Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Almost Perfect by Julie Ortolon

Maddy, Christine and Amy are thrilled that their old college suite-mate has written a bestselling book, How to Have the Perfect Life—until they realize she used them as examples of how women let fear screw up their lives. The worst part is…it’s sort of true. Together they make a pact: they each have one year to face down their fears—and maybe show Miss Perfect a thing or two!

A Free Spirit

Maddy was always the artistic one of the group, alive with color and mischief from her saucy red curls to her vintage hippie skirts. Her challenge, the friends decide, is to get her artwork accepted at a gallery. A job as arts director at a summer camp near Santa Fe—with its multitude of galleries—seems like a start in the right direction.

A Reformed Bad Boy

There’s just one catch: The camp is run by Maddy’s high school flame, Joe, whose heart she broke—okay, smashed—and his anger towards Maddy hasn’t cooled one bit. But neither has their attraction.

A Perfect Match?

Old desires burn hotter than ever as Joe makes it clear there's only one way back to his heart: She has to get serious about her art. But will falling in love help or hinder Maddy as she struggles to meet her challenge?

This is the first Julie Ortolon book I have read, but I have had her on my TBR list for a while. When the postman came to visit to day he bought the third book in the trilogy, Too Perfect, with him so I figured that it was time to actually read the first book in the series to see if I actually liked it or not. Bit late once you have already paid for all three book, but never mind!

And did I like it? Well, yes I did. It was a lot of fun, and I am looking forward to reading more about the three college friends.
Joe and Maddy were hot and heavy in high school, so much so that Joe asked her to marry him. Being 17 years old, and just having received a coveted scholarship to allow her to study art at University, Maddy said no and went off to college. Joe, who was already in the Army, threw himself into his career, where he had stayed until he was shot in the knee whilst serving in Afghanistan. Having been discharged for medical reasons, he was now helping his adopted mother run a summer camp for girls.

In the meantime, Maddy had graduated from college, met and married her husband Justin and then nursed him through cancer. Now that he has been dead for two years it is time for her to get on with her life.

As soon as Maddy receives the invitation from Joe's adoptive mother to come and work at the camp for the summer she knows that it is going to cause problems, but gradually she is talked around, mainly by the thought of being able to spend a lot of time doing her art with an aim to getting shown in a gallery. Joe's mother, Mama Fraser is probably the one big problem that I had with this book. I really don't like it when there is a third party who just KNOWS even before the romance begins that the couple are perfect for each other, no matter what happens.

Joe and Maddy were both likeable enough, with Joe just being alpha enough, but prone to fits of over sensitivity, whilst Maddy was so busy trying to walk on egg shells a lot of the time, but for the right reason. It was nice to see them as they tried to deal with both the past and the present, with an eye on the future.

One of the main thrusts with this book was also about the strength of the relationship between the three girlfriends, and whilst this was good, there were times that there was just a little too much analysis going on between the three of them, about..well everything. Or maybe it is because I don't really have those kind of girlfriends that I speak to three times a day, or email constantly.

Overall, my first trip into Ortolon books was quite enjoyable. I will definitely be reading the next books in the series...eventually!

Rating 4/5


  1. I've always enjoyed Julie Ortolon and I really enjoyed this one too - one of the better reads of 2005. I also quite liked the second one too. Can't say the same for the third one though. I barely made it to the end of that one.

  2. I am about halfway through the second one at the moment, and at this point in time I like it better than the first one. It is still early days though!!



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