Posted by: Jennifer | April 14, 2008

Simply Perfect – Mary Balogh

Balogh, Mary. Simply Perfect. (New York: Bantam Dell, 2008). ISBN -9780385338240.

Main Characters: Joseph Fawcitt, Marquess of Attingsborough and Claudia Martin

Related Works: This is part of Mary Balogh’s Simply series about four teachers from Miss Martin’s School for Girls in Bath. The first book in the series is Simply Unforgettable, the story of Frances Allard and Lucius Marshall, Viscount Sinclair. Simply Love, the story of Anne Jewell and Sydnam Butler, is the second book. Third comes Simply Magic, the story of Susanna Osbourne and Peter Edgeworth, Viscount Whitleaf. Simply Perfectis the fourth in the series and tells the story of Claudia Martin and Joseph Fawcitt, Marquess of Attingsborough.

Description from book:

Tall, dark, and exquisitely sensual, he is the epitome of male perfection. Not that Claudia Martin is looking for a lover. Or a husband. As owner and headmistress of Miss Martin’s School for Girls in Bath, she long ago resigned herself to a life without love. Until Joseph, Marquess of Attingsborough arrives unannounced and tempts her to toss away a lifetime of propriety for an affair that can only lead to ruin.

Josepth has his own reasons for seeking Claudia out. Instantly, irresistibly attracted to the dedicated teacher, he embarks on a plan of seduction that leaves them both yearning for more. But as heir to a prestigious dukedom, Joseph is expected to carry on his family’s legacy. And Claudia knows she has not place in his world.

Now that world is about to be rocked by scandal. An arranged marriage, a secret that will shock the ton, and a man from Claudia’s past conspire to drive the lovers apart. But Joseph is determined to make Claudia his at any cost. Even if that means defying convention and breaking every rule for a love that is everything he ever wanted  – a love that is perfection itself . . .

My Thoughts:

I have enjoyed all of the stories in Mary Balogh’s Simply series, but this one especially. Claudia Martin is a formidable schoolmistress with a deep dislike of nobleman – especially dukes. However, Joseph, a duke-in-waiting, is able to break down Claudia’s impressive barriers. I loved the two of them together. At first, they formed a friendship. Then, they seemingly fell in love while caring for Joseph’s illegitimate and blind daughter. Lizzie was a wonderful character and was central to the plot of the novel.

Miss Portia Hunt, Joseph’s intended bride, is an exceedingly unpleasant character. Her reactions to both Claudia and Lizzie certainly make her the villain of the piece. At times, I found it very difficult to continue reading about her and her actions. I was quite happy when she ran off with the Duke of McLeith.

Now, I will say that I think this novel wrapped up the Simply series in a wonderful way. All of Miss Martin’s former teachers from the series made an appearance. Beyond that, the way that Claudia seemed to be bedeviled by those things which drove her most crazy – dukes, her former lover, and the Bedwyns – was quite amusing. Some of my favorite scenes were those with Claudia and Lady Hallmere, the former Lady Freyja Bedwyn. During Claudia’s time as a governess, Lady Freyja had been one of her charges. However, things had not gone well. Claudia ended up walking out on the job due to Lady Freyja’s bad behavior. At the time of Simply Perfect, Claudia has still not be able to get over her anger with the Bedwyn family.

I will say that I did see the fact that Lady Freyja turned out to be the mysterious benefactor of Claudia’s school coming. However, it was quite fitting. Balogh wrapped up all of the storylines, plots, etc. from the series. I truly enjoyed the journey.

Read first April 14, 2008

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