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on 31 March 2003
The tenth novel in the Cynster series both lives up to the expectations built by its predecessors, and also brings along something a little different. I love the Cynster family and have enjoyed watching them match up with there mates. Here, some years after the events of ‘On a Wicked Dawn’ Simon Cynster is going to a house party attended by, amongst others, his brother-in-laws sister (i.e. no blood relation) Portia Ashford. Simon and Portia have known each other for 10 years, and have spent the time challenging each other at every turn. Unknown to the other, both of them have recently resolved to investigate the potential of marriage. The intelligent, cerebral and at the same time beautiful Portia vows to seriously consider all at the house party. Simon has already decided, the way Cynster males invariably do come to eventually, that it is time for him to find his own branch of his family – to have and to hold.
Both Simon and Portia know themselves and each other pretty well. They come to recognise the latent attraction, which bursts into passion (phew, nearly sets the pages alight!) as Simon tutors Portia in the ways of physical love, while also trying to win her over emotionally.
Portia is definitely a thinking woman. She’s always leaving the house to go off and think, or pacing the library (or drawing room, or her bedroom….) and pondering on her situation. This often slows the action down, and there’s action aplenty to be had because this is also a strong murder mystery book. The murder and resulting investigation naturally moves the story along, and I think it needed it. Portia is an interesting woman, but once she’s thought about her situation, assessed it and come to a decision – get on with it already! This is a small moan, for the main part I found her thought process to be fascinating, especially where she and Simon were thinking the same, and where they think differently. At one point Simon ruefully realises that Portia knows what drives him more than he does himself!
I wasn’t keen on was how class conscious Portia appears. Social class is often in Portia’s thoughts and although realistic for a member of the ton, I didn’t find it attractive. Nonetheless, overall this book is a great addition to the series – well written, intelligent, passionate, evocative. I’m not one for murder mysteries in general, but here Laurens has blended the two genres with great skill and capability.
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on 19 July 2004
I've read every single one of the Cynster novels and I have to say that the Perfect Lover more than provided a fitting ending to a fabulous series!!
I had to admit that after reading some of the reviews I did expect to be disappointed - as it was Ms Laurens did not let me down.
Both Simon and Portia are engaging and likeable characters and their romance manages to be both tender and sweet aswell as passionate. The book is also aided by the use of the murder mystery storyline, and some strong supporting characters. It was also nice to see a previous background character coming to the fore (Lady Osbaldestone).
Portia is indeed a bit of a thinker, but I found that this did not bother me at all, as once she has made her decision she tends to jump in with both feet. I also liked the fact that she was more than a match for Simon, both intellectually and between the sheets.
I am now eagerly awaiting "The Ideal Bride". Up until now my favourite of the series was A Secret Love, but I think The Perfect Lover comes in a definate second - enjoy!!
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VINE VOICEon 29 March 2003
I have so enjoyed all of the other Cynster books and so had really been looking forward to reading Stephanie Laurens's latest offering - which re-visits two characters from previous books (Simon and Portia). Whilst the book isn't actually bad - it's just not in the same league as her others. Just not enough character development and (dare I say it) rather too many dull sex scenes....If you haven't read any Stephanie Laurens yet - I'd suggest you buy Devils' Bride right now and don't waste your money on the hardback of this book. Similarly, if you've read the other Cyster books already - wait for the paperback!!
I'm pleased to see that Ms. Laurens has started a new set of stories - which promise to be intriguing and witty if the sneak preview at the end of A Perfect Lover is anything to go by. Hopefully a return to form!
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on 18 March 2004
This is the latest and possible last book following the love fortunes of the Cynster family. I have all the other Cynster books, and have enjoyed reading most of them immensely, often reading them again and again. Unfortunately I can't say the same about this one. The story follows Simon Frederick Cynster, and his Nemesis, Portia Ashford. Sadly for the majority of the book you are given an in-depth insight into Portia's every thought, which really slows the story down. I found it so tedious having to read through pages and pages of Portia 'in thought', I almost gave up! This really spoilt the book for me. A bit of a let down to a really good set of books.
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on 25 September 2012
I have read all of the Cynster novels and this one is one of my favourites. The characters were engaging, especially Simon, a man who comes across as entirely seductive without being affected or vain. He's strong and wholly likeable with just a hint (carefully controlled most of the time) of something darker and (let's admit it) sexier. Portia was strong and intelligent, although not quite so easily related to as she had a tendency to expect to be pandered to in the name of independence. The plot and ensemble cast were good with the catalyst being interesting if a little OTT. I highly recommend this book as a keeper and rereader.
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on 16 February 2013
An easy read of Simon Cynster and Portia Ashford, friends/adversaries since childhood and their slow discovery of love that develops. More saucy scenes and a murder ~with Simon and Portia trapping the murderer at the end all ends happily ~ just what I would expect.

I think this one is book 11 in the Cynster series, but as before you can read any of them as stand-alones ... actually though, pay attention they do weave together very nicely!
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on 25 March 2013
I'm in love with the Cynsters! I have read quite a few of these books and really enjoyed them. They all have their faults but manage to overcome them and win the girl. The love in the family embraces all those who come into their sphere. I can't wait to read the next book.
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on 10 January 2008
When I first started reading the Cynster novels they were fresh and exciting but I've found it harder and harder to read them in recent years. The Perfect Lover was in one word, tedious. I have never given up on a Stephanie Laurens book before but I did with this one. The action was so slow as to leave me almost comatose and I just found myself skipping pages just to get to the next stage in the story. Yes, Simon and Portia work as a couple and as usual with Lauren's heroines Portia is an intelligent individual but the plot was just so slow and contrived that I just had to put it down in frustration. I skipped to the end to find out if the murderer was who I thought it was (it was!) but his reasons were ridiculous! Devil's Bride, A Secret Love, Scandal's Bride and A Rake's Vow are by far the best of the series - the test being you can reread them over and over again and still get great pleasure from them. With the rest I always get a niggling sense of deja vu - that the prose I read is taken from the other (better) novels and just regurgitated.
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on 9 January 2014
This is another book from Stephanie laurens that i couldn't put down until id finished it. I've got it in paperback and i must have read it a dozen times but still come back to read it again. I've now got it in the kindle so that i can read it on my phone. Stephanie laurens has a way of drawing you into the story so that you get completely lost in the story. She has to be my favourite author and id recommend any of her books to you.
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on 21 February 2013
Simon Cynster knows now is the time for him to marry. While at house party he runs in to Portia Ashford, a woman he has know for most of his life. While Simon and Portia start to come together, a murder happens at the house that they are staying at. Now Portia and Simon are hunt for a killer and love.
"The Perfect Lover" is a Cynster that is really not that good. It did take long for the characters to hook-up and that just didn't seem right me for some reason. The sub-plot of the murder just seemed like it was done just to keep the book going. If you want to read a good Cynster novel read "Devil's Bride" because the first book in the series is the best.
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