When It's Perfect

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Overview

In her second romance, set in 19th century London, Adele Ashworth has crafted another fiery love story with a touch of intrigue, featuring the charming sister of the beloved heroine from Adele's Avon debut Someone Irresistible.

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When It's Perfect

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Overview

In her second romance, set in 19th century London, Adele Ashworth has crafted another fiery love story with a touch of intrigue, featuring the charming sister of the beloved heroine from Adele's Avon debut Someone Irresistible.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Ashworth's (Someone Irresistible) somber Victorian-era romance opens on the gloomy coast of Cornwall with a bride's death. The bride's older brother, Marcus, the earl of Renn, arrives in England shortly thereafter, having been abroad for four years. While his mother and brother snipe at each other, Marcus turns to Mary Marsh, the beautiful, mysterious woman who has lived with the family for several months, designing his sister's intimate wedding garments. Already intrigued by Marcus from his sister's description of him, Mary agrees to stay and help him investigate his sister's demise, only to find that the investigation becomes more dangerous, and the passion that simmers between herself and the earl more heated, with every secret unturned. But Mary has secrets, too-ones she's unwilling to reveal. The sense of doom that pervades the story will pull readers onward inexorably, but much along the way is jarring. Mary very modernly thinks of "working through" her guilt in regards to her own family issues, and characters often switch from high to low emotions without warning or reason. Nevertheless, Mary and Marcus's feelings that they've found soul mates in each other rings true, which makes for a satisfying denouement. (Nov. 5) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780380818075
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 11/5/2002
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 384
  • Product dimensions: 4.18 (w) x 6.75 (h) x 0.96 (d)

Meet the Author

I've always loved to write, but after my first attempt at a novel (nine chapters of Plastic City, the story of underwater-dwelling orphans in the twenty-third century that I wrotein the sixth grade), I took some time to get my bachelor'sdegree and to try my hand at other careers before I returnedto my first passion: creative writing. After lots and lots of perseverance, hard work, and a bit of very good luck, My Darling Caroline went on to win the Romance Writers of America's RITA® Award for Best First Book of 1998.

I live in Texas with my family, exploring history as Idelve into the hearts of my characters.

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Table of Contents

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First Chapter

Chapter One

Cornwall, England
May, 1855

Baybridge House
10 June 1854

My dearest Marcus,

I was so pleased to receive your most recent letter. The treasures you have recently discovered to the west of Cairo sound as exquisite as ever. How exciting your life must be! Someday I should enjoy traveling to Egypt, if only to see you again.

Life in Baybridge House is as it always is, except that I am now betrothed to Viscount Exeter. Shall I say I am happy? I suppose so. Mother is happy. Oh, how I wish you would visit! I have missed you terribly, as has George. Please remember to stay out of the sun. I will be thinking of you daily, and praying for your continued good health.

Your loving sister,
Christine

Mary Marsh would get her very first peek at Marcus Longfellow, the mysterious and seldom mentioned Earl of Renn, in only ten short minutes -- less than two weeks after the tragic death of his sister, Christine, whose body she'd found in a heap of pink satin skirts on the lady's withdrawing room carpet.

She'd been living quite comfortably at Baybridge House, on the earl's estate near St. Austell, for the last four months, designing Lady Christine's bridal trousseau for two qualified seamstresses to create, never having dreamed that she'd actually meet the man. He'd been gone for years and wasn't expected to return anytime soon. But she supposed the abrupt and disturbing death of one's healthy eighteen-year-old sister would be enough to bring a man home, even if he didn't want to be there.

Mary had heard the commotion earlier that aftenoon when every servant, it seemed to her, had erupted inpanic at his surprising and rather unceremonious arrival. She, being above a mere servant in station, yet not one of the family, had remained in her room, knowing she'd have the distinct opportunity of being introduced to him at dinner -- when they would all no doubt discuss his sister's untimely demise once again. And when she'd get the chance to put Christine's description of her brother to the test.

The whole affair made her more anxious than she'd felt in months. Not only did she know more than she should about England's most handsome earl, she wasn't in any way ready to return to London. She still had memories of home too crushing to contemplate, past guilt she needed to work through, which happened to be the reason she'd accepted this position in the first place. But however true that was, Mary also realized with some uneasiness that she was growing wary of the general eeriness of Baybridge House following Christine's death, and she was quite certain meeting the aloof and brooding Lord Renn would do nothing to change her feelings. She wasn't prepared to leave so quickly, and yet she knew the earl would have no reason not to release her from her duties within days, at which time she would be on her way back to London. Regardless of Lady Christine's farfetched notion of a love match between the two of them, Mary knew reality from romance. She would soon have to face her past.

