Angus's Lost Lady

Expecting in Texas

A Forever Kind of Hero

A Hero for All Seasons

A Husband Waiting to Happen

In the Family Way

Traci on the Spot

Wife in the Mail

Found: His Perfect Wife
by Marie Ferrarella
(Silh. Sp. Ed. #1310, $4.50, PG) ISBN 0-373-24310-3
Found: His Perfect Wife is populated with a profusion of plot lines, each one as familiar as the next. Thereís the fake marriage plot. The evil other woman who ran off with the best friend plot. The abused heroine plot. The failed marriage plot. And that old chestnut: the amnesia plot. Blend them all together in a 250-page category format and itís a potential recipe for disaster.

Yet, Marie Ferrarella skillfully weaves each of these disparate themes together to create a satisfying read thatís a pleasure from start to finish.

When Jean-Luc LeBlanc is knocked unconscious rescuing Alison Quintano from muggers, Alison feels responsible for him. Especially when she realizes the blow to his head has left him with amnesia. She takes him to the home she shares with her two brothers, Kevin and Jimmy. Since Jimmy is an emergency room physician, she knows Luc will be in good hands.

It doesnít take long for Lucís memory to return, and with it the realization that he was escaping from the tiny town of Hades, Alaska and a dilemma of his own making. One night, after a few too many drinks, Luc told his one-time best friend Jacob, that he was married and his wifeís name is Suzanne. Luc felt it necessary to stretch the truth a bit, since Jacob had run off with his fiancťe Janice, leaving Luc at the altar. Jacobís pity was more than Luc could stand.

Since Alison was searching for a small town where the medical need is great, to utilize her new nursing credential, she suggests Luc take her to Hades. Once in Hades, Alison will temporarily pretend to be Lucís fictitious wife Suzanne, as a way of thanking him for saving her. Luc isnít certain this is the best idea, but he canít refuse the opportunity to spend more time with Alison.

Once the masquerade begins, it soon becomes difficult to hide their growing feelings for one another. But Alison has a secret in her past. A secret she feels makes it impossible for her to ever have a true relationship with anyone. Itís up to Luc to prove her wrong.

Luc is nearly the perfect hero, sympathetic to Alisonís needs in a way that makes the reader sure heís her perfect match. But his characterization is tempered by the fact that his lie created the situation in which he finds himself. This makes him all the more human.

The secondary characters are particularly well drawn, especially Alisonís older brother Kevin. His brotherly concern for his little sister is right on the money. I was also impressed with how the author handled Janice, the woman who left Luc at the altar. Janice is painted with a light, but deft hand. We know sheís the evil other woman, but sheís never given the opportunity to descend into clichť.

As I read Found: His Perfect Wife, I kept waiting for it all to fall apart. But to my amazement, each diverse plot element wove itself seamlessly into the next, right up to the touching conclusion. With its excellent characterization and intricate plotting, Found: His Perfect Wife is a delight to recommend.

--Karen Lynch

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