SEVEN MINUTES IN HEAVEN – Eloisa James
February 2017 (Jan 21)
As the son of an earl who acknowledges him, Theodore Edward Braxton Reeve, born a bastard, is accepted somewhat by Society. His mother was well born enough, but considered mad. She didn't help matters when she ran off to join a traveling acting group on the continent and by enticing a younger gentleman to go with her. Ward (as he's known to friends) didn't bother with socializing. He made a fortune inventing a highly marketable machine, and became a don at Oxford. But now he's in a quandary. It seems his mother actually married the young man, who, by now, had become a lord, and they had two children before being killed in an accident. Their father willed custody of them to Ward, who is their half sibling, after all.
Now what is he to do with Lizzie (9) and Otis (8)? They are bright enough but undisciplined and have had no formal schooling. The boy even keeps a pet rat! Ward must civilize them enough to take their places in their own world someday. The answer? Snowe's Registry Office for Select Governesses run by the widowed Mrs. Eugenia Snowe.
Eugenia Snowe is the intelligent and independent daughter of one peer and the widow of another, and wealthy due to an inheritance from her mother. She just wanted to do something with her life, so she started a business . . . a very successful one. There are some who look down on her for it, but she's admired by most. (It doesn't hurt that she's beautiful.)
To sum up too quickly: Ward hires a governess from Snowe's, then another when the first doesn't work out; then he tries to hire Eugenia. He's attracted to her, but because he doesn't travel in high circles, has no idea of her rank. He doesn't think she's good enough to raise his siblings.
So we have a “big misunderstanding” plot, written, however, with the enormous talent of Eloisa James. Her characters are so authentically alive and the tone of the narrative so amusing and moving that no one could wish it would move any faster.
SEVEN MINUTES IN HEAVEN is connected to earlier books; in fact many characters, including our hero and heroine, were first met in the past, but it readily stands alone as a thoroughly entertaining experience.