Jason Dagwood has newly been made Viscount Steele because of some work he's done for the Prince.
With this new responsibility, as well as his job as Solicitor-General of England, he has a new challenge:
looking after his two nephews, Seth and Felix. Steele and his dead wife's father believe that Seth and Felix's parents were murdered, and they are trying to discover who did the deed.
The two boys clearly need a governess to help them to settle down and begin to recover from the events in their past. When Steele hires Abigail West, he gets more than he had bargained for. She may look quiet and mousy at times, but it's clear that when necessary she can be a strong woman who can keep those she loves safe.
Steele spends some of his nights roaming the streets of London as a Sentinel,
a kind of vigilante of justice. One night he comes across a woman being attacked - a woman who seems able to defend herself very well. Although he helps the mystery widow, it's clear that she is self-possessed and unusual.
When he meets her a second night, they become lovers, although neither knows the identity of the other as they are always masked or veiled.
The story is part mystery (although the murder plot is very small), part romance (although the romantic clinches between Steele and Abigail generally seemed rather sordid to me - up against a wall in a dark alley, for example), but it's mostly about Steele and Abigail helping Seth and Felix feel important and part of their world. Steele has to overcome his grief at the death of his former wife, and Abigail to realize what's important and how the errors she has made in the past don't need to shape her entire life.
The fact that this author is an American jars the reader fairly frequently. Abigail's young charges ask to eat "biscuits with butter and jam," which sounds ludicrous to English ears - 'biscuits' are what Americans call 'cookies'
(I presume the 'biscuits' in this book refers to our 'scones'). There are also American word-forms and sentences which, although common in Regency novels such as this, are always irritating to a reader who knows about the language used in England in the 1800s. There also seems to be unnecessary repetition of the phrase "Solicitor-General of England," which gets quite annoying toward the end of the book.
The Governess Wears Scarlet is a reasonable enough read
with well-drawn characters. However, the thinness of the plot and the historical inaccuracies let it down as well.