Monday, September 24, 2012

Book Review: Imperfect Bliss

Author: Susan Fales-Hill
Publication Date: July 3, 2012
Publisher: Atria Books

Reality TV— Jane Austen Style Meet the Harcourt’s of Chevy Chase, Maryland. A respectable middle-class, middle-age, mixed-race couple, Harold and Forsythia have four eminently marriageable daughters—or so their mother believes. Forsythia named her girls after Windsor royals in the hopes that one day each would find her true prince. But princes are far from the mind of their second-born daughter, Elizabeth (AKA Bliss), who, in the aftermath of a messy divorce, has moved back home and thrown herself into earning her PhD. All that changes when a Bachelorette-style reality television show called The Virgin takes Bliss’s younger sister Diana as its star. Though she fights it at first, Bliss can’t help but be drawn into the romantic drama that ensues, forcing her to reconsider everything she thought she knew about love, her family, and herself. Fresh and engaging, Imperfect Bliss is a wickedly funny take on the ways that courtship and love have changed—even as they’ve stayed the same.

The cover of this book is exquisite, but is it noticeable that I am an obvious fan to black and pink? This book is a mix of The Bachelorette and Pride and Prejudice in my opinion. Pride and Prejudice is one of my favorite movies and all because of the family dynamics and sisterly love! I was all the more attracted to this book when I found out that the entire family was involved!

I fell so in love with this book! I did not exactly know what kind of book I was reading at first. We are dealing with a reality show, but also a mother whose utmost priority in life is having her daughters married off. I couldn’t decide, at first, what time period we were in. Forsythia, the girl’s mother, spoke so eloquently and acted like the Bennett’s mother from Pride and Prejudice, but then we have Elizabeth, better known as “Bliss”, coming in there with her divorce and Ph.D. so I knew we had to be talking modern times. However, I loved it! I love that maybe for the first ten pages or so I was trying to figure out where this story was going to go!
Forsythia was probably my favorite character. This woman is so head strong and sophisticated and expects the same decorum for her daughters. She is also all about prestige. In one part of the book Bliss makes a comment about the house they live in, saying that it was the smallest house in the richest neighborhood. They had to live on that particular street even though they could not really afford the house just because Forsythia wanted to “keep up with the Jones’” so to speak. Even though I would never be able to handle her as my own mother, I thought she played her part well throughout the story. She puts so much pressure on the girls to get married and bare children, and that is why I questioned the time period. She acts like she just stepped out of the 18th century!
Bliss’ story was remarkable and I loved the fact that she didn’t let her mother affect her as much as she could have. She was just coming out of a divorce and I really appreciated the fact that she was not a whiny character! I cannot stand recent divorcee character who thinks that the world is crumbling down around them because those characters are so frequently written. Bliss was trying to raise her little girl, Bella, who is so precious, and also trying to finish school with the Doctorate degree. I loved her character, even though she really got caught up in the drama that she first tried so hard to avoid. I was pleased to see that she had grown as a character by the end of the novel.
I laughed and really appreciated the style of Susan Fales-Hill’s writing, which I had never had the pleasure of reading before now. It was a quick read that incorporated so many issues dealing with family dynamics, reality TV, and personal identity. I loved it!!
***Thank you to Atria Books for providing me with my very own copy of this book in exchange for my honest review***


  1. A mix of Jane Austen and Reality T.V? I wouldn't have even thought those would go together, but it's great to hear you enjoyed it! Awesome review, this has just been placed into my TBR pile :D

  2. I really enjoyed this one as well. I wouldn't say I loved it... the reality TV show aspect of it was kind of meh for me. But I completely agree about loving Bliss' character, who was doing something for herself. I also adored Bella she was so cute. Great review!