The Perfect Lover
by Stephanie Laurens, historical (2003)
William Marrow & Co, $22.95, ISBN 0-06-050571-0

Curiosity compels me to borrow this book from a friend to see if Stephanie "Still Boring And Counting" Laurens offers a change of direction in this, her hardcover debut. I should've known that an author who repeats her characters and plots in Every. One. Book of hers will probably can't be bothered to go the extra mile for her fans who fork out three times the cost of a paperback for her book.

Portia Ashford (hates the Ton, studious, et cetera) wants to have a baby so she goes around flirting to find the perfect sperm donor. Her friend Simon Cynster (doesn't want to marry until fate snares him, et cetera) isn't amused, especially when there's a murderer around commiting half-baked excuses for Portia and Simon to indulge in silly reckless adventures and sillier sex. Of course he wants her and offers to tutor her in ways of men, and the dingbat that she is, she bites the big one - no pun intended. Blah blah blah, sex sex sex, marry me, no no no, sex sex sex, "I'm an intelligent woman who has sex without a thought of childbirth or my reputation but I am intelligent! Why? Because the author says so, that's why!", sex sex sex, marry me, no no no, murderer stands off with the good guys and tells everything...

Yup. Everything's right on schedule. Next stop: the pits.

The library is your friend. The used book store is your friend. Patience (read: wait for paperback) is a virtue. Not that I want to preach, but the only reason why I think anyone would spend $22.95 on this heavy thing is if you're an aspiring author, The Encyclopedia Of Overkilled Romance Novel Plot Devices is too expensive, and this book will make the perfect alternative for your needs.

As a showcase of unimaginative storytelling and not only resting but burying one's laurels in one's own backyard, The Perfect Lover is the perfect example. It's readable but tastes as good as dry sawdust.

Rating: 56

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