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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 5 March 2007
The Perfect Stranger is the third book in Anne Gracie's series about the beautiful Merridew sisters after The Perfect Kiss and the Perfect Waltz.

This book focuses on Faith Merridew who has given up everything for a man who she thought was the love of her life but instead he has destroyed her name and her dreams and left her to fend for herself in the wilds of the French countryside.

She is saved by the mysterious Waterloo veteran Nicholas Blacklock who offers to save her reputation with a marriage of convenience. But Nick isn't prepared for his new bride's spirit and love of life and despite his need to keep her at arm's length to hide his dark secrets - he soon realises that he can't fight fate, or Faith Merridew.

I really enjoyed this book. Faith is a wonderful character - spirited and brave but with enough human qualities to make her someone you can truly admire. Nicholas is a brooding war veteran who has many scars from the war but he isn't able to mask his charming and chivalrous side - especially when it comes to Faith. The man is moody yet deliciously strong - the perfect hero. Together the pair are an excellent match and you really believe their love story and root for the pair to work things out.

The story itself is also very enjoyable. It is set mainly in the French countryside which is a nice change for a regency novel and brings something extra to the story. The secondary characters are well drawn out and none are clichéd or there only to fill pages. We even have a secondary love story which is never a bad thing! The reason I did give the book four stars instead of five was that because near the end of the book the secondary story and characters did almost overtake the main story but it certainly didn't ruin the book for me.

This is part of a series of books and while it probably does stand alone I would recommend that you have read the previous Merridew books before reading this one as then you'll really get a feel for some of the secondary characters as well as knowing a lot more of Faith's history and back story.

Overall I thought this book was great and an excellent addition to the Merridew sister books. It is fun and fresh as well as touching and sweet and I really think that you will fall in love with both Faith and Nick. Give it a try.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on 15 November 2006
I have not read all Anne Gracies books as of yet but I did prefer, a perfect waltz to this novel but other than that I loved the vast difference this novel presented against the other one set solely in the london scene of the time. The places discribed and the free nature these surroundings offered the author a chance to let loose the normal reserved stuffiness of regency characters and lets the reader emote with them a little more. Faith's character was well rounded and the author showed great writing in showing the girl faith was growing into a woman and dealing with her problems in funny and endearing ways. The war was touched on of course a s Nicohlas is/was a soldier and it was used to good effect. I loved the character of Stevens almost like a father figure to Faith. Some people might not like the ending with the gypsys mysticism in it but I dare any body not to like the spirited character of Estrellita. I enjoyed this book and I'm eagerly awaiting my copy of the perfect rake and will definitley be buying the next as yet unpublished book that tells Grace's, the youngest Merridew's story.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 6 May 2007
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.

Originally published for Curled Up With A Good Book, [...] © Helen Hancox 2007
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on 28 July 2015
I enjoyed this book. The first one in the series is enjoyable, but the second is, in my opinion, heavy-handed, so I nearly didn't continue with the third book, that is to say this one. However, I did continue, and I am glad I did. It is less clunky than the second, more romantic and more imaginative. Although it is the third in a series and refers back to events in the earlier books, it could probably be read as a stand-alone story.

I am now looking forward to reading the fourth and final book, hoping that it will live up to this one.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 17 July 2007
This book in my opinion was probably the best of the series.
Faith was an excellent character, and you fall in love with her from the start. Nicholas was just brilliant, he is an ex-soldier on a mission and saves Faith from some what-be attackers. Because she has lost her honour he offers to rescue her by marrying her and sending her off to live in his home as he doesnt want to get involved with her because of his mission. Anyway as fates would have it, they fall madly in love with each other, Faith continually ignores his orders and follows him along to his mission. Now I won't spoil it and tell you what the mission is etc but the ending was excellent and I kept thinking if something bad is going to happen, I am going to be very mad lol
If you like Anne Gracie and this series of books, most definately give this a go as it was brilliant.
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on 28 June 2014
I read Winter Bride before this which was much better. The characters & emotions were there but the story didn't flow smoothly. It seemed as if some parts of the plot had been added later, in a 'oh oh I know how to get the next bit in' way. Wouldn't put me off reading another but from the Winter Bride series I think.
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on 21 June 2012
Love this series. Good plots and characters I can relate to. Adventure, romance, what more could you want, oh sexy hero. Great fun read. If you love regency romance you will love this. More please!
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on 1 February 2014
Lovely story of pain and eventual triumph, very moving. I love this series and wish it would go on forever. Anne Gracie writes with such grace and intelligence and is now on my favourites list.
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on 5 October 2011
started off great, but as the book went on it got corny and a little annoying, with all the crying, great for people who just want a love story, but it was not very believable
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on 19 May 2015
Once you pick this book up you will never put it down. The ending is so emotional I had tears running down my face. An amazing story of love and happiness.
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