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Publisher: Avon / HarperCollins
Release Date: March 2004
ISBN: 0060505729
Format Reviewed: Paperback
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Genre: Historical romance
Reviewed: 2004
Reviewer: Barbara Buhrer
Reviewer Notes: Explicit sex

The Perfect Lover
By Stephanie Laurens

     At 30 Simon is the last unmarried Cynsters. He is on his way to inspect his newly inherited estate in Somerset. He will begin a search for a perfect wife after he delays his trip to support his friend, James Glossup at a house party at Glossup Hall.

   Portia Ashford, at 24, wants a family and a home of her own, and will explore the possibilities available for a husband. She knows she must marry to have them. Her problem is her ignorance about what marriage will encompass.

    Simon and Portia have known each other since they were children. They know each other well. He has always been protective of her. She has always resented any curtailment of her independence. She persuades him to instruct her on the intimacies of marriage. Their exploration is threatened by the murder of Kitty, wife of Henry Glossup, and several "accidents" which threaten Portia. Simon must keep Portia safe while they attempt to find the murderer and clear their friends.

   The plot gives the reader a glimpse of an English country house party with a cast of charming and some eccentric aristocrats. The action is constant. The dialogue is minimal, the character development slight. The struggle of Simon and Portia to come to terms with their true feelings and to commit themselves is fascinating.

     There are as many pages of graphic sex as there are pages of plot development. The love scenes are tender and erotic. This would really be a handbook for sex techniques. I would have preferred more story and less sex.