The Ideal Wife (The Ideal Wife #1)
by Mary Balogh
In this classic tale, New York Times bestselling author Mary Balogh introduces a hero like no other: Miles Ripley, London’s most irresistible bachelor, who’s about to lose his heart to the last person he ever expected to love—his wife.
When Abigail Gardiner knocks at the door of Miles Ripley, Earl of Severn, the last thing she expects is a marriage proposal. Desperate, she’d come to this charismatic stranger’s home to plead for her future. Instead she shocks them both by saying yes. Her impulsive decision will have consequences neither she nor her new husband can foresee. For Miles has his own reasons for marrying her. And Abigail is harboring a secret of her own. As distrust gives way to desire . . . as, together, they give in to the pleasures of the marriage bed, a devastating scandal threatens their future. Now these two wary hearts will risk ruin and disgrace for a love that has changed them both forever—the kind all seek, but few ever find.
Genre: Adult, Historical Romance
Publication Date: June 24th 2008
Format: Mass Market Paperback, 339 pages
Series: yes, but can be read as a stand-alone
Source: used book store
So... the minute I read that blurb (and saw this beautiful and brightly blue cover -the three Bs this cover whore absolutely loves-), I decided to go ahead and ignore the surprisingly low ratings for this book and see things for myself.
I had a lot of fun reading The Ideal Wife. Sure, some of the dialogues and actions of the characters were not perfectly 'agreeable' with the time period, nor was the ease with which Miles quickly accepted and fell for Abigail (it was almost insta-love, and it came from the guy first, a surprise in itself) and her oddities, and constantly stood by her side even when Society stated that he 'correct' her bizarre behavior. Yes, like I said, it wasn't very believable... but it does not mean it wasn't enjoyable. It's not always you see the hero falling for the heroine before SHE falls for him, nor is it very often that he turns out to be such an understanding, dear of a husband. The Ideal Wife was the kind of book that really brings out the meaning of 'romance' to mind: something sweet, a little bit too-perfect and, so, very unrealistic. What is better than THAT for when you need to escape real life? It was a great help during my finals. Something light, quick and easy to read that makes your brain relax a bit.
Abigail was a surprisingly strong and amusing heroine from the very start. I was quick to like her... only to almost hate her enough to want to give up finishing the book. I didn't give it up, but I simply could NOT believe some of her ridiculous decisions. How can someone be so smart and so freaking STUPID at the same time? Very annoying. There was no need for all that secrecy and drama and running around behind her husband's back when it was SO VERY OBVIOUS that he would gladly help with the (painfully simple) issue at hand. But then again, the story needed something more to the plot... it just seems to me that the author could have thought of a better way to write it. There was a (grave) surprise, that we never could have seen coming, unveiled at the end. THAT surprise should have been better hinted at, better developed, to make the seriousness of the book come through.
Regardless of those problems, I liked the characters and the lightness of the story, the strength of their relationship. It was cute and funny. And that's pretty much it.