Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Perfect Kiss by Anne Gracie

Book Description:
Before she sets out to see the world, Grace Merridew must first help her timid friend, who is being forced to marry Dominic Wolfe, boorish heir to a huge estate. To that end, Grace disguises herself as a plain and mousy chaperone. But when they arrive at the estate, Grace finds herself being pursued by a big bad Wolfe.

I loved this final book in the Merridew Series - the best of them all!  A great way to end the series! 

The youngest of the Merridew sisters, Grace grew up without the benefit of knowing her mother and father who died before she could remember them.  Her abusive grandfather enjoyed tormenting Grace, informing her that she would never really be loved by anyone since she killed her mother (in childbirth).  Fortunately, Grace is made of sterner stuff and was not entirely cowed by her grandfather, though she could never forget his words.   Deep down she began to believe that no one would ever love her in the same way her sisters did.  And so sets the scene when Grace agrees to pose as her friend's lady's maid en route to Shropshire.  The last thing she expects is to find love in a filthy dirty castle disguised as a non-descript, mousy maid servant.  Grace is there to help her best friend, Melanie, who is being forced to marry Dominic Wolfe, Lord D'Acre of Wolfstone.  Although I found it hard to believe that Grace could pull off the deception for very long, it opened the door for some interesting developments between Grace and Dominic.

Dominic Wolfe is an angry man.  Although the heir to a vast estate and castle in Shropshire, he has no interest in remaining there.  To come into his inheritance, he must marry Melanie Pettifer, but it will be in name only.  He wants nothing to do with anything that had to do with his father, who abused his mother to the point where she ran away with Dominic as a baby to get away from him.  Dominic barely knew his father and grew up abroad, except for his English schooling.  In order to come into the money from the estate, he must marry Melanie who he has never even met!  Poor Melanie has no desire to marry him either.  She has always wanted to have babies!  If she married Dominic that will never happen, for he has no intention of ever consummating the marriage!  He'll make sure she's taken care of, but he doubts he'll ever see her again.  What a sad existence!  Dominic seems more like a monster than a bridegroom!  When Melanie and her father - and Grace, who is now known as Greystoke - arrive at Wolfstone, they have a lot to put up with.

Arriving in the middle of a rainy downpour with Melanie's ailing father and a broken carriage - who is the first person Grace meets?  Dominic, of course.  Although, Grace thinks he's a groom from the stable, and he thinks she's a comely servant girl.   You can guess the rest.  They're immediately attracted to each other, but there's the sticky situation that he doesn't know who she really is and he's her best friend's fiance!  It really was a good story with lots of details I'm leaving out.  Dominic's friend, who happens to be the new curate, comes on the scene and it's love at first sight - for Melanie! How can we get the right couples together and keep everyone happy?

I really enjoyed this entire book and Grace had her hands full, not only with Dominic, but fixing up his castle, hiring staff and convincing him that he shouldn't let his hatred for his dead father rule over reason.  They had a couple of sizzling romance scenes as well.  Lots of fun side characters too - the whole thing was a lot of fun!  It was sexy, funny and heartwarming.

Anne Gracie's website has a great page devoted to A Perfect Kiss, here.  It's fun to see the pictures on it that she used for inspiration for Wolfstone, the worn steps and the wooden carved gargoyle, in particular. Take a look - I had fun browsing her site!

Overall, I loved this Merridew Sisters series and The Perfect Kiss was my favorite book of the four!  I highly recommend it!  The chemistry between Grace and Dominic was great, they were fun together, whether sparring together or loving together, I was rooting for them!  I loved the side story with Melanie and Dominic's old school friend, turned curate.  Plus, I loved seeing Dominic's transformation from angry young man to loving, benevolent master of his domain.   I'm leaving tons out, but it really was a pleasure!


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