Reviewer: Robyn Roberts
Title: The Perfect Mistress
Author: Victoria Alexander
Release Date: February 2011
Genre/Sub-genre: Historical Romance
Overall Rating: 3.5
Sexual Content Rating: Sensual
Language (Profanity/Slang) Content Rating: Mild
Violent Content Rating: None
Victoria's Website/Blog: www.victoriaalexander.com
Lady Julia Winterset is a widow with a problem. Her dear departed husband left her with almost no money. Even with very frugal living, the funds are almost gone. She needs a healthy dose of income and needs it now. Thatís why the discovery of her great-grandmotherís memoirs, dubbed The Perfect Mistress, is a possible solution her great-grandmother, Lady Hermione Middlebury, was quite a scandalous woman. She was widowed very young and never saw the need to take another husband when she could live out her life moving from one love to the next. She never had anything to do with married men and had quite a long list of loves and lovers. Towards the end of her life, she wrote her memoirs to be passed as a living legacy.
When Julia begins reading them, she decides to look into selling the memoirs in order to create an income for herself. She expects a large down payment plus royalties to help her live for years. While Lady Middleton may have died years ago, most of the people she was involved with are still remembered, but also deceased themselves.
When Lord Harrison Mountdale finds out about a chapter in the memoirs involving his fatherówho is still very much aliveóhe decides he will purchase the memoirs at any cost and destroy them. He has never let a scandal touch his family before and he plans to keep that record spotless. Too bad Julia isnít interested in his offer. She doesnít want the memoirs destroyed (especially since she is now being visited by the ghost of her great-grandmother). Hermione is very explicit that the memoirs cannot be destroyed.
Julia ends up with three offers on the memoirs (and three corresponding men) interested in her as well. Whatís a lady to do?
Julia is a fascinating woman who has found a core of inner strength that she never knew she had. Sheís determined to stand on her own and be independent. She is also certain that she will never marry again. She was happy with her husband and sees no need to marry again.
Harrison is a straight-laced and very proper English gentleman. He is totally sworn to duty and making sure there is never, ever, any scandal associated with his family. He is quite unyielding in his principals. While at first he comes across as conniving and manipulative, he begins to show a softer side, even though he cannot see it in himself.
The other gentleman have large amounts of pages devoted to them, but really arenít of much consequence.
While The Perfect Mistress had a unique storyline with the publishing of scandalous memoirs and Hermioneís ghost showing up, it lacked substance in the depths of the characters. I found it cumbersome to read through many pages devoted to Julia waffling between each of the gentlemen in question. Harrison goes through similar pangs of should I/shouldnít I. While I know many readers will not see it this way and will think Iím out of my mind, I prefer the action to get to the point. I donít enjoy reading pages of descriptions and nuances. If you enjoy a more in depth look at what is going on in the characterís mind, you will love this book from start to finish.
The ending held a big surprise that startled and delighted me. I thought Victoria Alexander did an excellent job of wrapping those surprises into the ending. She also left a door open to potentially have a sequel appear in the future.
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