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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous Book!...
Adele Ashworth establishes herself as one of romance's best authors with this incredibly emotional story of secrets and seduction. Home from Egypt to investigate the mysterious circumstances surrounding his sister's death, Marcus intends to discover the truth at any cost. He needs Mary Marsh's help. Mary was one of his sister's closest confidents and Marcus is certain she...
Published on November 6, 2002

versus
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars If perfect = average, then this book is perfect.
maybe i made a mistake by reading this one so soon after reading ashworth's even better book, DUKE OF SIN. maybe i placed too high an expectation on this one for the very same reason. either way, this book ended up being a disappointment.

don't get me wrong, ashworth is still gifted in her poetic description of love scenes. they were very sensual here. however,...
Published on July 25, 2005 by avines


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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars If perfect = average, then this book is perfect., July 25, 2005
This review is from: When It's Perfect (Avon Romantic Treasures) (Mass Market Paperback)
maybe i made a mistake by reading this one so soon after reading ashworth's even better book, DUKE OF SIN. maybe i placed too high an expectation on this one for the very same reason. either way, this book ended up being a disappointment.

don't get me wrong, ashworth is still gifted in her poetic description of love scenes. they were very sensual here. however, the story itself was so depressing that as a reader, i just couldn't feel the connection between the hero and heroine. in the back of my mind, i kept thinking "it's just a few weeks since his sister died so why isn't he more grief-stricken?" i think because of how easy it was for marcus to shift from feeling grief for his dead sister to feeling lust for his sister's friend, i had a hard time believing he could experience any depth of emotion. it would have been more believable if he had experienced more emotional conflict about this, but he got over the initial guilt a little too quickly.

another strike against this story is the extremely slow pacing of it in the beginning, and i'm not talking about slow in the sense that i was expecting them to hop in the bed early. i'm talking slow in that the dialogue was boring and the movement of the storyline was boring and there was a lack of any significant sexual tension between mary and marcus. by the time the love scenes arrived, i was already counting the pages until the end.

ultimately, there were two things working against this story being a whole lot better: lack of any real character development with either the hero or heroine, no insight into them that would engage the reader into their individual stories, and a mystery plot that was too easy to figure out, so that i was too focused on why it was taking them so long to figure it out. mary allowing the class issue to keep her and marcus apart made no sense to me because she had been behaving outside of class lines for the entire book. i think that was the final straw for me, because her character was rather bland and besides her beauty, i found little reason as to why marcus would fall in love with her.

