Book Review: The Hollywood Governess by Alexandra Weston

I’m excited to be welcoming Alexandra Weston to Novel Kicks and the blog tour for her novel, The Hollywood Governess.

A governess bound by her own strict rules, a movie-star tormented by grief, a forbidden love story you won’t forget.

Hollywood, 1937

Hester Carlye has no wish to look after the pampered offspring of the rich anymore, in spite of being a highly sought-after governess. But with her elderly father frail, and the roof of their rundown cottage falling in, she has no choice but to accept a dazzling new placement.

Movie star Aidan Neil is box office gold, but after the tragic death of his wife Dinah Doyle, he needs Hester’s help to raise their young daughter Erin. Aidan and Dinah were once the perfect Hollywood couple, but stars don’t shine forever…

At Aidan’s glittering Hollywood mansion, Hester finds a family struggling with their grief. Hester knows she can help little Erin, but Aidan’s torment is palpable. Brooding and reclusive, he is far from the picture-perfect hero Hester’s seen in films. There’s an edge to him that makes Hester wonder if he’s hiding a dark secret of his own….

Was the marriage between Aidan and Dinah as perfect as it appeared to be? Was Dinah’s death really a tragic accident?

When it finally comes, the truth is more shocking than Hester could ever have imagined. And she knows that if revealed, it will destroy the family she has grown to love and ruin Aidan’s Hollywood dream forever…


It’s 1937. Hester Carlyle is a successful Governess. Having recently returned to Yorkshire from New York, she’s not in a hurry to return to the United States. However, bills need to be paid. When she receives a job offer that will mean a journey back across the Atlantic, she knows she can’t refuse. 

If you’ve been a long term follower of this blog then you know I can’t resist a good cover and the one for The Hollywood Governess is one of the things that initially drew me to this book. There’s something very glamorous and romantic about it. 

It wasn’t long before the story pulled me in and I couldn’t put the book down. I started reading it, looked up and it was the middle of the night. I’d lost track of time. 

Hester is so much stronger than she would give herself credit for. It’s not hard to be in her corner especially when scars from an accident means she has lost confidence being in society.

Her family is wonderful as is Erin. Aidan has an air of mystery about him to begin with. He’s very highly strung. As the story progresses, you find out why. 

Marie was a bit of an enigma to begin with. I wasn’t sure how she slotted into the story but as it became clear, her story added a lot to the story. I also liked the relationship between Hester and Mrs and Mrs Walsh. 

The plot itself develops well and at a great pace. The characters are at the heart of the narrative. There are twists, turns and revelations along the way. 

My biggest criticism about this book is that it ended and I had to say goodbye to Hester, Aidan and Erin. I’m hoping that we get an update on them in the future. 

The Hollywood Governess tackles some serious themes such as the loss of a spouse and parent. It’s also about love, taking risks and how the glamour of LA isn’t always as it seems. If you’re a fan of old Hollywood, mysteries and/or historical fiction, this book is perfect. 

This was a great novel from Alexandra Weston. I’m eager to see what comes nexts 



About Alexandra Weston – 

Alex Weston is a debut historical fiction writer whose novels are inspired by forbidden love in 1930s Hollywood.

She lives in East Yorkshire and her first book for Boldwood, The Hollywood Governess, was released on 26h June 2024. Click here to buy on Amazon, Apple Books, Barnes and Noble and Waterstones. 

Say hello to Alex on Facebook, X and Instagram


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I’m Laura. I started Novel Kicks in 2009. I wanted a place to post my writing as well as give other writers like me the opportunity to do the same. There is also a monthly book club, a writing room which features writing prompts, book reviews, competitions, author interviews and guest posts.

I grew up by the sea (my favourite place in the world) and I currently live in Hampshire. I am married to Chris, have a cat named Buddy and I would love to be a writer. I’m trying to write the novel I’ve talked so much about writing if only I could stop pressing delete. I’ve loved writing since creative writing classes in primary school. I have always wanted to see my teacher Miss Sayers again and thank her for the encouragement. When not trying to write the novel or writing snippets of stories on anything I can get my hands on, I love reading, dancing like a loon and singing to myself very badly. My current obsession is Once Upon a Time and I would be happy to live with magic in the enchanted forest surrounded by all those wonderful stories provided that world also included Harry Potter. I love reading chick lit. contemporary fiction and novels with mystery.

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