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The Perfect Mistress (Sinful Family Secrets #1)

3.59  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,433 Ratings  ·  155 Reviews
Let #1 New York Times bestselling author Victoria Alexander sweep you away with her dazzling new romance, in which one otherwise proper lady discovers that passion is her legacy. . .

Widowed Julia, Lady Winterset, has inherited a book--a very shocking book--that every gentleman in London seems to want. For a charismatic businessman, it's a chance to build an empire. For a
ebook, 256 pages
Published February 1st 2011 by Zebra (first published January 1st 2011)
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(showing 1-30 of 2,628)
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Michelle, the Bookshelf Stalker  Queen of the Undead
Disclaimer- I am a historical romance virgin. I've read only a few and thus, I have only a few to compare this book to. End of silly disclaimer.

I liked this book. I didn't love it and frankly, I became bored with all the witty banter back and forth between the two main characters- Julia and Harrison. It was cute for the first 3 or 4 chapters, but after that I wanted them to shut up and get their clothes off already. In addition, the plot was lost in all the silly banter back and forth and was ea
Widowed Lady Julia Winterset is in posession of her late great-grandmother’s memoir. She’s looking for a publisher who’ll publish it. She’s in desperate need of funds and that’s how she meets the hero, Harrison Landingham, Lord Mountdale. He’s trying to buy the memoir from her because it contains scandalous information about his father.

That pretty much sums up the whole story. I’m sorry to say I didn’t like this novel at all. I found it to be very tedious and long-winded. I felt indifferent tow
Blodeuedd Finland
When I am besieged by dnfs, the only thing to do is to read a HR. And so I did, and I enjoyed it.

Julia is a widow in need of money. She is sweet and proper. And then she gets the memoir of her notorious great grandmother. A woman of many affairs.

Harrison is a proper gentleman, and if I called Julia proper then she is wild next to this one. He is rather stiff and wants to find a wife by looking at a list of proper things a wife should be. Oh I like the proper ones, they always loose their heads.
Jul 02, 2015 Sharyn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I totally enjoyed this book and can't wait to find the others in the series. The Hero is funny although he doesn't mean to be, he keeps coming up with brilliant plans that never work out! The heroine is a young widow in dire financial straits who is going to sell her great grandmothers memoirs, "The Perfect Mistress" of the title. Every character was w3ell thought out and the story was actually pretty unique as far as romance novels go, with discussions of the state of publishing, ghosts, 3 clev ...more
Yakety Yak...don't Talk Back!!

The Perfect Mistress, by Victoria Alexander, is what appears to be the first in a series of books about three friends, Julia, Portia, and Veronica. All widows (although, I couldn't find anything confirming my assumption at her website). This is the story of Julia and Harrison and it's full of Victoria Alexander's trademark humor... and I do mean full of! Now, how you feel about the abundance of said humor may determine whether you like the book or not.

C-a-u-s-e, let
Jan 29, 2011 Nath rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2011, historical
2.5/5 (C-)

The biggest problem with this book was the H/H and their romance. To put it plainly: the characters were boring ^_^; Harrison was too pompous and stuffy. In this kind of storyline, you expect the hero to change, that his dynamics with the heroine will bring out the more boyish or relaxed side of him... Open his eyes to his life and what it could be and usually, this is all done through fun stuff. However, it wasn't the case in The Perfect Mistress. There were many mentions about how Ha
Amy Lignor
Sep 16, 2011 Amy Lignor rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This #1 New York Times Bestselling author has proven many a time that her amazing intelligence and wonderful wit appeals to millions and millions of readers. This newest offering is no exception. With the thousands upon thousands of romance, historical, and British novels, Ms. Alexander is still the only writer that can weave all the genres together to form a perfect literary quilt.

In this new novel we're introduced first to Lady Hermione Middlebury, who is penning her memoirs in order to leave
Apr 06, 2011 Joelle rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Harrison Landingham, the Earl of Mountdale, was making plans. He is ready to settle down and fulfill his obligations to his family and his title by marrying a woman suitable to his station and wants heirs.He has a list of qualifications in a wife She would be well-bred and of impeccable family background.She would have a pleasing appearance and look well on his arm at social functions.She must be a perfect hostess and social affairs .She would make sure his household was well run and his meals w ...more
Aug 28, 2012 Virginia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Laugh out loud funny! I was not expecting the characters to be so likable (not to mention funny!). I actually did laugh out loud on several occasions. Absurd,(I mean, there are ghosts!), fun, and thoroughly enjoyable. It was believable to watch these two characters fall in love and for once, both of these people had brains and actually used them!
Cynthia Thomason
Oct 15, 2012 Cynthia Thomason rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a fun read. The very proper hero had major adjustments to make with the heroine and her best friend, but his change was gradual, believable and delightful. Conflict was little light, certainly not edge of seat, but the story kept my interest and I would recommend it.
Diane Peterson
In spite of a slow beginning I really enjoyed this latest book from Victoria Alexander. Again, her clever characters and their witty dialogue bring laugh-out-loud humor to this story. Julia and Harrison were a fun couple and "the scene" was very well done.
Jan 13, 2012 Cynthia marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
With thanks to Seductive Musings and Joan Swan!
Paranormal Romance
Widowed and left in dire financial straits, the heroine plans to publish the memoirs of her ancestor in a bid to make some money. The hero, who's own father is mentioned in the diary as one of the woman's sexual conquests, vows to stop the thing from being published. The hero has always been a stiff, law abiding man who's oppression with being the picture of a gentleman but from the first instant he meets the heroine he is immediately changed. In her presence he is passionate. First it's with an ...more
An Odd1
Nov 26, 2015 An Odd1 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: xrate
Alexander is an addicting kind of author. I won't remember names. I will remember smiling, whiling hours away amongst chatty Regency byplay. And find more books by Alexander.

