple of chapters where:
# It’s revealed that our randy hero is scared of his mother who has been whining to him about getting married. One look at the girl of his mother’s choice, a daughter of some titled man who later turns out to be one of Eddie’s past lovers and Rafe immediately begins lusting after her. He then even manages to get caught with her because... yep, he let his d!ck govern him again, Charlotte be damned! He didn’t even go through the marriage but Charlotte was hurt and left her job. It wasn’t revealed where she went but we keep seeing more of Rafe’s antics.
# Rafe did such stuffs a couple of times, making me think if his words of love were just those, words. Was Charlotte just another convenient lay and nothing else? The way he was, I didn’t know what to think but I did believe that Charlotte fell in love with him. It made the whole matter worse. I thought even Eddie was better than Rafe in his own way and he cared for Charlotte.
# When Charlotte was nowhere to be found (c’mon did he even look for her?) and Rafe jilts his bride on the altar, he and Eddie go back to their old ways. *sigh* I felt annoyance brewing at this point.
# Don’t expect HEA, It’s rather HFN. Charlotte returns in the end because she couldn’t stay away, also because she was pregnant (no idea whose baby though, Rafe’s or Eddie’s). It was planned that they’d leave for France but there was no talk of marriage. So we can pretty much expect a very open relationship here. This didn’t make me happy. I’d rather these three stayed together, with Charlotte married to Rafe or something like that.
But if you’re not bothered by these things and looking for something decidedly naughty, go ahead and give it a try! 4 stars.