Monday, November 3, 2008

Simply Perfect by Mary Balogh

Simply Perfect is the fourth and presumably last, of Mary Balogh's series following the romantic adventures of four schoolteachers from Bath. The heroine of this story is Claudia Martin, the owner of Miss Martin's School for Girls. Loyal to her friends, and softhearted towards those in need, Claudia has an intense dislike of the aristocracy, particularly Dukes and anyone connected to the Bedwyn family. Consequently, her first impression of Joseph Fawcitt, Marquess of Attingsborough is not positive, and she reluctantly agrees to let him give her and two of her students a ride to London to visit her friend Susanna.

Claudia is a strong, independent woman, who has accomplished many goals and dreams. She has made her way in the world without the help or guidance of a man, and she fully expects to remain a spinster for life. Joseph is a man of great love and passion who longs for a wife that could be a full partner, but who also wants to meet the expectations of his family and society. His family wants him to marry, and his father has picked out the perfect bride. Joesph fully intends on fulfilling his father's wish, but his growing relationship with Claudia, stands in the way.

Claudia and Joseph are mature, adult people who have spent their lives living up to their codes of honor. Their growing relationship is convincing, and realtistic, as are the challenges and questions they face. Once they are finally able to accept being with one another, their happiness has been earned, and is deeply satisfying to the reader.

This was my favorite book in this series by Balogh. The characters are interesting and well-drawn, and the drama and romance engaging.

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