A reality show called The Virgin upheavals the Harcourt family in Imperfect Bliss. Family relations are already pretty strained when third child Diana announces that she will star as The Virgin and filming is to start immediately. The varied reactions illustrate how the family dynamic has always been. The father has little to say and retreats to his academic world while the mother is beyond thrilled for she has grand marriage plans for all four of her daughters. The eldest, Victoria, is fairly disinterested like her father while Charlotte, the youngest, is concerned with grabbing some of the attention for herself. Bliss, who is the novel’s protagonist, is absolutely appalled at the notion of finding a mate through a reality show. Of course, she has relationship issues of her own having been forced to take her young daughter and move back in with her parents after catching her husband in an affair.
Although the parallels to Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice are clear, Imperfect Bliss is enjoyable in its own right. Susan Fales-Hill could’ve done a bit more with it though. It was clear from the beginning that race (the Harcourt girls are half-British and half-Jamaican) would be a major factor, but then there were only passing references until the end. Much of what’s important in this blend of comedy and drama doesn’t happen until the last half which left little room for it to push beyond the superficial.
Review copy from Amazon Vine.