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The Perfect Stranger [Mass Market Paperback]

Anne Gracie

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Book Description

June 6 2006 Merridew Series

They vow to love, honor, cherish...

With her signature spirit, Faith Merridew has left everything she’s ever known for the man she thought was the love of her life. Instead he leaves her name—and dreams—in the dust. That is, until she crosses paths with Nicholas Blacklock, a Waterloo veteran, who offers to save her reputation with a marriage of convenience.

...and then get to know one other.

A hardened soldier, Nick hides a deadly secret—and tries to keep Faith at arm’s length. But even though Nick can command legions of men with a word, his orders go sweetly ignored by his convenient bride. And as they come to know one another more deeply, she brings out in him things he thought dead: gentleness, laughter…and love…


Frequently Bought Together

The Perfect Stranger + The Perfect Kiss + The Perfect Rake
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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Berkley (June 6 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0425210529
  • ISBN-13: 978-0425210529
  • Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 10.6 x 17 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 159 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #310,307 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

“For fabulous Regency flavor, witty and addictive, you can’t go past Anne Gracie.”
—Stephanie Laurens, New York Times bestselling author

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.1 out of 5 stars  27 reviews
42 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars another wonderfully satisfying installment June 9 2006
By tregatt - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Once again Anne Gracie delivers! This third installment, "The Perfect Stranger," in the Merridew sisters series was a deeply satisfying read, proving to be as absorbing and as compelling as the other two books in the series ("The Perfect Rake" & "The Perfect Waltz"). However, readers used to swifter paced and more complex fare should be forewarned: while "The Perfect Stranger" truly was a wonderful read, and while the storyline was refreshingly different from the other two books in the series, the plot for "The Perfect Stranger" was rather straightforward one, with few frills and fancies.

Faith Merridew thought that she had found her soul-mate and love of her life when she met talented violinist, Felix Vladimir Rimavska and so eloped with the man to France in spite of her very proper upbringing. Unfortunately for Faith. she discovers too late that Felix had played her false, as he was already married and had actually courted and run off with her in order to win a bet. Her pride and good name in tatters, Faith leaves the cad and tries to return to England and her family. But it is a rather dangerous thing for a young, beautiful woman to travel alone with no escort and little money, and Faith soon finds herself destitute and in very dire straits indeed. And that's when Faith's luck suddenly changes for the better. Rescued from a gang of louts by Nicholas Blacklock (a veteran of the Peninsula Wars), Nicholas offers to rescue Faith's reputation by marrying her. Nicholas assures Faith that it will be a marriage of convenience, and has plans to send her back to England to live with his mother. But Faith has no intention of going quietly back to England. She senses that Nicholas is on a grave mission, and she's determined to prove her worth to him by sticking it out at his side. And already halfway in love with him, she's determined to win his love and approval as well....

There is much to recommend about "The Perfect Stranger" -- like how the author allows for Faith's self assurance to grow with each succeeding chapter, and how she showcases the love blossoms between the Faith and Nicholas (even though Nicholas refuses to admit his feelings for his wife for much of the book). In "The Perfect Stranger," Annie Gracie has written a novel about how two emotionally scarred people find each other and so discover a love they had quite given up on ever finding. And this makes for some rather poignant and satisfying reading. However, while the book could be characterised as an "adventure" romance novel, not very much happens adventure-wise -- there are no spies or murderers, etc for Nicholas to hunt or the group to run away from, nor are Nicholas and his friends on a revenge mission either. So that in spite of its on-the-road motif, "The Perfect Stranger" is essentially a quiet romance novel about the blossoming love. All in all, "The Perfect Stranger" was a very satisfying, romantic and moving love story, well worth the cover price, and its 5 star rating.
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Hmmmmm - not as good as the first 2 stories in the series Aug. 9 2006
By Susan Smith - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I'm not sure what to write about The Perfect Stranger and am a little at a loss about how to give it a fair star rating. I've decided on 3 stars, having initially given it 2. This is a road, cabin and "big secret" story. These are three things that almost inevitably annoy me in romantic fiction - admittedly a matter of personal taste. And, I have to say I thought Anne Gracie was running out of steam in this, the third instalment of stories about the Merridew sisters. Frankly, the fact that Faith Merridew had eloped and had a bigamous marriage and then was wandering alone on the beaches of northern France was a little to far-fetched for me - particularly as the previous books were not so unrealistic.

However, finally (for the first half of the book annoyed me - I nearly put it aside unfinished) the second half of the story started to pick up pace with the introduction of a gypsy (or perhaps Basque) character and her mysterious grandmother. At first I got even more annoyed because the story took on some rather fey and "magical" elements - something else that usually is a turn-off for me.

It was the last couple of chapters that lifted this book from 2 to 3 stars. The credulous but extremely emotional solution to the hero's problems (at last revealed) were movingly portrayed and even brought a tear to my eye.

