Katie Bainbridge's lout of a fiancée died eighteen years ago just before they were to be married. Unfortunately, he had seduced Katie, and she found herself pregnant with his child. She was immediately disowned by her father, and when she refused to give up the child, was sent to live in the country under the assumed name of Katie Cole to avoid disgrace. She has lived a lie all these years with everyone in the small town where she lives thinking that she is a widow whose husband was a was military hero. Katie has brought up her daughter, Susannah, in peace, but also in near poverty, raising chickens and giving music lessons to make ends meet. Now Susannah has become engaged to a peer whose uncle is suspicious of the intentions of this poor country girl and her mother.
Tanyon Welleforde, Viscount Forde, has been his nephew's guardian since his brother's death many years before. Having endured a disastrous first marriage himself, Forde is not a fan of the institution, and he also feels it is his duty to protect the family name and his nephew from potential gold diggers. He immediately travels to Katie and Susannah's home to try to glean more information about them, but Katie is anything but forthcoming. It will take a lot of determination on Forde's part to get to the truth, and in the process he finds himself falling for the lovely "widow." If Forde does unearth Katie's lies though, it could prove disastrous for everyone involved.
A Perfect Fit was very much a traditional Regency romance, probably in a similar vein as Georgette Heyer (though I admit that I have yet to read any of her books). The story had classic Regency plotting and lots of authentic words and phrases which gives the reader the feel of actually being in the Regency period. In addition, although it had some mild sexual tension, it was completely non-explicit, making it suitable for both younger and more sensitive romance readers.
For a short story, I thought the characters were nicely developed. My only complaint would be that there were a few too many of them, and I found myself occasionally loosing track of who was who. Forde and Katie were both very likable, as were nearly all of the characters in the story, although I can't say that I found myself connecting on a deep emotional level with anyone. In my opinion, there were only a couple of exceptions in this otherwise "nice" cast, with one being Katie's daughter, Susannah, who I thought acted rather spoiled and ungracious, but she did mature a bit by the end. The other was Susannah's future mother-in-law who was a rather prim and snobbish member of the ton, but I believe was meant to be an extreme caricature, who added some mild comic relief.
The romance was very sweet, but I felt that the ending was a bit rushed. Throughout most of the story, Forde and Katie were sizing each other up and dealing with wedding woes and eccentric relatives. I didn't really feel that it left enough time for them to believably fall in love. All of that happened in a few paragraphs at the end. Overall though, I found A Perfect Fit to be a pleasant, if predictable, read that was not a bad way to spend a few hours of my time. This novella was my first story by Barbara Metzger, but I found it enjoyable enough to leave me open to trying more of her works in the future. A Perfect Fit can be found in The True Love Wedding Dress anthology.
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