Hello, and welcome back! I've been reading like a fiend the last couple weeks. While much of what I've read has been merely 'okay', there have been a few books in my recent reading that are absolutely fantastic, like the one I have to share with you this time out.
Simply Perfect (Delacorte) by Mary Balogh rounds out her 'Simply' series, this time with Miss Claudia Martin of Miss Martin's School for Girls. Claudia isn't fond of the gentry, so when the Marquess of Attingsborough, the flirty and seemingly perfect Joseph, arrives at her school and announces that he's going to take her and her two students to London, she's not exactly thrilled. She's less thrilled when she spends more time in his company and it appears he's not the usual specimen of the upper class male; that means she might have been wrong all these years. Or not. The man who forever changed her opinion of the gentry is suddenly back in her life: Charlie as she knew him years ago, now the Duke of McLeith. Claudia has no intention of starting a new relationship with him, though it would be lovely to be friends again, at least during this brief vacation from her school. And then there is Joseph, who's got a secret of his own, and one that pulls at Claudia's heartstrings as it challenges her as well. Of course, he's also out of her league, and with a snooty fiancee his father has found for him in the wings. With this one, you'll get to revisit characters from past stories as you hope that Claudia and Joseph can somehow get past all the obstacles standing in their way, and there are quite a lot of obstacles in their way, not the least of which is the class barrier. As always, however, Ms. Balogh pulls it off believably. I hated for this one to end, though I do see here at least one possibility for a future story with a lady from Miss Martin's School. But Claudia and Joseph are an engaging couple, both aware of the impossibility of their situation, and both still unable to stop their emotions from getting the better of them. Balogh is always a keeper, and this one adds to my growing shelf of her books. This one has earned four and a half of Cupid's five arrows. Fortunately, another of her older books will be re-released in July, for those of us who found her late.
Until next time, happy reading!