The third book in Loretta Chase's Carsington Brothers series, Lord Perfect, is just not as interesting as the first two. In some ways this isn't a surprise, because keeping the series at that high a level would be remarkably difficult, but it's still a bit of a disappointment.
Benedict Carsington is the oldest and a respected politician with a strong social conscience. Not a breath of scandal has ever attached to his name, and all his actions are conducted according to a rigid set of rules that he uses to impose order on a chaotic world. One of his many responsibilities is the education of his thirteen-year-old nephew by marriage, Peregrine.
Bathsheba Wingate comes from a disreputable branch of an aristocratic family and became infamous when her husband's family disowned him upon their marriage. Now widowed, she supports her twelve-year-old daughter Olivia by giving drawing lessons. Olivia, having inherited some of the talents and inclinations of her maternal ancestors, targets Peregrine as a potential drawing student . . . and then tries to whack him in the head when he condescends to her.
Sparks, predictably, fly, resulting in the kids going on a (platonic) Quest together and the adults chasing after. And there are the two principal problems of the book. First, Olivia and Peregrine steal the book shamelessly. Second, the stakes boil down to whether the adults will find the kids before something bad happens to them—not that I believed they were ever in real danger, because these are not those kind of books—and whether scandal can be avoided or dealt with—which I don't care very much about, certainly not compared to the canal problem or Egyptology adventures of the first two books.
Bathsheba and Benedict are perfectly nice people, and I would be surprised if Chase could write a book that didn't have a good deal of charm; but I concur with those who said this book was kind of boring.
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