The story is set in New Zealand – a nice change of pace – and begins with Christian Kelly crying at a funeral. Christian is a local boy made good; he’s a real estate magnant who is rich, handsome, dates centerfolds and supermodels, and generally lives the lush life. Back when he was a boy, his drunken father abused him and he became close to local hotel owner Muriel Medina Rose, who took in the friendless boy. Christian also fell deeply in love with Muriel’s grandaughter Kezia Rose. They became each other’s first lover and when they were eighteen, Christian asked asked her to leave town with him. Her refusal cut him deeply and he has never forgiven her.
Christian has spent the past several years making money, and Kezia has spent her time with Muriel. As bitter as he is, Christian hasn’t forgotten the old lady’s kindness and when she died, he came to her funeral. Afterward, Christian planned to leave immediately, but it seems as though Muriel has mentioned him in her will. The hotel she owns is in bad shape, financially and struturally, and in her will she want Kezia and Christian to come up with a plan to save it – but the will expressly forbids him to use his own money to bail out the hotel. Muriel wants Christian and Kezia to work together.
There’s a subplot involving one of the guests Muriel and Kezia have taken in, a young woman whose alcoholic husband hit her, took all their money and then ran off. Later he shows up, rehabilitated and deeply sorry – this was much more interesting than all the bickering between Kezia and Christian.
Frankly, they were both tiresome. They reminded me a bit of the the Four Yorkshiremen sketch Monty Python used to do – each of them trying to one up each other as which one had the most miserable past. There were patches of time when they’d put aside the bickering and actually talk to each other, but then she’d run off, or he’d run off, or they’d go back to bickering and my attention would wander. So, I’d read another book. Then I’d go back to this one and the same pattern would ensue. So I’d read another book. I admit I’ve read several other books between beginning Mr. Imperfect and finishing it.
If it wasn’t for the tiresome main couple, this might not have been such an exasperating read. I did love the New Zealand setting, the sub-plot and supporting characters were interesting. But as for Christian and Kezia – you two are not teens any more – grow up!