Trouble by Lex Croucher
Published: July 20th 2023 by Zaffre
Rating: ★★★★½ (4.5)
Genre: Adult // Historical, Romance, LGBT
Quick Thoughts: A great escape of domestic adventure, witty humour and characters that felt so animated that they practically leapt off the pages.
About The Book:
There’s a new governess at Fairmont House, and she’s going to be nothing but trouble.
Emily Laurence is a liar. She is not polite, she’s not polished, and she has never taught a child in her life. This position was meant to be her sister’s – brilliant, kind Amy, who isn’t perpetually angry, dangerously reckless, and who does (inexplicably) like children.
But Amy is unwell and needs a doctor, their father is gone and their mother is useless, so here Emily is, pretending to be something she’s not.
If she can get away with her deception for long enough to earn a few months’ wages and slip some expensive trinkets into her pockets along the way, perhaps they’ll be all right.
That is, as long as she doesn’t get involved with the Edwards family’s dramas. Emily refuses to care about her charges – Grace, who talks too much and loves too hard, and Aster, who is frankly terrifying but might just be the wittiest sixteen-year-old Emily has ever met – or the servants, who insist on acting as if they’re each other’s family. And she certainly hasn’t noticed her employer, the brooding, taciturn Captain Edwards, no matter how good he might look without a shirt on . . .
As Fairmont House draws her in, Emily’s lies start to come undone. Can she fix her mistakes before it’s too late?
I absolutely adored Gwen And Art Are Not In Love by Lex, and when the opportunity came up to read their newest book, Trouble, I leapt at the chance. Historical-type books aren’t usually my cup of tea in the slightest, but Lex proves time and time again that they are the exception to my usual reading habits, because I just couldn’t say no.
Emily Laurence is nothing like her sister Amy. Sweet, thoughtful and adoring Amy, who loves children and works as a governess from time to time. But when Amy becomes sick, her upcoming job at Fairmont House is on the line—a job they need to afford treatment and food for Amy—that is until Emily steps in and says she’ll fill in for her and arrange it with the family to be a temporary fix. Unbeknownst to Amy though, Emily hasn’t done that. She’s going to pretend to be Amy herself: which is going to take a bit of work. See, Emily is every opposite of Amy, short-tempered, impulsive and wild. She knows if she can hang on long enough, maybe she can steal a few things and earn enough to ditch the family early and head back to her sister.
But it’s not long before the children of Fairmont House become the bane of her existence. The elder sibling, Aster, is recklessly bold in obvious distaste for Emily, and the younger sibling, Grace, though docile and sweet, speaks unnervingly old for her young age. Their father, Captain Edwards, is present at the house but as absent as ever, although the other staff at Fairmont House keep it from staying quiet, proving they form the strongest form of familial relationships for the children—and despite her reluctance, in Emily’s direction, too. But when a stranger in the village offers Emily good money to get dirt on the Captain himself, Emily is torn. She wants to provide for Amy as her top priority, but Fairmont House has welcomed her with such adoring arms that it becomes more and more difficult to ignore how betrayal cuts deep. And when she changes the Captain for the better, becoming closer to him along the way, figuring out what to do is the greatest lesson Emily has ever gone through.
Overall, Trouble was a great escape of domestic adventure, witty humour and characters that felt so animated that they practically leapt off the pages. I loved many things about the story, but the sisterly bonds, and that of the staff at Fairmont House, were some of the most wonderful things about it. I would love to have seen the romantic element played out in more than just the last third as the slow burn only really began a long way into the story. That being said, this was such a magnificent read and I loved every second of ball dances, carriage rides and servant banter along the way. Another must read from Lex!
About The Author
Lex Croucher grew up in Surrey, reading a lot of books and making friends with strangers on the internet, and now lives in London with an elderly cat. With a background in social media for NGOs, Lex now writes historical-ish rom coms for adults (REPUTATION, INFAMOUS) and historical fantasy rom coms for teenagers. GWEN AND ART ARE NOT IN LOVE is their YA debut.