there were simply too many inconsistencies here for me to recommend this book.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous Book!..., November 6, 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: When It's Perfect (Avon Romantic Treasures) (Mass Market Paperback)
Adele Ashworth establishes herself as one of romance's best authors with this incredibly emotional story of secrets and seduction. Home from Egypt to investigate the mysterious circumstances surrounding his sister's death, Marcus intends to discover the truth at any cost. He needs Mary Marsh's help. Mary was one of his sister's closest confidents and Marcus is certain she can help him uncover the truth. What neither Marcus nor Mary counted on was falling in love with each other. Marcus is a wonderful combination of strength and sweetness while Mary protects her heart and secrets under layer after layer of self-preservation. And underneath several of those layers are some pretty racy undergarments that have Marcus longing for a private showing. . . This is a book not to be missed!
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Clunk, December 27, 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: When It's Perfect (Avon Romantic Treasures) (Mass Market Paperback)
I really tried to stick with this book but finally gave up. Mary Marsh, the Longfellow family's seamstress, agrees to help discover the secrets behind Marcus Longfellow's sister's death. Every movement, every thought, every glance, every twitch sizzles with inexplicable tension between Mary and Marcus until I wanted to pull out the pages in the book with annoyance. Each minute action is subjected to prolonged scrutiny and introspection. And the whole story, at least the part which I read, unfolds in a creepy, decidedly unromantic way.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Way off the perfection scale, December 3, 2002
By 
Desmond Chan (Bishan North Singapore) - See all my reviews
This review is from: When It's Perfect (Avon Romantic Treasures) (Mass Market Paperback)
Having read her magnificent My Darling Caroline which clinched her the coveted RITA award and Winter Garden, Adele Ashworth fails to sustain her trend of creating sympathetic intelligent characters and the sizzling sexual tension usually associated with her past works in her latest.
At least the prequel Someone Irresistible which tells Mimi Marsh's story (the female protagonist's sister) is more textured with stunning revelations and provides dimension and complexity to the characters but When It's Perfect is all too predictible and maudlin with its denouement when it could have been better with such a promising start - a sudden death of to-be bride Christine Longfellow. Her seamstress for her bridal trousseau Mary Marsh seems to hold secrets to her death - and the devastated brother of the deceased Marcus has come back from Egypt to investigate the real reason of her death.
It becomes all too obvious that Mary and Marcus are going to fall in love with their progressive admiration; the viscount whom Christine is intended for is a scoundrel and that Mary is a bourgeois unsuitable for the earl. It is Ms. Ashworth's intention to focus on the central characters and simply neglects the sub-characters. It's not a who-dun-it nor a noir but simply a strait-laced romance. However even the romance has failings. Ms. Ashworth lacks her usual empathy for her characters as she charts their emotions and instead injects an overdose of melodrama.
Harsh the review may be but for a former RITA winner of outstanding talents to be delivering such standard fare, her faithful readers are most disappointed as I am. We are not asking for perfection here but this read is simply way off the scale with its uninspired plot.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Perhaps not perfect, but a very enjoyable read!, November 30, 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: When It's Perfect (Avon Romantic Treasures) (Mass Market Paperback)
I enjoyed this book a lot. Contrary to another reviewer, I think this book is much better than "Winter Garden" (one of the author's prior books). The lead characters are warmer, more engaging - less cool, aloof. Granted, the mystery wasn't much, and I would have preferred a darker, more gothic atmosphere, but this book concentrates most on the relationship building between the two main characters.
Marcus Longfellow, Earl of Renn has come home from Egypt to discover his beloved younger sister Christine has died just months before her wedding. In her letters to Marcus she had confided to him that she "feared for her future", but was not specific as to why. Worried, he heads home but arrives too late. Christine's letters were also full of one Miss Mary Marsh who had been hired to work on Christine's wedding trousseau. She and Mary became friendly and the mischievous Christine engaged in some long distance matchmaking for her new friend and favourite brother. And so when Marcus decides to investigate Christine's death, he asks Mary to help him. He feels he knows her already from Christine's letters and that he can trust her to help him uncover the truth. Who better to know Christine's state of mind near the end than her new confidant?
Mary is from a good, but not aristocratic, family and is very conscious of her station in the Renn household - as a paid employee. Though she and Christine shared much, Mary held back much as well. Guilt, shame and heartache haunt Mary but she keeps all this to herself. As Mary and Marcus spend time together, they are drawn to each other, sweetly sharing bits of what Christine told each of them about the other. Their attraction grows and heats up, but Mary still holds some of herself back knowing that her past and lack of rank make any future between them impossible. But she obviously doesn't know Marcus as well as she thinks!
I adored Marcus! How another reviewer could call him "aggravating" is beyond me! He was handsome, funny, naughty, yet tough and determined as well. And I heartily enjoyed the easy friendship (not to mention the passion!) that they shared. They were a really sweet couple and in the end you (and they) see what Christine saw all along - they were perfect for each other.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing, November 20, 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: When It's Perfect (Avon Romantic Treasures) (Mass Market Paperback)
Read Winter Garden, it's far superior. This one is full of implausibilities, little sexual tension, aggravating hero, the mystery was so OBVIOUS...and there was no "set up" for the "dark secret" in her past. Read if you are a fan, but if you are new to this author, definitely check out My Darling Caroline or Winter Garden for superior romances, and skip this one.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not quite perfect, April 22, 2004
This review is from: When It's Perfect (Avon Romantic Treasures) (Mass Market Paperback)
Part of the book's problem was its unevenness. Sometimes it really held my interest and other times I just wanted to be finished with it. I like Marcus a lot (a lot, alot), but Mary doesn't impress me much. In fact, I found her annoying. Somehow, though, I cannot see this woman who so loved the sea and wilds of Cornwall, hating to leave that behind, happy to follow Marcus to the dry deserts of Egypt.
The letters from the sister that opened each chapter were a very nice touch, adding to the reader's understadning, providing foreshadowing, and making the sister an active character in the story. The who-done-it is also well executed, as are the love scenes.
All in all, it's okay and has its good moments, but it's not great -- and definitely not perfect.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Elegantly written Victorian romance with a touch of gothic, September 1, 2005
This review is from: When It's Perfect (Avon Romantic Treasures) (Mass Market Paperback)
Eager to escape London and the guilt that haunts her, Mary Marsh takes a position in Cornwall preparing the bridal trousseau of Christine Longfellow. Mary grows fond of the young bride and the two spend many hours talking of life, love and the letters Christine receives from her eldest brother, the Earl of Renn. Given the loving descriptions and stories told by his sister, Mary is soon smitten with a man she knows she will never meet. Shockingly, tragedy strikes and Mary finally comes face to face with the man of her dreams. A man determined to uncover everyone's secrets, including her own.

The homecoming for Marcus Longfellow, the Earl of Renn, should have been filled with joy, not sorrow. When letters arrived from Christine pleading for his help, Marcus had left his archeological work in Egypt and hurried home to England. He arrives to find that his beloved sister had been found dead just days before her wedding. Although her death has been declared an accident, Marcus is determined to find out what really happened. To this end, he enlists the help of the woman Christine had praised in her letters -- Miss Mary Marsh. As the pair work toward unraveling the mystery, Marcus falls under the spell of his partner, but senses that she has her own secrets to hide.

