Claudia Martin, owner and headmistress of Miss Martin's School for Girls in Bath, is a confirmed spinster. She is 35 years old and has achieved her longtime goals and dreams. Her school is a success and has recently expanded in both size and numbers. She no longer needs the support of her long-time secret benefactor. She is able to offer a good education to a number of charity pupils as well as to the daughters of wealthy fathers. It is true that in the past few years she has lost three of her teachers and closest friends to matrimony, but she still has a staff of whom she is both proud and fond. Love and marriage are dreams she has long pushed into non-existence as unattainable. Claudia Martin is not a brooder. She is not someone to feel sorry for herself. She considers herself happy. She counts her blessings.
Joseph Fawcitt, Marquess of Attingsborough, is also 35 years old. He is handsome, charming, elegant, popular, wealthy--a man at the peak of his sexual appeal. For years he has been dedicated to one mistress, but now he knows that he must turn his attention to marrying well and producing a son and heir since one day he will be a duke.
He and Claudia are about as unlike each other as they could possibly be. One would not expect that they would ever even meet each other, but they do--in the visitors' parlor of the school when Joseph calls to deliver a letter from a family connection, Susanna, Viscountess Whitleaf, who once taught at the school, and to offer to escort Claudia and two of her charity girls to London when he returns there himself. Claudia is prevailed upon to accept the offer, much as she would really rather not. And Joseph hires a horse, guessing that he will not particularly enjoy riding in the carriage with either Miss Martin herself or her pupils.
Why does this unlikely pair remain acquainted once the journey is at an end? How can they ever develop a respect for each other and even a friendship? And how, in the name of all that is wonderful, can they possibly fall in love and mean the world and the sun and moon and stars to each other?
The book, of course, provides the answers to all those questions!
This is one of my personal favorites. I hope it will become one of yours too.
Oh, and for all you Bedwyn junkies who can't get enough of them--the Bedwyns figure quite prominently in this book. Claudia, you may remember, hates them like poison, especially Freyja (whose governess she once was) and Wulfric, Duke of Bewcastle (her former employer). Little does she realize that her secret benefactor is one of these two!
Delacorte Hardcover, ISBN 978-0-385-33824-0
Mary Balogh once again dazzles readers with her exceptional regency romance. Beautifully written, you cannot resist being drawn into the lives of these fascinating characters. I particularly love how the hero and heroine are strong, yet vulnerable. The story keeps the reader truly entertained from beginning to end. They are not perfect, but real and flawed. Captivating romance sprinkled with sweet sensuality makes for an enjoyably rewarding read. Simply Perfect is simply enchanting.
Bonnie-Lass, Reviewer for Coffee Time Romance, and Reviewer for Karen Find Out About New Books
Over the years, in her many wonderful stories, Mary Balogh has perfected the Regency romance. In Simply Perfect, she incorporates the rigid social classes and morality in an emotional and complex love story filled with intense grief and joy. Her indelible characters stay with readers, as will Claudia and Joseph as they struggle with dilemmas that will change the direction of their lives. Simply Perfect is a superb conclusion to the Simply series.
Suan Wilson, Reviewer for freshfiction.com
A warm-hearted and feel-good story, Ms. Balogh manages to put a lot of emotion in her tales, and Simply Perfect is no exception. Readers will want to add this wonderful story to their collection -- is it any wonder that Ms. Balogh's Regencies are on the endangered list and almost impossible to find? Simply Perfect is another must-read from this talented author, and a Perfect 10.
Marilyn Heyman, Romance Reviews Today