Miss Claudia Martin, aged thirty-something and well on the shelf, has made a life for herself by running a girls’ school in Bath, work that is fulfilling and thoroughly enjoyable. When the Marquess of Attingsborough appears at her school and offers to escort her and her two charges to London for their employment interviews, the stern Claudia is astonished and disapproving. She can handle herself very well, after all, and does not need his help. What she needs, however, is far different from what she’d like, a lesson Claudia very much enjoys learning.
This one started out slow, but very soon I could see why people love Mary Balogh. This book is heartbreakingly sweet. I could feel these characters fall in love with each other and I completely fell in love with them, too. Claudia is determined, stubborn, and ridiculously smart; falling in love doesn’t change her but augments her personality in wonderful ways. She’s stern for a reason and when we learn that reason, it’s much easier to feel for her and cheer for her to go after what she really wants.
As for the marquess, Joseph, he’s endearing all on his own. His love for his blind daughter and his discovery that he doesn’t have to hide who he loves or why is a touching part of the story on its own. He is so used to the rigid expectations of society that he never, ever thinks about questioning them until Claudia begins to question him. After all, she has shrugged off all expectations to become a remarkably successful woman; surely Joseph can do the same when it comes to a love for his daughter and moreover, a love for this woman.
Overall, if you’re looking for an emotional, heartening romance that makes you feel emotions and not just read about them happening, I recommend this. There isn’t much plot involved, but it’s hard to care. Worth noting, however, that this is the last in the “Simply” series about teachers at Miss Martin’s school. I have not read the first three, but I’m sure they would have only enhanced my enjoyment of this one.
Buy Simply Perfect on Amazon.