I hope that if Anne Gracie is continuing the Merridew saga that she gets re-energised; otherwise, I think it is best left alone and she moves on to something else. As always, she writes extremely well but I did not think this story was up to the standards of the first two in the series.
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Romance that keeps you turning the pages!! June 8 2006
By BB - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I've been waiting for this third installment of the Merridew sister's saga and it did not disappoint. It's nice to have read the two previous books but it stands alone very well.We meet Faith Merridew on a French beach. She's being persued by a scruffy mini mob of lustful pigs thinking she's a skittish prostitute. She runs right into the arms of our hero Nicholas Blacklock, a waterloo veteran who's suffering mental and physical remnants of war. He protects her and introduces her to his companions. A rough Scot and his faithful retainer. They're on a mysterious journey back to the battlefields where all was lost.

This is essentially a marriage of convience/ road romance with a fresh twist. I appreciated that we were spared all the usual London Season hoop-la. Interesting secondary characters and great sexual tension makes this an outstanding read.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 3 1/2 - 4 stars...sweet, uplifting tale of unexpected love...with a touch of mysticism June 24 2006
By statengirl - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
From the shards of shattered dreams, springs the sweet pairing of two tenderhearted souls. The story begins in France when "perfect stranger" Nicholas Blacklock rescues a tattered and desperate Faith Merridew from imminent gang rape. Faith has been alone on the road for days, having fled her musician "husband" of one month when she discovers he is already married. Faith eloped from England with this man, and now she is stranded in a foreign country, friendless, and recently robbed of her belongings. Moreover, she is a ruined woman who no decent man will want to marry. The next thing we know, Nick proposes that he marry Faith - albeit in name only - so that she can reclaim her reputation. She will then return alone to England, and he will continue on to Spain on a secret mission. Faith is reluctant to wed someone she has known for only a day. However, he is well-bred, affluent, a former army officer, and seems kind. And her circumstances are dire, so she agrees, and they wed the next day. Needless to say, "in name only" is sorely tested and fails miserably when Faith persuades Nick to let her join him. Yet he refuses to speak of love and is clearly distressed about something in the future. Faith desperately wants to help Nick, and wants to build a true marriage and have his child. Can true love triumph for this troubled twosome?

This was an emotional and gratifying read. Both leads were sympathetic and likeable, and I immediately wanted things to work out for them. I got caught up in guessing Nick's "big secret" and how it might be resolved. And I liked the mystical component and how it tied in with the rest of the story. The love scenes were a little simple and not that sensual, and a few more background details on Faith would have been helpful to those readers unfamiliar with the Merridew sisters' series. Still, the book had a good pace, moving dialogue and good cast of characters. I even enjoyed the quotes that begin each chapter. Nicely done.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An enjoyable romance with a different setting May 6 2007
By Helen Hancox - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Anne Gracie's Regency romances are definitely a notch above the average. Her "Perfect" series follows five sisters, all named after virtues (Prudence, Hope, Faith etc) as they find love. Although a series it's not necessary to read the books in order to enjoy any of the individual stories - they work fine as standalone books, this one particularly.

"The Perfect Stranger" focuses on Faith Merridew, twin sister of Hope, whose life at the outset of the book is a complete disaster. She has been tricked by a violinist into a sham marriage and has escaped him, only to find herself a social outcast, sleeping on the beach and in danger from various men. When chased by some men bent on rape she finds herself rescued by Nicholas Blacklock, a former soldier. All this happens right at the beginning of the book and it's a great and lively start to what becomes an engaging tale. Nick looks after Faith and soon offers her marriage to help her socially and to quieten his mother who has been trying to get him to marry for years. However Faith, once she feels a little more in control of her life, isn't willing to just wave goodbye to Nicholas as he journeys to Spain and Portugal on a mystery personal mission - she decides to travel along with him, hoping to turn their marriage into one more than name only.

Faith is a feisty heroine, a woman who is able to overcome incredible challenges - perhaps she's even too good to be true. Nicholas is the traditional tall dark and handsome but troubled hero that Faith wants to understand and help. The reader knows all along that there's something more going on in Nick's life - although most of the point of view of the story is Faith's we also occasionally dip into Nick's view. We also learn a little more about Nick's two companions, including the misogynistic Scotsman Mac, and there is even a side romance involving one of these characters.

The enjoyment in this story is that of the way in which Nick and Faith come to know each other and particularly in the way Faith manages to overcome her past (not particularly dwelt on in the story, we learn more of this in Prudence's story, "The Perfect Rake") and learn to be a suitable wife for a soldier. Of course there's a shock in this story which is trailed from fairly early on, and its resolution in some ways was slightly unsatisfying for me, but overall it was a very enjoyable story with a very different setting than usual - no balls, country houses and duels in this story, instead we read of travelling by foot and horse through France to Portugal with our characters sleeping on beaches and in open ground, suffering injuries and getting sunburned.

This is a very different story than Anne Gracie's other "Perfect" series to date, mainly in terms of the setting. The love story is sweet and not beset by the usually obligatory Big Misunderstanding or mutual hatred - our characters have other things going on to take their attention and that makes for a slightly different, but nonetheless enjoyable, read.

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