Washing such uncomfortable thoughts from her mind, Mary donned her best evening gown -- a full-skirted burgundy silk with cropped sleeves and scooped neckline, the most appropriate dress she had in her possession for mourning -- then sat at her polished pine vanity, gazing into the mirror a final time before she made her way downstairs. Her skin was good for a lady of twenty-nine, still fresh and relatively free of wrinkles. She'd twisted her long blond hair tastefully into a chignon at her nape, allowing tendrils to curl down her cheeks and forehead, giving her an attractive yet conservative appearance. Although born of good family, she remained a spinster by choice and had no desire to be the center of anyone's attention, especially tonight.

Smoothing her palms down her skirt, Mary rose and walked with confidence through the door of her bed chamber and out into the faintly lit hallway of the house's third floor. Not a sound could be heard upstairs, though she knew the servants below were abuzz with excitement and gossip at the earl's return. The family, of course, would be gathering in the formal dining room for this remarkable occasion, and Mary wanted to be early, so as to remain as unobtrusive as possible. At least that was her hope.

It wasn't to be. As she neared the entrance, she heard the low voices of George and Gwyneth, the earl's vivacious younger brother and his mother, the countess, as well as the clinking of dishes and silver as obedient hired help set places with family china. By all accounts the Earl of Renn had yet to appear, which to her seemed promising in some small measure. Centered in that thought, Mary pulled her shoulders back and glided gracefully into the dining room to make her presence known.

As always, elegance surrounded her, and once again she noted how everything at Baybridge House was in perfect order and of the utmost in quality and style. The Countess of Renn would never dream of eating on last year's china and table linens. But then as the widow of one of England's wealthiest owners of a productive china clay mine, she would be accountable for a luxurious table. And everybody in Cornwall knew the Countess and late Earl of Renn were of the most refined and respected members of the local peerage. For the first time since her arrival, Mary had to wonder if that distinction had anything to do with Marcus Longfellow's departure to Africa years ago, if he was the wandering bachelor sort. But then, such speculation was none of her concern, and she would likely never know.

When It's Perfect. Copyright © by Adele Ashworth. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 17 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 17 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 20, 2012

    Had to force myself to finish reading

    I should not have read this book immediately after reading Carla Kelly's wonderfully crafted stories. The story drags along and only starts to get interesting halfway through.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    wonderful Victorian romance

    In 1855 after years searching for antiquities in Egypt, English Earl Marcus Longfellow returns home following the tragic sudden death of his eighteen year old sister Christine. Stunned and feeling guilty for not being there for Christine, Marcus vows to learn the truth while he ponders the note he received from her last year announcing her betrothal to a viscount. Marcus starts his inquiries with the person who found the corpse, lacy confectioner Mary Marsh. Marcus quickly realizes that Christine confided much more than she should have in the working class lass. However, Marcus obtains Mary¿s cooperation to assist him in learning what really happened to his sister as he realizes the lingerie maker cared for Christine. As the Earl and the undergarment clothier work together, they fall in love, but she harbors a secret that added to their obvious class differences, and his obsession with his sibling¿s death that makes it impossible for anything permanent. The sequel to SOMEONE IRRESISTIBLE stars the sister of the first novel¿s heroine. The story line of WHEN IT¿S PERFECT parallels that of the prequel, but includes an amateur sleuth investigation containing a twist that adds fun to the tale. The story line is enjoyable due to the antics of the lead couple though the all¿s well ending that both claims seems stretched when a beloved lies still underground. Still fans will relish Adele Ashworth¿s wonderful Victorian romance that provides a second look at the mid nineteenth century dinosaur craze. Harriet Klausner

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 10, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    I love when you meet up with an old friend and that joy you get


    I love when you meet up with an old friend and that joy you get. Well, Adele's WHEN IT'S PERFECT is that old friend to me. I have read it before and loved it then and I love it now. Mary is a maker of beautiful, sexy and daring intimate lingerie. In 1855 England, corsets and lingerie where suppose to be sturdy and boring. But Mary isn't any of those things and her lingerie is silky, sexy, beautiful, daring and made with satin, silk, precious news and made with love. Lord Rein, Marcus has come back from Egypt to discovered why his baby sister, Christine, is dead. Mary and Christine were close as they made lingerie for her trousseau for her upcoming wedding to Viscount Exeter. Mary and Marcus work together to find out to Christine. They find mystery, danger, evil, desire and love. This story has many twists and turns and will keep up in from the beginning to the end. I gave this book 5 fingers up and 8 toes.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 1, 2013

    Sit down and curl up your toes because this story is wonderful!

    Sit down and curl up your toes because this story is wonderful!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 19, 2003

    THE PERFECT READ!

    This was the first book I've read that the love was so deep and compelling it was utterly breathtaking. I adored Marcus and Mary....ah the stuff that dreams are made of...

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 11, 2002

    Ms. Ashworth does it again!!!

    I have always enjoyed Ms. Ashworth's books, but When It's Perfect is truly Perfect! If you are a lover of the Historical Romance genre then you will love When It's Perfect.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted October 11, 2011

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