Pages excerpt confusingly mid-scandal from great-grandma's Memoirs offered for sale by widowed Lady Julia Winterset 27 "no money" p 183. Ghost, Lady Hermione Middlebury, advises Julia toward more passion. Harrison, Lord Mountdale, bribes writer Ellsworth pretend interest, then jealous, fails to discourage the poet. Publisher
May 23, 2011 Judy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The young widow, Julia Winterset, had just come into her great grandmothers memoirs. And to say they were scandalous would be a kind word. After Hermione's husband had passed when she was 24 she decided to take life in her own hands and enjoy it. She had a daughter and son who became estranged to her but she had many grand adventures in her life.

Julia had not known her Grandmother Eleanor even existed until her parents were killed six years before. She took over providing for her grandmother who
Mar 20, 2011 Jennie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The start of what I suspect is a new series for Ms. Alexander, this was a fun read involving the lives of several generations of our heroine, Julia Winterset's family. Julia, a young widow, is struggling financially after the unexpected death of her husband. She supports not only herself, but her grandmother's household in the country...a grandmother Julia only found out existed after her parents died. Julia's plans to recover financially involve publishing her great-grandmother's memoirs...tile ...more
Jan 03, 2011 Bookaholics rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Perfect Mistress by Victoria Alexander
Historical Romance – January 25th, 2011
4 stars

The Perfect Mistress tells the story of Lady Julia Winterset. After the death of her husband, Julia is left in desperate financial straights. This compels her to try and secure a future for herself by selling the inheritance left to her by her great grandmother. The Perfect Mistress is a set of personal memoirs of her great grandmother Lady Hermione Middlebury. Julia plans have them published. But they ar
A Voracious Reader (a.k.a. Carol)
Lady Julia Winterset is a widow whose financial security is dwindling and she needs to get some income pretty quickly. Her salvation, she hopes, is the inheritance of a memoir or manuscript written by her great-grandmother, Lady Hermione Middlebury, who wrote down explicit details of what she calls her adventures (affairs) after she was widowed at the age of 24. Her adventures are quite scandalous, but since she’s been dead for more than 30 years Julia doesn’t think anyone in the memoir is likel ...more
Sep 13, 2011 Marcie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book made laugh out loud several times with the intriguing female characters. It is not of the same quality of writing as some of my other 4-star books, but it is a fun, light romance novel after all and not being considered part of the modern literary cannon. There is not a lot of explicitness early on in the book but quite a bit of witty bantering, comedic situations between characters, and a generally fun plot device in the haunting of a great-granddaughter by her great-grandmother (a no ...more
Rhonda Eason
I thought this book was awful. I knew the ending (the disposition of the memoirs and how her money issue would be resolved) from about the second or third chapter. What bothered me the most was the repetition of phrasing. Here are some words/phrases that are heavily repeated: she sniffed, she huffed, long-suffering sigh, brows pulled together, brows furrowed, face became awashed with ____(insert noun. These descriptions are repeated no less than fifteen times each and with an e-book it's easy to ...more
Rose May
Jun 19, 2011 Rose May rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: b-minus
Note: This review, and all my reviews, comes from my blog - Romantic Rose's Bookshelf (

Alexander’s singular wit and charm cannot be missed, especially in her characters. All of the characters – both our main couple (Julia and Harrison) and their friends and family – possessed extraordinary sarcastic wits. It made for some of the most amusing dialogue I’ve read in a very long time (although Bewitching by Jill Barnett is another book with the same sarcastic h
Vanessa theJeepDiva
Some of my New Years resolutions involved books. Books are an enormous part of my life. I decided to read a new (for me) genre and a new (for me) author each month. I kicked off the New Year with both in one book.
Julia, Veronica and Portia are three close friends who all happen to be widows at a young age, living in late 1800 England. Julia’s husband left her with many financial worries. Three years after his death she has decided to sell her great-grandmother’s memoirs to keep a roof over her
Feb 10, 2011 April rated it it was amazing
THE PERFECT MISTRESS by Victoria Alexander is a delightful,engaging historical romance with paranormal aspects set in 1885 London,England.It is well written with depth,details,turns and twists.It has romance, love,ghosts,witty banter,sweet sensuality,a
sassy romp,misunderstanding,trust,scandal from the past waiting to come to light,secrets,grand adventures,and finding true love.This is the story of "The Perfect Mistress: The Memoirs of Lady Hermione Middlebury.The heroine, Lady Julia Winterset,is
Amanda The Book Slayer
This is a book about a book! I know it sounds funny, but it worked out okay. Julia Winterset is a widow and her late husbands family cut her off from any financial help. She is forced to sell her Great Grandmother's memoirs, which she dubbed 'The Perfect Mistress.' Not everyone is excited to read about them because they don't want their family names dragged through scandals, no matter how old.

