Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The Perfect Mistress by Victoria Alexander

Paperback, 352 pages
Expected publication: January 21st 2011 by Zebra
ISBN13: 9781420117059
4 Stars
4 Flames (the quantity was very low, but once they got in bed together…. HOTTNESS.)

                Some of my New Years resolutions involved books. Books are an enormous part of my life. I decided to read a new (for me) genre and a new (for me) author each month. Totally stolen from a fellow blogger! I kicked off the New Year with both in one book.
                Julia, Veronica and Portia are three close friends who all happen to be widows at a young age, living in late 1800 England. Julia’s husband left her with many financial worries. Three years after his death she has decided to sell her great-grandmother’s memoirs to keep a roof over her head. Julia also has the financial burden of housing her grandmother and staffing two homes all without the income a husband should be providing. She has no family to speak of. Her deceased husband’s family does not feel the need to provide for her because she did not provide an heir to them. Julia being the strong, intelligent, independent woman that she is has decided to do what she must to provide for herself. Julia’s great-grandmother Hermione wrote of her scandalous adventures and titled them The Perfect Mistress. The reader gets to read bits and pieces of Hermione’s scandalous book at the end of various chapters.
                Julia has her hands full as three different men want the memoirs for themselves. One wishes to publish them, one wishes to write a fictional book based upon them, the other simply wishes to destroy them to prevent his family from being swept up into the scandal that this memoir will certainly cause.  The problem is they not only wish to acquire the memoirs, they wish to acquire her as well. Julia’s own life soon turns into an adventure that keeps her temper growing shorter. Harrison and Ellsworth have ulterior motives that keep them at odds with each other and keep Julia angry at the both of them. Harrison has the most interesting views about women and their place. He keeps himself in awkward situations by constantly saying the wrong thing at the most inopportune moments.       
                There is a bit of a supernatural aspect to this story. We have a ghost present. She is a meddlesome ghost. She wakes Julia in the night to discuss the why’s of life. On occasion she brings her dates along to the haunting of Julia’s bedchamber. This was a light read. Not a lot of sexual romance. The witty discreet flirting was very heavy. I guess with keeping the historical element there must be a substantial amount of flirting and witty conversation and less character debauchery. There are three happily ever afters at the end.

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