Title: The Perfect Partner
Author: Ursula LeCoeur
Genre: Historical Romance
The Perfect Partner by Ursula LeCoeur is described as a Historical Romance, but it also reads as a thriller, which will make it popular among those who like that genre. The first thing to know about The Perfect Partner is that the romantic aspect has a love triangle, which always seems to complicate matters.
The love triangle of The Perfect Partner is occupied by Vespasian, Carine, and Suzette. Vespasian sits at the crux of the triangle as he chases after Suzette and is chased after by Carine. The book also incorporates some paranormal elements when Vespasian visits a voodoo priestess for a love potion.
The danger with a love potion is that you can never be quite sure who might accidentally consume it. When consumed by the wrong person, things can certainly go awry, and in The Perfect Partner they do. This leads to a complicated plotline that drives forward the romantic aspects of The Perfect Partner.
The book narration shifts between Vespasian’s and Carine’s perspectives. Vespasian is a wealthy playboy, who enjoys drinking and gambling. His love interest, Suzette, is a widow who does not seem to entirely return his affections. Carine works at a premier newspaper in New Orleans. She writes a successful advice column and things are going along just fine until Vespasian is brought in to assist her. To add to the love triangle, in another classic romance trope, Carine and Vespasian are initially at odds.
Meanwhile, a fourth character in the book, Giselle, has an equally interesting plotline that further brings in the elements of suspense, intrigue, and mystery that would be expected in a thriller. The two plots are brought together by Carine and Vespasian’s work at the newspaper. Giselle seeks their help as she thinks she is being poisoned, and they must work together to assist her.
At first glance, the characters of The Perfect Partner could read like generic tropes, but LeCouer manages to make both Carine and Vespasian more complex. While Vespasian is the playboy, Carine is presented as a professional woman, and as a dedicated writer, who has had her attempts at success thwarted. Yet through the course of the book, both are shown to have unique personalities and varied interests.
While the two plots of The Perfect Partner are both interesting, and they work well together, it is a lot in one book and could seem like a bit too much for the casual reader who enjoys a purer romance, thriller, or mystery. Yet, LeCouer does well in bringing these genres together into one well-composed, though admittedly complicated, story. The author also provides a high-level of historical accuracy with the book being set in 1887 New Orleans. There are just a few historical anachronisms.
Given the integration of three to four genres (romance, thriller, and mystery, with a few paranormal components thrown in), this book offers elements that might appeal to a wide variety of audiences that want to take on something a bit more complex. Those who enjoy similar books from authors Candace Camp, Amanda Quick, or Mary Jo Putney will all likely enjoy The Perfect Partner.
The Perfect Partner is a complicated and complex book that blends together the popular genres of romance, thriller, mystery, and paranormal. Set in historical New Orleans, it offers plenty of charm, Southern and otherwise. The Perfect Partner will be a perfect partner for an engaging read.
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