Marguerite Kaye continues her “Princes of the Desert” mini-series with the sister to her previous heroine, Lady Cassandra Armstrong, this time moving to a neighboring kingdom with a new prince to charm us.
Cassandra has basically been left at the altar and feels as if she is an utter failure. When she hears of a terrible little monster of a girl that needs a governess she just knows this is her chance to redeem herself in everyone's eyes.
Prince Jamil is at his wit's end with his daughter. Since his wife died shortly after their daughter was born, she has terrorized every servant in the palace and scared away every governess that comes near her. Cassandra seems to be his last hope. He assumes that he is picking up an older, homely woman that should provide no issues in his life, but he is sadly mistaken. What he ends up receiving is a beautiful young woman that calls to him on every basic level, and frustrates him to no end by constantly challenging his authority.
Cassandra quickly picks up on the true reason Jamil's daughter is such a holy terror: she is starving for affection. The future Princes in this kingdom have always been raised in a way that allows for no softness or humility. They are shut off from all human interaction at a young age to ensure that no one will see their missteps or mistakes. This has left Jamil completely isolated from everyone in his life. He has no clue how to reach out to his daughter, and in fact, until Cassandra comes into the picture, he doesn't even see it as an option. Getting both Jamil and his daughter to break down their walls and learn about each other is no easy feat, but Cassandra finds some common ground and it is seeming to work. When it becomes apparent to both Jamil and Cassandra that they want more from each other then they can have, they know it's only a matter of time until it all comes crumbling down.
I was surprised by how much I enjoyed the first book in this mini-series. Usually a desert Sheikh story doesn't really catch my attention. I was very interested to see if the author could capture me twice, and boy, did she! From the moment I picked up The Governess and the Sheikh, I couldn't put it down.
Both characters were upfront with each other from the beginning and they knew exactly where they stood the entire story. Jamil definitely had his share of emotional baggage, but Cassandra just stepped right into the fray and made him face it. Cassandra's self-worth had taken quite the nose dive, so Jamil complimented her perfectly, without making it seemed forced or flirtatious. They were a great pair and completely grabbed my heartstrings.
All the conflicts were dealt with in a way that mostly felt believable. Of course, with every story there is a suspension of belief that has to happen for the HEA to work out, and this one definitely needed it too. Fortunately, for me, the story was written so well that I was engrossed enough to not have to work too hard at that.
A lot of characters from the first book continue in this book, and indeed the story starts in the kingdom from Innocent in the Sheikh's Harem so I would say that it would probably provide a much fuller reading experience to pick up the first book before reading this one. I think you'll be happy you gave these a try.