WHEN ITS PERFECT is the story of Mary, the heroine's sister from SOMEONE IRRESISTIBLE. At its heart, this is a story about redemption and passion. Marcus seeks redemption for failing to be with his sister when she needed him the most, while Mary must find a way to forgive herself for past actions. Ms. Ashworth displays her writing talent by subtly incorporating passion throughout the book. The vivid descriptions of the Cornish countryside, the intelligent dialogue and the innate sensuality of the lingerie the heroine creates all allude to the simmering emotion building up between the lead characters. One is almost tempted to buy a corset or two.

TheSchemer
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5.0 out of 5 stars Almost Perfect., February 11, 2004
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This review is from: When It's Perfect (Avon Romantic Treasures) (Mass Market Paperback)
Such a simple storyline, written with effortless skill, and the love scenes are drawn with touching finesse. I have read countless romance novels and this author's ability to shape a love scene measure up with the best. The description of her lingering romantic moments is seductive, sensual, and so beautiful. **Sigh**
This book is the sequel to Ashworth's "Someone Irresistible". The setting is Cornwall, England in the year 1855. The story begins with the tragic ending of a much-loved sister. Marcus Longfellow, the Earl of Renn, has come home seeking answers. He implores Miss Mary Marsh, his sister's friend, to aid him.
The beginning of the book is slow paced, and this leisure tempo enables the reader to understand the characters fully. Mary Marsh, 29, is a spinster by choice. She is wellborn, but not of the noble class. Mary makes her way in the world by designing lacy erotic ladies' undergarments. Thus, the path Ashworth draws upon to set up some of the romance.
Marcus Longfellow is gentle, poised, confident, and poetic. The morning following their first warm liaison, the Earl of Renn whispers softly:
--- "I learned something last night, Mary. I learned that in all of my thirty-four years, I've never once been given paradise. Oh, I thought I'd had paradise before, several times in fact, but I learned last night that I was wrong. Very, very wrong. Nothing in my experience has been like the paradise you gave me, Mary." **Sigh. Are there men in the world like this?** ---
The stimulating subplot surrounding the sister's death is intriguing. The mysterious secrets circling the family are compelling, and throughout the pages, Ashworth continues to tease the reader with carefully timed connections.
This Adele Ashworth's work is close to perfection; however, I was troubled with one element. It bothered me that Mary embarked on a career designing erotic lingerie. Why? Upon suffering the forceful loss of innocence, would any woman then move forward and design lingerie meant to arouse wild sexual passion in a husband or lover? Nevertheless, this is a good book. A solid read all the way.
Grace Atkinson, Ontario - Canada.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Elements of gothic novel and cozy mystery--unusual, engaging, December 24, 2002
By 
This review is from: When It's Perfect (Avon Romantic Treasures) (Mass Market Paperback)
When It's Perfect is not "perfect," but I do have to say that it is one of the best and most original books I've read this year. Ashworth places the protagonist, Mary, in Cornwall, isolated within the house of the enigmatic--and absent--Earl of Renn. When the earl's young sister dies mysteriously, however, he returns to untangle the riddles surrounding her last weeks alive.
When It's Perfect has a wonderful, gothic atmosphere. The Renn family is not a happy one, a detail which Ashworth demonstrates with great subtlety and insight that heightens the tension in the story. The novel also has the feeling of a cozy mystery, with Christine's death in the enclosed environment of the Renns' household and the earl, Marcus, who is essentially an outsider, trying to "solve" it.
The best part of When It's Perfect, however, is the relationship between Marcus and Mary. I found it completely believable that they loved each other, liked one another, and should be together--in fact, I thought they were perfect for one another. This is more than I can say for most romance novels, including Ashworth's Someone Irresistible. There was just enough sexual tension in the novel, and both Marcus and Mary were likable and interesting.
Not that this book didn't have problems--the conclusion was lame, and why does Ashworth remind us of the plot to Someone Irresistible, which was so ridiculous it would be better for her to just pretend it never happened and move on. Also, Marcus' attempts at "romancing" Mary occassionally strayed into what I would think of as sexual harrassment, and Mary's revelation concerning what happened to both her and Christine could have been executed A LOT better than it was. Ashworth's prose has also lost a lot of its unique rythym and texture in this novel, no doubt due to the lovely Avon editors who strive to make all writers sound the same.
Beyond that, however, When It's Perfect is truly an excellent romance with a very good story-line. Ashworth is definitely thinking more about her characters and their interactions in the world they live in; I greatly look forward to her next novel.
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When It's Perfect (Avon Romantic Treasures)
When It's Perfect (Avon Romantic Treasures) by Adele Ashworth (Mass Market Paperback - November 5, 2002)
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