The Perfect Mistress by Victoria Alexander

February 11, 2011

Yakety Yak...don't Talk Back!!

The Perfect Mistress, by Victoria Alexander, is what appears to be the first in a series of books about three friends, Julia, Portia, and Veronica. All widows (although, I couldn't find anything confirming my assumption at her website). This is the story of Julia and Harrison and it's full of Victoria Alexander's trademark humor... and I do mean full of! Now, how you feel about the abundance of said humor may determine whether you like the book or not.

C-a-u-s-e, let me tell you there is lots and lots of talking, bantering, discussing, consulting, chattering, conversing and let's not forget "perfecting plans." It all starts when Julia is conversing with the ghost of her dead great-grandmother Hermione about publishing said g-grandmother's racy memoirs. Of course Julia needs to discuss this with Portia and Veronica; what are friends for if not to confer with? Then Veronica must tell Harrison, because his father is mentioned in the book (Harrison is Veronica's brother-in-law.) Well, of course, Harrison must stop the publication. No scandal in his family is allowed, so he pontificates to Julia, they fight, he comes up with a plan. He talks Veronica into a dinner party where people can sit around and talk. She plans a party, talk follows. Another author speaks to Julia, they discuss the book with Harrison, Harrison and Julia fight, Harrison makes another plan, Harrison's father advises him, Julia chats with her grandmother, then her publisher, then her friends, then Harrison, they argue again. He makes another plan...and, we have now arrived at the middle of the book.

Now, the interesting thing about all of this chittery-chattery racket was I found a lot of it to be terribly amusing, especially the discussion/arguments between Julia and Harrison. And let me tell you, Harrison (our hero) doesn't have the slightest idea what one should say to a woman. He is constantly putting his foot in his mouth. I found that amusing: nothing better than a man who can't communicate with a woman.

The drawback to the plethora of conversation was that it left little room for romance.

Oh yes, the ghost of the great-grandmother. I found her to be a bit of a distraction from the rest of the story. I am not bothered when paranormal is thrown into a story-line, but I started to grow a little tired of her popping up, giving advice and leaving with some vague reference to something that either happened or was about to.

If you like Victoria Alexander, you're going to like this book. I would have liked this tale better if there had been more romance and less talk; however, I'm not sure what I would have left out. Well, maybe when Hermione pops in after a robust knee-knocking episode...which she implies she has watched. Wink wink.

Time/Place: Victorian England
Sensuality Rating: Almost hot


Tracy said...

I haven't read this author before but the book sounds amusing. Thanks for the great review.

Anonymous said...

I looked at this page and saw three books I've read and loved - The Perfect Mistress, When Beauty Tamed the Beast, and the Clergyman's Daughter.
I appreciate your great taste in books.
An excellent review.

SidneyKay said...

Anonymous:'s always nice when someone else has heard of The Clergyman's Daughter.

Tracy: Victoria Alexander writes funny. And she uses her husband's name in all of her she uses his name depends on how she feels about him at the moment.

Melissa said...

I love Victoria Alexander, but this isn't one of my favorites. First off I didn't know it had a paranormal element until I was reading it. Did I miss that in the description on the back cover? I could have done without the ghost story. Harrison was great as the bumbling male who can't get it right. I enjoyed the story, but hope the next one is back in the vein I'm used to from Victoria, who I truly do adore.