Recommend: If you are looking for an in between book and aren't too picky try this Historical Romance.

Sep 10, 2011 Kari rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook, 2011
ulia is a widow who is financially strapped, having been cut off from her dead husband's allowance. She decides to sell her great-grandmother's memoirs to make money. This sets off an amusing string of events that has three suitors trying to woo her in order to get the book. I have not had the pleasure of reading anything by Ms. Alexander before, so I was pleasantly surprised with her latest. I liked Julia and Harrison. Thought they had great chemistry together. Harrison was such an amusing char ...more
Listened to The Perfect Mistress by Victoria Alexander. Widowed Julia, Lady Winterset, inherited a shocking book that every gentleman in London wants. For a charismatic businessman, it could be a chance to build an empire. For a dashing novelist, it could guarantee fame. But to a certain proud, domineering earl, it means everything? Harrison Landingham, Earl of Mountdale, cannot let the obstinate Julia release her shameless memoir, as it would ruin his family's name. The only way to stop her may ...more
Dec 04, 2011 Becky rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
(3.5, but I'll round up since the good parts are more memorable than the questionable ones - and I liked the ending.)

As other reviewers have noted, this is not a book that prides itself on historical accuracy. There are more than a few instances where (especially female) characters say or do things that have a distinct 21st century flavor. For the most part, though, they were a temporary distraction. The story itself was cute, and the dialogue between Julia and Harrison was fun to read. The "big
Ksb Nh
Jun 16, 2015 Ksb Nh rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
An entertaining light read. My usual genre is mysteries but after a few heavy ones, Alexander gives me a break. Characters are not well-developed - to be expected in this genre? Author's formula seems to use strong intelligent women, not ditsy characters, and to include one really romantic/sexy scene. Very little foul language, also a plus. I'll keep reading her books.
Jul 27, 2014 Meg rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 stars. This was actually the 1st in a trilogy - I read #2 and 3 first. Doesn't really matter, although I prefer to read things in order. Perfectly fun read. I enjoyed this series - 3 young widows who become friends. Partly because the characters are a little older (late 20s to early 30s), a little wiser (and wittier), and are freed from some societal constrictions, but also just because the series was quite a romp.
I was not loving this book but it did grow on me a bit by the end. I was a bit disturbed by the idea of read the rather sexy memoirs of your great-grandmother. My great-grandmother is still alive at 97 and I definitely do not want to know about her scandalous side. Also, our hero is way to stodgy in the beginning, which would have been okay, but I felt like his shift to a somewhat more flexible and fun personality was too abrupt. I liked the independence of the heroine, although I also felt that ...more
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Sinopsis en Español // Synopsis in Spanish 1 1 Mar 09, 2015 08:00AM  
  • The Capture of the Earl of Glencrae (Cynster, #18; The Cynster Sisters Trilogy, #3)
  • When a Duke Says I Do (Lords and Ladies, #1)
  • The Secret Mistress (Mistress Trilogy #3)
  • One Touch of Scandal (Fraternitas Aureae Crucis, #1)
  • One Night Scandal (The Spinster Club, #5)
  • By His Majesty's Grace (The Three Graces, #1)
  • It's Always Been You (York Family, #2)
  • A Rake's Guide to Seduction (Reece Family Trilogy, #3)
  • A Season of Seduction (James Family, #3)
  • An Affair Without End (Willowmere, #3)
  • A Most Sinful Proposal (The Husband Hunters Club, #2)
  • Dangerous in Diamonds (The Rarest Blooms, #4)
  • Scandal of the Year (Abandoned at the Altar, #2)
  • The Wedding Game (Matchmaker Duncan Sisters, #3)
  • Mad About the Earl (Ministry of Marriage, #2)
  • Dukes to the Left of Me, Princes to the Right (Impossible Bachelors, #2)
Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name. See this thread for more information.

New York Times bestselling author Victoria Alexander was an award winning television reporter until she discovered fiction was much more fun than real life. She turned to writing full time and is still shocked it worked out.

Since the publication of her first book in 1995,
More about Victoria Alexander...

Other Books in the Series

Sinful Family Secrets (3 books)
  • His Mistress by Christmas (Sinful Family Secrets, #2)
  • My Wicked Little Lies (Sinful Family Secrets, #3)

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