Runaway Heiress by Syrie James
Runaway Heiress was the quintessential historical novel! I love, love historical romances, and this one was a joy to get lost in. Undercover Heiress/Heir mixed with Heroine as Governess to Heroes children/charges tropes are once that I’ve come to truly enjoy. I get a kick out of watching people fall in love without care of finances or societal status. And the drama from the fallout of when their true backgrounds are revealed are usually nice and angsty with a rewarding barriers falling. forgiving and ultra romantic true love affirmations.
Cue all the swoons!
In Runaway Heiress, Alexandra abandons her arranged marriage and a short series of most unexpected events land her employed as governess to the Earl, Thomas Carlyle’s sisters. Not only an Earl and unable to rest on just that title alone, Thomas is a talented artist. Living in an estate beyond his means and with siblings to care for, what was poor luck for Alexandra, turned out to be a blessing and just the salvation Thomas needed in rearing his little sisters while he sold his art to pay the bills.
Whenever heroines assume the governess role, I know that there are some seriously romantic moments in store. This was no more true than in how Alexandra bonds and handles the children and how fiercely protective she became of each of them as she grew to love her and vice versa. She slowly became so much more than just their governess, she morphed into A woman who could love and care for family. Bolster their confidence and in turn also be the true love- Thomas’ hearts desire.
I loved how he pined for her, yet wanted to remain a gentleman. He wasn’t initially emotionally available. Yet his thoughts often betrayed him and ran rampant, fantasizing about having Alexandra (Lexie as he knew her) in the most carnal delicious manners, and then bemoaning his circumstances that he believed kept them apart. That he valued her, all facets of her personally and professionally, made their love affair so interesting. He was on the brink of poverty, selling artwork to keep his home and family afloat.
The story was uncomplicated and purely character driven; the focus primarily on family, identity, and falling in love- even when you aren’t looking for it, because, survival! I surely didn’t miss a convoluted plot and enjoyed things being so character centric. Thomas’ little sisters had lovely little voices and their scenes with Alexandra showcased her emotional state and were a perfect reflector of her character. Specifically when the girls innocently pry into her personal life and Alexandra is loath to lie too them, but desires to protect her true identity and upbringing. It was an important moment where Alexandra had to deftly balance being honest with her girls and further burying the past. A past she couldn’t run from forever and as the story went on, it was imperative she understand that.
Like Alexandra, Thomas had his own journey to overcome and together, they ultimately bust up and tear down all the lies and half-truths between them and create a sustainable, humble, yet comfortable life.
Did I mention the writing is so engaging that I’d shameless ingratiated myself into Thomas’ family practically from the start. Runaway Heiress, hits all the right notes for me and I heartily recommend!