cover image The Perfect Mistress

The Perfect Mistress

Victoria Alexander, Kensington/Zebra, $7.99 mass market (400p) ISBN 978-1-4201-1705-9

In bestseller Alexander's (The Perfect Wife) smashing stand-alone Regency, widowed Lady Julia Winterset decides to publish the manuscript of her great-grandmother's tell-all, The Perfect Mistress: The Memoirs of Lady Hermione Middlebury. Harrison Landingham, earl of Mountdale, appalled to learn that his father is named among Lady Hermione's conquests, tries fair means and foul to stop the book's publication, but Julia's determination is founded on both her need for money and the urgings of Lady Hermione's ghost. Pursued by an unscrupulous publisher and an idea-stealing author, Julia must figure out how to get the work published and appease her ancestor's spirit. Deftly written and full of fun, the quick-moving story includes clever excerpts from the memoir ("There is nothing as attractive in a man as effort, no matter how misguided"). A strong heroine, unexpected plot twists, and lively dialogue make this very close to a perfect read. (Feb.)