By Jane Goodger
Signet – September 2000
ISBN: 0451201302 – Paperback

Romance / Historical

Reviewed by: Brenda Weeaks, MyShelf.Com 
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The Perfect Wife takes place in Rhode Island, in 1893. It’s a romance about a young woman whose weight and appearance puts her in last position as a popular debutante, but in first place with a man desperately looking for a woman he couldn’t possibly have an emotional attachment with, marry, and ultimately leave in order to get his rightful inheritance from his wicked, selfish grandfather.

In the first chapter, the reader is made aware of Henry Owens feelings, and what he feels are acceptable reasons for choosing Anne Foster and treating her the way he does. I’m sure each reader will have her own reaction to it and to the story line that reveals everyone’s secrets, including Henry’s parents and grandfather. My reaction was sympathy for Anne, but I had none for Henry or his grandfather, even up to the end. When Anne is rejected, her family and society put her out. She disappears, and after two years comes back for revenge. This is where the story takes off. Anne’s friend Beatrice Leyden, Bea’s brother, and mother, Helen, take part in The Plan to make Henry pay for ruining Anne’s life. Henry’s moral support will be found in his life long friend Alex Henley and a famous socialite. 

The story as a whole was an interesting read. Jane Goodger juggles the different story lines quite well. Once I realized that the grandfather’s journal was going to pop up, off and on, throughout the story I was able to capture each bit of the information, put it aside, and continue on with the main story. Once at the end I was able to put the grandfather’s journal pieces together and understand the impact of it.  Like I said, I held no sympathy for his character, but I thought his storyline added a great mystery feel to the main plot.

I will give a couple of fair warnings: the sexual content is bold and passionate and the author successfully reveals the sad side of prejudice that is shown against those who are overweight. It’s a serious, though provoking read that will have you turning the pages in hopes of a happy ending.

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