Although Julia's Quinn's Bridgerton series is written with great undertones of humor, this book seemed more broadly funny than any other books of hers that I can remember.
It starts off with Daniel Smythe-Smith drunkenly and accidentally winning a hand of cards. Accidentally, because Daniel is an indifferent card player whereas his opponent, Hugh, can count cards and is sure that Daniel could only have won if he'd cheated. This leads to pistols at dawn where Daniel again, accidentally shoots Hugh in the leg (he meant to delope). Hugh's father is a mean, vengeful man who vows to destroy Daniel causing him to flee the country in fear.
Despite the seriousness of events that occur, the prologue is written quite humorously. Daniel's befuddlement at how events spiral out of control is very entertaining.
After three years running always looking over his shoulder, Hugh tracks Daniel down and assures him that his father has ended the vendetta. Daniel can come home.
He does right in time for the annual, infamous Smythe-Smith musicale where he sets eyes on and becomes immediately smitten with Anne Wynter, the governess of his young cousins.
But Anne isn't what she seems and has some big secrets of her own. Daniel determinedly pursues Anne, despite her (feeble) protestations. She is determined to keep her job with the family and is aware that a dalliance with Daniel is a very dangerous proposition. Even more so that a spectre from her past has resurfaced and is threatening her current comfortable life.
JQ has gotten some great mileage out of the Smythe-Smith family and their dreadful musical ambitions and this book adds to that. As governess to a branch of the family, Anne has a first row seat to the madness. Much of the humor of the story stems from Anne's high-spirited charges and the witty, flirty back and forth between Anne and Daniel.
The drama comes from the revelation of the mystery of Anne's past. To the author's credit she doesn't draw it out until the bitter end. Fairly early in the story we get treated to a flashback that fills in the details of Anne's history. So I spent a lot of the story in anticipation of Daniel learning the truth as well. When it all comes to a head, it is very satisfying.
I only gave it 3.5 stars because there were points early in the story that I thought it dragged a bit. But it rebounds well. And Hugh makes for a great breakout character. Hope he gets his own story.