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Future Perfect, by Suzanne Brockmann  (otherwise known as a blast from the past aka out of print)

This sweet little romance is Ms Brockmann’s debut novel. Published in 1993 by the now defunct KISMET Romances, Future Perfect foreshadows many of this author’s later characterization, her great use of dialogue and spare writing style.

Here’s the back cover blurb:

Bed and Breakfast
Juliana Anderson had carved out a pleasant life running a bed and breakfast in rural Massachusetts. Dressed in Victorian garb to match the old mansion, Juliana kept the place tidy, cozy, and running like a charm. Guests were treated to an old-fashioned home away from home, and “Miss Anderson” found a few vicarious thrills in their stories of travel and romance.

Unfortunately, not all visitors were model guests. Some, like Mr. Webster Donovan, came too close for comfort. From the moment this rough, handsome stranger waltzed into her kitchen, Juliana felt as if he’d taken over her home. His crystal blue eyes seemed to see through her gowns. His long, lean physique overpowered her senses. It was impossible to maintain proper etiquette with a man like Web around.

Web Donovan was captivated by the elusive Miss Anderson. With upswept red-gold curls and a fair complexion, she was a picture-perfect lady. He had booked a six-week stay at the B&B, hoping that the change of pace would end his writer’s block. But every time he thought he heard the call of the muses, it was Miss Anderson’s voice. Her face filled his daydreams. Her image haunted him at night. What would it take to seduce a reluctant beauty?

I really like the setup for the story. Both these characters have a past that informs their present attitudes toward relationships, as well as other, present, issues they must deal with. Ms Brockmann makes the most out of these to fuel both the conflict between Web and Juliana, and its eventual resolution.

There are two secondary characters whose presence foreshadows the multiple storylines that Ms Brockmann is so good at in her Troubleshooters books. Of course, in a book just over 200 pages long, these are brief sketches more than full blown secondary plots. First, there is Liz, Juliana’s best friend, and the story behind her marriage to Sam Beckwith, well known country singer. Then there is Alicia, Juliana’s great-aunt, and the reasons for her apparent spinsterhood.

In Future Perfect there is a bit of stereotyping of the secondary characters—the loving distant relative who rescues and heals our heroine; the insightful and loyal best friend; the sympathetic and perceptive male friend; the resourceful and courageous child. However, none of these are so extreme as to turn the reader off the story.

In contrast, there is a very nice foreshadowing of what creates the final crisis between Webster and Juliana. While not the most subtle of clues, it’s done in such an offhand manner as to be easily overlooked—which of course, would be the point.

I have only two small quibbles with this book. One is that Webster’s reluctance to romantic relationships is not very convincing; of course, one could argue that that is why he falls for Juliana so quickly and relatively easily, but then it would seem a bit superfluous to make it seem like a big motivator for him. Second, even though I’m aware it was a requirement of the publishing line, I honestly can’t see any adult male—certainly not one over thirty—thinking about “making love” in reference to one-night stands.

All in all, this is a delightfully sweet love story.

8 out of 10

If you are intrigued enough, you can find used copies of Future Perfect atamazon. com here and at amazon uk here

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