Review: Sleepless at Midnight by Jacquie D’AlessandroFriday, July 6, 2007 2:11
What qualities do you look for in the Perfect Man? Would you mix and match features and personality traits from the men you know or would he be an ideal? The Ladies Literary Society of London decide to create the Perfect Man after reading their first book together, Frankenstein by the scandalous Mary Shelley.
The Society is lead by Sarah Moorehouse, a physician’s daughter who is thought of as plain and she’s used to it. She’s been degraded by her mother all her life for not living up to the beauty standard her sister was born with, but she’s witty, intelligent and very caring to those less fortunate than herself.
Sarah is at a house party thrown by Matthew Devenport, Marquess Langston with her fellow society members where they have their first discussion of the first book they read. Sarah hatches the idea, like in Frankenstein, to create a man, though without the science. The ladies list characteristics they want in a man and decide to make a life-sized doll with articles of clothing pilfered from the male guests at the house party.
Matthew is an honorable enough guy, if on a wild goose chase. His father made him promise a year ago, on his deathbed no less, to get married and dig up the estate to find a bucket of money buried that can save the failing estate. He wants to marry an heiress, but he’s captivated by Sarah and can’t explain why.
Sarah is assigned to get a shirt from the host, which gives her an excuse to snoop about since she thinks he’s hiding something. She saw him coming in from the gardens at night with a shovel, and when a man turns up murdered a couple of days later she’s naturally suspicious. While Sarah is “borrowing” his shirt, she witnesses him in the bath and is caught. Misunderstandings and falling in love ensues.
Most of the plotting in the first half of the book is rather cliched. There’s suspicions, seeing someone for more than their outward appearance, shared moments of similar grief for past events, and some starting of a romantic triangle that could be a problem for the hero. Sarah is very insecure about her looks, she thinks men are nincompoops because they pass her over, but she doesn’t do much with what she has to attract attention anyway because her mother has always told her she’s not a beauty.
When all the secrets are revealed and Sarah and Matthew begin working together things end up working out in the end. Which is, of course, another cliche. The romance was sweet enough, the characters had some character, but I felt like the plot and characters were following a mold more than having something different and refreshing about them.
Read this one if you’re looking for illusions to classic literature and a sweet, if generic, love story.
The ladies in London are abuzz over Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, especially Miss Sarah Moorehouse. Her imagination is fired up, so when she spies Matthew Devenport, Marquess Langston, mysteriously sneaking home in the wee hours clutching a shovel, she simply must investigate. Impelled by curiosity, the adventurous lass steals into his bedchamber—only to be caught red-handed by the impossibly handsome and totally naked nobleman.
The Marquess Langston has more important things to worry about than a group of literature-loving ladies. But Matthew’s grand plan to rescue the family from ruin could be lost when he discovers Sarah hiding behind his bedroom curtain. What is this meddlesome woman up to? And why are his desires inflamed by a chit who is too inquisitive for her own good? Well, two can play at this game . . . and when Matthew captures the beguiling Sarah in all her naked glory, the night of mischief has only just begun.