That Perfect Someone

Written by Johanna Lindsey
Review by Marina Oliver

Richard and Julia, betrothed as children, loathed one another, so Richard ran away to sea. Back in England they meet, not initially knowing the other’s identity. Richard is infatuated with recently married Georgina Mallory. Julia wants to break the betrothal contract, but her father is incapacitated after an accident and unable to help. She sets out to find and destroy it and persuades Richard to join her, but his despicable father turns the tables on them.

The characters are distinctive and most, in particular the women, show some attractive qualities. Julia is feisty, Richard initially consumed with hopeless adoration of Georgina. Since several characters have featured in previous books a family tree would have been useful.

I like to know when stories are set, but this supposedly historical romance offers few clues. A sailing ship on the cover, pirates in the Caribbean. Otherwise the novel floats in an amorphous oldie worldly cloud. On page fifty seven there is mention of transportation to Australia (post-1787); on page 247, transportation has been going on for ‘a few years’. Julia visits France on business, unlikely before 1815. There are no mentions of contemporary happenings, and the only detailed reference to clothing is the inaccurate description of a domino as a face mask.

Attitudes are modern, ‘We are trying to have our first child’, as is the language (apart from gadzookery such as ‘repair to your cabin’ or ‘Fie on you.’). ‘Bloody’ comes on almost every other page. There is ‘arse’ (frequently), ‘darn’ (exclamation), ‘roadblock’ and ‘our interaction’. Five brothers have ‘Lady Mallorys’ as wives and a duke’s daughter’s son is his only male heir. Julia, married against her will, talks of getting a quick divorce.

Do readers (or authors) care about historical veracity? If you do, this book will irritate you. Otherwise, it’s a pleasant romance.