Book 4 in the Simply Quartet series
Author Mary Balogh
Narrated by Rosalyn Landor
Publication date Aug 16, 2016
Running time 12 hrs 27 min
Audiobook provided by publisher for review. No remuneration was exchanged and all opinions presented herein are my own except as noted.
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.
Joseph 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 no 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 has ever wanted—a love that is perfection itself . . .
Contains mature themes. https://tantor.com/simply-perfect-mary-balogh.html
Mary Balogh writes pretty romance novels filled with inner emotional struggles, social commentary, and steamy relationships.
This one also looks at societal views. It starts off with Claudia’s disdain for the idleness, wealth, snobbery and privilege of the nobility. While we’ve been led to believe this is due to her first experience as a governess, it’s obvious throughout this novel that the dislike goes deeper and is representative of the dislike for the nobility that is long been an undercurrent in society whenever there is a disparity in income, power and access (in other words, pretty much always and every where).
But, Claudia’s closest friends have, in the first three books, unwittingly snagged upper crust, if not all titled, husbands so unless she is going to perpetually be at odds with their lifestyles on some level she will have to come to grips with the titled aristocracy.
But the titled often have secrets and one of those is about to make a huge impact in her life. Have you ever wondered how the disabled were treated in the past? I have tried to locate some information about it but the information is somewhat buried in reams of online information.
This story does not involve not Mary Balogh’s first disabled character, but I think it is her first physically, versus socially disabled, child.
An important part of the story is honesty, what the double standards were and how others suffered as a result. Snobbery is also explored as a contrast with Claudia’s more moral prejudice against the titled. But is the prejudice against the privileged any different than the way some aristos treat the materially less fortunate?
The relationship between Joseph and Claudia is slow to develop and that makes it more real. As the secrets from their pasts are revealed, they are drawn away from the artificial and social barriers that have kept them apart. The situations are a little contrived but it’s worth dealing with that minor issue.
Rosalyn Landor, as she has with each of these books, develops her voices to beautifully match the characters and her voicing of male characters is very competent.
In the end will goodness and true love prevail? It’s the last book in the quartet so Balogh could defy convention. It’s a great book and a fitting culmination to the quartet.