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The Perfect Wife Mass Market Paperback – February 26, 2008

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Avon; Reprint edition (February 26, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061438553
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061438554
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 4.3 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,405,262 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


Lady Sabrina Winfield faces a problem upon her daughter's engagement. Belinda's fiancé, Erick, is the son of Nicholas Harrington, the Earl of Wyldewood. Nicholas is wealthy, widowed, and a successful diplomat. How can Sabrina amass a proper dowry from her modest means? Sabrina's husband Jack had left substantial debts upon his death over a decade ago. Sabrina -- "Bree" -- and Nicholas had not been introduced before the engagement took place, so neither realized they had met years ago under unique circumstances steeped in mystery, and had a very brief love-hate relationship. They meet, and attraction blooms. He thinks she might make a fine trophy wife. He doesn't have long to consider the matter, for within days, Sabrina leaves their native England. She's found a letter Jack had won in a card game, directing one to a chest of gold once meant to support Napoleon's military ventures -- buried in Egypt!! Nicholas goes after her, for her safety and to court her. Knowing the Earl is a notorious womanizer, Erick and Belinda set off in pursuit, to protect Sabrina. Erick's aunt Wynne, a lovely but bookish spinster of thirty-two, comes along to chaperone. Three Englishmen are trailing Bree as well, their intentions selfish and sinister. Sabrina impulsively marries Nicholas on board before the others reach them. It was she who proposed a marriage of convenience, one not meant to be consummated -- but Bree and Nicholas do fall in love and become lovers, as some detailed episodes relate. Sabrina realizes that Nicholas is the man who had hunted her down years ago. She could lose him if he knew she was the woman whose activities their government had sent him to stop, to no avail. Would he turn her over to the authorities? The five adventurers and the ship's captain, dashing young Matthew Madison, land at Alexandria and venture into the desert, seeking the gold. The interfering trio arranges a confrontation that's stunning in more ways than one. It's time to follow the directions in the letter, but Nicholas is feeling quite sure that Bree is the woman he had once hunted. She had been his obsession: he had failed to arrest her, but also lost his chance to get to know her better. He had never forgotten her allure. The outlaw, the siren, his wife -- were they one and the same? What must he do now -- is the dream of her being the perfect wife over as soon as it began?Alexander treats us to a tale with a novel setting, satisfying in its depiction of the feisty, likable Sabrina. In the second half of the novel, her writing seems more polished. This reviewer's frustration with Bree's somewhat fickle ways and the author's verbosity in the early chapters were overridden as the tale developed, offering solidly enjoyable twists and a well-crafted plot.With Sabrina Winfield in your life, there's never a dull moment. Love, rivalry, lost gold -- there's treasure of all sorts in The Perfect Wife ! A tale that draws you in -- you'll root for Nicholas and Bree to sail home with the riches they seek -- will it be a fortune in gold? In love? Dare they hope for both? Alexander's characters are distinctive. Her work is a refreshing addition to the world of historical romance! Nineteenth-century Egypt . . .timeless longings and questions of the heart . . .this one's a winner!Frances Mosconi -- Copyright © 1994-97 Literary Times, Inc. All rights reserved -- From Literary Times --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Victoria Alexander was an award-winning television reporter until she discovered fiction was much more fun than real life. She turned to writing full time and has never looked back. Victoria grew up traveling the country as an Air Force brat and is now settled in Omaha, Nebraska, with her husband, two teenaged children, and a bearded collie named Sam. She firmly believes housework is a four-letter word, there are no calories in anything eaten standing up, procrastination is an art form, and it's never too soon to panic.

More About the Author

New York Times bestselling author Victoria Alexander was an award winning television reporter until she discovered fiction was much more fun than real life. She turned to writing full time and is still shocked it worked out.

Since the publication of her first book in 1995, she has written thirty-one full length novels and six novellas. Find a complete list on her website and chat with her on facebook

The Perfect Wife--originally published in 1996 and reissued in March 2008--hit #1 on the New York Times list. Sixteen of her books are bestsellers hitting the New York Times, USA Today and/or Publishers Weekly bestseller lists. With books translated into more than a dozen different languages she has readers around the world and has twice been nominated for Romance's Writers of America prestigious RITA award. In 2009 she was given a Career Achievement Award from RT Bookclub and was named Historical Storyteller of the year in 2003. In 2008 she was the keynote speaker for the Romance Writers of American annual conference in San Francisco. Victoria credits much of her writing success to her experiences as a reporter.

Her years as a broadcast journalist were spent in two radically different areas of the country: Nebraska and West Virginia. In West Virginia, she covered both natural and manmade disasters. She was on the scene when a power plant construction accident in a small town left 52 men dead. She once spent the night on a mountain waiting to learn of the fate of coal miners trapped in a mine collapse. Victoria was producing a newscast when her husband (who worked at the same television station) and several other journalists were held hostage by a disturbed Vietnam veteran. In Nebraska, she reported on the farm crisis and watched people lose land that had been in their families for generations. She covered the story that was the basis of the movie BOYS DON'T CRY and once acted as the link between police and a gunman who had barricaded himself in his home. Her investigative work exposed the trucking of New York City garbage to a small town dump in rural Nebraska.

During her journalism career, Victoria covered every president from Ford to Clinton. She knows firsthand what it feels like to be surrounded by rising floodwaters and inside a burning building. She's interviewed movie stars including Kevin Costner, ridden an elephant and flown in a governor's helicopter. She's covered a national political convention and Pope John Paul II's historic visit to Denver as well as small town festivals celebrating everything from walnuts to Glen Miller. Her work was honored by numerous organizations including the Associated Press who called a feature about a firefighter's school "story telling genius". It was the encouragement she needed to turn from news to fiction. She's never looked back.

