Against the seductive backdrop of Regency England, New York Times bestselling author May Balogh sweeps us into the sensual, enthralling world of four teachers at an elite academy for young ladies.
As headmistress of Miss Martin's School for Girls in Bath, Claudia Martin long ago resigned herself to a life without love. Until Joseph, Marquess of Attingsborough, arrives unannounced, and tempts her to toss away a lifetime of propriety for an affair that can only lead to ruin, embarking on a plan of seduction that leaves them both yearning for more. But Claudia knows she has no place in Joseph's aristocratic world. And now that world is about to be rocked by scandal....An arranged marriage, a secret that will shock the ton, and a man from Claudia's past conspire to drive the lovers apart. But Joseph is determined to make Claudia his at any cost—even if that means breaking every rule for a love that is everything he has ever wanted....
Remember how on my last Balogh review I mentioned that her current books lacked the passion of her earlier ones? Well this one is a prime example of that.
Claudia Martin has been a secondary character in the earlier 3 books of the Simply series and she was mentioned I believe in some of the Bedwyn series. She was a sort of austere and strict woman, devoted to her work and hating all things Bedwyn. Even when she interacted with the other teachers in previous books I always felt that there was stiffness about her.
I was naturally curious about her story because I thought we were going to need one of those meltdown moments, something really powerful to shake her world and make her lose some of her control.
What I got was something different. Claudia is visited by Joseph, the Marquess of Attinsborough who offers her a ride to London, while in the city they see more of each other and develop some sort of relationship. Without giving much away I thought she mellows towards him too easily and Balogh introduces another character to bring things to a more emotional level. I thought that was too easy an escape, I wanted to see Claudia change due to her feelings and the ones Joseph creates in her. I wanted her change to be emotionally charged. Not because she feels sorry or appreciates his behaviour towards his daughter.
I thought it was an easy way out and that Claudia Martin deserved better. This book was too sweet, too warm for a woman like her. IIRC I had exactly the same problem with Freyja's story.
Another thing that detracts from the story of the main couple is that all the Bedwyn family plus all the Simply couples appear in this book. While it's nice to revisit them, they take a bit too much space because being who they are; they can't resist meddling in other people’s affairs.