Dear Ms. Gracie:
If you should perchance come by the blog and see your name, my suggestion would be to pass over this review. I hate to be saying the following things about your book, but I’ve got to be honest and it’s not going to be pretty. A Perfect Stranger was a book I enjoyed. I didn’t blog about it, but I would have given it a B-. I felt, at times, reading The Perfect Kiss that someone else wrote the book because it was so . . . bad.
This book represents some of the worst themes, stereotypes and caricatures in the historical romance genre. It is replete with anachronistic characters, silly mental lusting, and a wafer thin plot.
Grace Merridew, the toast of the ton, has cut her golden red locks, died her hair, marred her perfect complexion with henna freckles and embarked on a journey to “save” her best friend, Melly Pettifer, from an unwanted marriage. Seems that Melly’s father, Sir John, and Dominic wolfe’s father, the deceased Lord D’Acre made a betrothal contract when Melly and Dominic were still minors. Melly wants to have children more than anything and thus she can’t marry Dominic because after he found out he couldn’t weasel out of the betrothal contract, he declares theirs will be a “white marriage.”
Somehow Grace is going to ensure that they don’t get married by posing as Melly’s maidservant/companion. Of course, Grace takes a real shine to Dominic and doesn’t seem to be too bothered by the fact that she engages in kissing, heavy petting and then coitus interruptus (twice) with her best friend’s fiance. She does push Dominic away toward the middle of the book, thinking that perhaps her physical contact with him isn’t proper but a few pages later is back in his arms.
Grace is full of predictable anachronistic heroine traits:
- Despite being the darling of the ton, she knows how to act as a maidservant.
- She carries a knife in her boot because all Merridew sisters go around armed.
- She swims in her drawers because it is so stifling in the heat (and because a village granny told her not to swim in the pond because it causes girls to lose their morality. hmmm, I can’t guess what happens next).
- She had a bad childhood and doesn’t believe she can love anyone, but she sure can lick the skin off a hot male nearby.
- She knows how to light a fire. Knows where the kitchen is. Is used to folding bed linens. All things a rich young lady would have in her repertoire.
- She recognizes that leeching is bad and demands that the quack doctor refrain. Again, common knowledge amongst the young gentry.
- Is immediately beloved by entire village and servants. She hires people to come and work at Wolfestone. Yes, a maidservant. And then offers to pay for their wages, out of her nest egg.
Dominic is not much better of a character. Embittered by the fact his mother was treated abominably by his father, Dominic is going to let his 800 year old legacy die. And ruin a young woman’s life in the meantime. He has no problem romancing a maidservant while still intending to marry another woman. Wow, a real prince of a guy.
The story is so predictable. Every scene is telegraphed which led to a complete lack of drama. The secondary romance is no less hamfisted and obvious. Within seconds of meeting, the secondary couple are in each others arms wondering at their attraction for each other. Gee, again, I wonder what happens next.
Maybe this is supposed to be a farce. I don’t know. I could barely bring myself to finish the book but I did, even in the face of Dominic’s Ottoman factocum who arrives complete with his own harem. D.