Victoria is a former president of the Omaha Press Club and in 2009 was named an OPC Face on the Barroom Floor. A caricature portrait of her joined previous faces including presidents, sports figures and politicians in a tradition that began in 1971.

Victoria claims her love of romance and journalism is to due to the influence of her favorite comic book character: Lois Lane, a terrific reporter and a great heroine who pursued Superman with an unwavering determination. And why not? He was extremely well drawn.

Victoria grew up traveling the world as an Air Force brat. Today, she lives in Omaha, Nebraska with her husband and her dogs. Victoria had two bearded collies, Sam and Louie (named from characters in one of her books). Sam (on the left), the best dog in the world for 13 ½ years, passed away in September 2010. Louie took on the position of loyal companion and did a fine job even though he doesn't understand that kitchen counter surfing is not allowed! Now he's been joined by Reggie, king of the lilacs.

They all live happily ever after in a house under constant renovation and the accompanying parade of men in tool belts. And never ending chaos. Victoria laughs a great deal--she has to.

Customer Reviews

Very funny and entertaining.
Kindle Customer
For example, Sabrina's daughter is not enamored with her fiance's sea sickness; she needs to see him do something heroic.
S. Reader
This book tried to be too many things but none of them well.
Amazon Customer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By E. A. Montgomery on March 17, 2008
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I thought this was a rewritten reprint, but I can't see where it's been revised. Victoria Alexander is much better than this work represents. There are glimmers of what makes her so popular, but The Perfect Wife is a mess overall. If you're looking for a historical novel featuring Egypt, keep looking. While the main characters, their families, their enemies and their friends do all pop off to Egypt as if it were no more trouble than dashing down to the corner store for a pack of smokes, Egypt itself is not a character. It provides some local ethnic types to briefly imperil the ladies, and that's about all it does. This is the sort of romance that, marketed in the 80's, would use the word 'madcap' to describe the heroine. She is interesting - despite making little internal logical sense, she is capable and independent overall. But when she loses her temper she does ridiculous things without making any effort to extricate herself when cooler heads prevail. And she loses her temper easily. Which makes one wonder how she got her reputation as placid and boring. The hero has a lot of guilt over his failure to raise his son. He ruminates on it every so often but that's as far as it goes. His son seems to have no issues with it, he never discusses it with anyone, it changes none of his actions, he just mulls it over when there's a slow spot in the action. Most of The Perfect Wife is taken up by characters moving around in a melodrama while having completely different internal lives. It's like they are actors considering what to purchase for dinner on the way home from the theater then dropping back into character to toss out a few lines when the spotlight hits them. The novel is cluttered, the characters are inconsistent and inexplicable, and the plot is ultimately unrewarding. But there is just enough there to remind you that yes, you're not crazy, the author is better than this.
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Joyously Retired Teacher on March 10, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
Sabrina has spent the past 10 years as a very proper matron raising a daughter alone. In truth, she is trying to wipe out her scandalous past as a daring smuggler for the sake of her daughter's marriage prospects. Suddenly facing financial reverses at a time when she desperately needs a dowry for her daughter, Sabrina jumps at the chance to go treasure hunting in Egypt. Not understanding what is happening, her daughter Belinda turns to her fiancé for help, and he in turn pleads with his father to intercede.
An absentee father, the Earl of Wyldewood has been feeling guilty about his past relationship with his son. The endless pursuit of pleasure has left him somewhat jaded and cynical, and he has thought about remarrying, if for nothing more than to have a chatelaine and hostess for his home. When the sparks fly between the earl and Sabrina, he impulsively decides to ask her to marry him. She seems to be a perfectly proper society matron, and the attraction between them is an added bonus.
Unfortunately, she seems to be leaving for an extended trip, and the earl decides to accompany her as a protector. Of course, when their children learn that their parents have taken off together for Egypt, they persuade an aunt to accompany them in hot pursuit. The earl, after all, is a known rake, and certainly cannot be trusted alone with a woman for an extended period.
Sabrina impulsively marries the earl on board the ship, then discovers that he has the power to destroy her if he discovers the secret of her smuggler-past. She loves him, but fears that he will reject her when he discovers how very far from proper she truly is.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By S. Reader VINE VOICE on April 30, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
More often than not, I really like Victoria Alenander; she's one of the authors who got me started on romances. It's probably a good thing this was not one of the first of her books I read. Excellent premise, but the execution was way off.
Nicholas was an okay guy--your typical haughty aristocrat. Sabrina started out with such promise, but in the end didn't live up to her characterization. She's supposedly lived the last 10 years wearing a mask that slowly falls away during the course of the novel, worn that mask for love of her daughter. But in the end, she simply leaves her; I didn't buy it. She supposedly led a band of smugglers who adored her and followed her with unswerving loyalty, yet we see nothing of those qualities in a long and boring trek across the desert--for nothing. This is also the woman who is determined to never be dependent on another financialy again--but she doesn't follow her investments to the point that she's barely solvent? Too many things don't add up.
Everything in the book is set up to get these two together in love; unfortunately that fact is far too obvious. Everytime a new dilemmna is needed, the author simply states a reason for things to be different. For example, Sabrina's daughter is not enamored with her fiance's sea sickness; she needs to see him do something heroic. So the ladies are kidnapped and the dear fiance just happens to be the only one available to rescue them, which he does with absolutely no difficulty. And Nicholas is supposedly an important man with political aspirations--but he can take off for nearly a year at a moment's notice?
As for the witty repartee, it isn't all that witty; Alexander is capable of much better (see her Effington series, except the last one which was as dreadful as this tale). Secondary characters have as much if not more life to them than the main couple. Nowhere near Alexander's best.
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