The Perfect Wife is a reissue
originally published in 1996 but fortunately not feeling outdated, as some books written in the
Nineties can. Sabrina Winfield is a widow, a Marchioness and a calm, well-bred woman whose daughter has just become engaged to the son of the Earl of Wyldewood. However, Sabrina is worried
- her money has all but gone, and she doesn't have enough for a decent dowry for her daughter, Belinda. When she finds a treasure map to some gold that Napoleon hid in Egypt, she decides to find the treasure to turn
around her own fortune.
Belinda, worried about her mother, asks her fiancé, Erick, to do something about it; he asks his father, Nicholas, the Earl of Wyldewood, to speak to Sabrina. Nicholas found Sabrina a fascinating woman when he met her at a ball previously and so goes to talk to her. Rather unexpectedly, he finds himself accompanying Sabrina to Egypt, not knowing the real reason she is making the journey but having decided he wants her as his wife.
Their journey to and within Egypt doesn't go quite as planned, with various people in hot pursuit, a wedding, jealousy, kidnapping and more. Sabrina realizes that Nicholas is the man who worked for the government in trying to stop a gang of smugglers led by a woman ten years before - and she was that woman. Sabrina and Nicholas both have to come to terms with each other, their histories, and their different needs.
This is an enjoyable read, particularly as most of the events take place on a boat traveling to Egypt rather than
at balls and soirées in London. Sabrina and Nicholas are both good characters, although Sabrina's daughter, Belinda,
is rather annoying. A minor plot of three men from London following Sabrina is spurious and all wraps up a bit quickly, but the overall story, of Sabrina finally flowering into the person and personality she would have been were it not for events in her youth,