Saturday, June 23, 2012

Review: The Duke's Perfect Wife

The Duke's Perfect Wife
Jennifer Ashley
Historical Romance/London/1884
Highland Pleasures/Book 4
Berkley Sensations/April 3, 2012

Lady Eleanor Ramsay is the only one who knows the truth about Hart Mackenzie. Once his fiancee, she is the sole woman to whom he could ever pour out his heart.

Hart has it all--a dukedom, wealth, power, influence, whatever he desires. Every woman wants him--his seductive skills are legendary. But Hart has sacrificed much to keep his brothers safe, first from their brutal father, and then from the world. He's also suffered loss--his wife, his infant son, and the woman he loved with all his heart though he realized it too late.

Now, Eleanor has reappeared on Hart's doorstep, with scandalous nude photographs of Hart taken long ago. Intrigued by the challenge in her blue eyes--and aroused by her charming, no-nonsense determination--Hart wonders if his young love has come to ruin him . . . or save him.

After reading and love The Many Sins of Lord Cameron, I immediately started on the next book in the series, The Duke's Perfect Wife.  While I didn't find the Duke's Wife to be as perfect as those sins of Lord Cameron, I did enjoy it and can't wait for the fall release of the next book in the series.

If we go back to the first book, The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie, Hart Mackenzie was a cold, calculating duke who rarely invoked any warmth or compassion the way his brothers do.  Hart still maintains those characteristics through most of his story, giving way to some warmth and tenderness to those who matter most to him.  The catalyst for Hart is Eleanor and to a lesser extent, Hart's family.  It was a pleasure to see Hart make the small changes and then turn them into something much bigger and far more important.  And each step of the way, Eleanor was never far from his thoughts.

Eleanor Ramsay has been living a quiet but poor life in her family home, far away from London.  She takes care of her brilliant if absent-minded father and seems content. Her contentment is not deep but more from acceptance of fate.  Her fate to live alone without the man she loves.  I did like Eleanor and her resolution to help Hart however she could but still maintain her distance from Hart.  The pull is too great and Eleanor is still very much in love with him.  I loved how Eleanor battled with Hart, circumventing his orders and doing what she thinks is best for Hart.

The romance of Hart and Eleanor burns hot and fierce.  The feelings are still there as strong as ever but also more mature, with Eleanor having an unconventional upbringing to the point of her speaking openly and curiously about sex.  I loved how she could shock Hart, who is well versed in women and sex.  Even with Hart's vast experience, Eleanor needs to put him at ease, and she does.  She has this incredible power over Hart but she doesn't abuse it.  

The story wouldn't be the same without the Mackenzie clan making not only an appearance but getting right into the thick of it with Hart and Eleanor.  I love how this family argues, aggravates and annoys each other.  The love of this family is there throughout the story even with the arguments.  The clan is the heart of the series, enhancing the romances.

The political drama surrounding Hart's bid for prime minister is interesting but sometimes it felt intrusive in the developing relationship of Hart and Eleanor.  The politics and power are what drive Hart so it did play a very important role in Hart's life but I could have done with a little less of it.

The Duke's Perfect Wife had a few minor imperfections but aside from those, it was a pleasure to read!

Rating:  B+

Highland Pleasures Series ~

The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie
Lady Isabella's Scandalous Marriage
The Many Sins of Lord Cameron
The Duke's Perfect Wife
The Seductions of Elliott McBride (December 2012)
The Wicked Deeds of Daniel Mackenzie (2013)


  1. Leslie, I'm so glad you enjoyed this book so much. I know that you were intrigued by Hart's character from the beginning, just as I was... and yes, Eleanor was perfect for him. I loved the family in this story! The whole clan (Ian in particular) played their roles perfectly. This was not my favorite book in the series, but definitely, a good way of rounding off the brothers' romances. :D

  2. So, why did Hart and Eleanor broke it up the first time? :P

    I don't know, I'm just not feeling it for Hart and that's why I haven't picked up the book yet. True, he's not as cold and manipulative when it comes to his family. I liked how caring of Cam and Ian he's been. But overall, he doesn't appeal ^_^; Perhaps it's the political aspect because I don't care for that either...

  3. Hils ~ Ian was wonderful in this! Reminds me why I enjoyed his story so much.

    Nath ~ that's a spoiler Nath! I'll email you. :)

    We do find out why Hart does what he does and why he's so driven. I think you'll like it.

  4. Thanks for the spoilers, Les :P