PERFECT PARTNERS
Jayne Ann Krentz

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Pocket Books, 1992
Reviewed by Joy Calderwood

Everything is going Joel Blackstone’s way at Thornquist Gear, until the owner, old Charlie Thornquist, surprises everyone by dying. Breaking his promise to sell the business to Joel, Charlie has left the sporting goods business to his great-niece Letty, a 29-year-old librarian. To Joel’s horror, Letty thinks Thornquist Gear will be a great way to revitalize her life. What’s more, she thinks Joel, the CEO who built the corporation from the ground up, is the perfect person to teach her how to run it.

When Charlie died Joel was on the verge of his ultimate revenge against Victor Copeland, the man who ran him out of his home town fifteen years ago. Instead, he finds himself running herd on an innocent, interfering, curious girl who actually thinks she is going to control his corporation. No matter that using Thornquist Gear to pay back Copeland is the purest justice, that his vengeance is all in the name of good business, somehow he doesn’t want Letty to know about it.

At first Letty thinks Thornquist Gear is great fun. No more unruly library users, no more academic social events, no more Philip Dixon urging Letty to get counseling for frigidity before they get married. Around Joel, Letty doesn’t feel frigid, not at all. But when Joel's revenge threatens his home town, and Letty has to defend Echo Cove against her own corporation, her feelings for Joel cannot be allowed to control her business decisions.

In Letty, author Jayne Ann Krentz has created another in a long line of delightful businesswoman heroines. Letty bounces through the pages as blithely as her tumbled, unruly hair. It’s a good thing we have this tone to draw us into the beginning of PERFECT PARTNERS, because once Joel discovers his revenge isn’t going as planned, his frustrated rage dominates the story for quite some time. Fortunately Krentz loves her characters and wants them to be happy. As the story goes on, person after person finds the way to his or her fulfillment.

Reading PERFECT PARTNERS, we are forcibly reminded that the romance genre’s fashion in men has changed dramatically in just the last ten years. The alpha male, who once seduced romance readers with his gruff, dominant attitude toward the little woman, is in the process of evolving. Sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference between Joel and the villain. Krentz acknowledges the evolution process by making Joel’s temperament one of the story’s main issues.

PERFECT PARTNERS was first published in 1992. Jayne Ann Krentz is so popular that her many books are reprinted periodically, and this one is currently in re-release.

Sep 2003 Review

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