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The Duke's Perfect Wife by Jennifer Ashley
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The Duke's Perfect Wife

by Jennifer Ashley (Author)

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1571576,038 (4.01)1
Member:JulesJones
Title:The Duke's Perfect Wife
Authors:Jennifer Ashley (Author)
Info:Berkley Sensation the Berkley Publishing Group a division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc 375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014
Collections:Your library
Rating:***1/2
Tags:paperback, fiction, romance, Victorian, Scottish, series, Highland Quartet

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The Duke's Perfect Wife by Jennifer Ashley

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Overall Rating: 4·25
Story Rating: 4·00
Character Rating: 4·50

Audio Rating: 4·50 (not part of the overall rating)

First Thought when Finished: The Duke's Perfect Wife was fantastic. I loved Eleanor!

Overall Thoughts: I loved Hart and Eleanor's story. I knew that I was going to love Eleanor because she was so straight spoken. She just said what she thought and she said it with style. She didn't let Hart run all over her but she was very real with herself about her feelings. I like how the 2nd half of the story played out. It was perfect for them. I have pretty much plowed through the first 4 books in this series in a matter of weeks. They are that good!

Audio Thoughts:

Narrated By Angela Dawe / Length: 11 hrs and 7 mins

Broken record alert: Angela rocks! She does a fantastic job with this series. I highly recommend listening to them.

Final Thoughts: I am excited to get to the rest of the series. ( )
  thehistorychic | Jan 19, 2014 |
As good as Ian's book. I liked how all of the family shows up throughout the book. The tension between the characters felt a little contrived. I will probably read more historicals from Jennifer Ashley. ( )
  lesmel | Nov 25, 2013 |
When you wait impatiently for five months to read a book, you're may well find that it does not live up to expectations. That disappointing outcome did not occur here, however; Hart's and Eleanor's story is wonderful.

Years after their broken engagement, Hart and Eleanor are thrown together again when she begins to receive anonymous notes containing pictures of Hart naked. Eleanor and her father, a slightly dotty impoverished earl, travel to London where Eleanor proposes that Hart hire her as a secretary while she investigates the pictures. (Hart and Eleanor assume that a blackmailer is at work, but don't you suspect that just maybe Eleanor secretly hope that something might just happen between them?)

Hart has become a powerful politician, heading a coalition party that is on the verge of taking power. He finds it distracting to have Eleanor around, so he tries to keep as busy as possible. Romance, of course, ensues, and it's not really a spoiler to reveal that they get married a little over half way into the book.

There are unexpected perils that put both Hart and Eleanor in danger, and ultimately Hart undergoes a life-changing ordeal.

What I Liked
•Hart! He is just as domineering, opinionated, and handsome as in the three previous books. We always knew that he was devoted to this brothers, but we learn much more about what he's done to ensure their happiness. Especially touching is the story of Hart's relationship to Ian and Ian's reciprocal loyalty to Hart. We also learn that the late duke, the father to the four brothers, was even worse than we thought. Hart believes that he's come to be just like his father, and his self-loathing is profound.

As I mentioned, Hart experiences a life-changing event, but to say more than that would be too spoilerish. The event itself is a bit contrived, but his reaction to it is sincere.

•Eleanor. She's the perfect foil to Hart, as she simply refuses to be intimidated by him. While she doesn't regret jilting him all those years ago, she still loves him deeply and wants to protect him. She is indeed the perfect wife for him -- descendant of a brave Scotswoman, warm, outgoing, and an elegant hostess.

•The Mackenzie family. All of the brothers, their wives, and their children make an appearance, and Ian plays a particularly important role. It's fun to see them all married and becoming parents (although I did feel that my particular favorite, Cameron, got short shrift.)

•Inspector Fellows. As we know, Fellows is the illegitimate son of the old duke and half brother to the four Mackenzies. He appears in this book mostly in his official capacity, but there is one brief scene that hints of an unlikely romance in his future.

•Ian. He's even more amazing than before, but I won't go into detail.

•The teaser for the next book. [b:The Seduction of Elliot McBride|12240431|The Seduction of Elliot McBride (Highland Pleasures, #5)|Jennifer Ashley|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1312215185s/12240431.jpg|17214469] will feature Ainsley's brother recently returned from India. A stunned Elliot finds himself proposed to in the first chapter.

•The lookbacks. We learn a lot more about Hart's childhood relationship with his father, his rescue of Ian, the early courtship of Eleanor by Hart, their intimate encounters, the end of their betrothal, and the death of Hart's wife and infant son. All of this gives us a different perspective on how and why Hart became the man that he is.

•The lovin'. Jennifer Ashley can write a love scene to curl your toes, so don't be wearing tight shoes while reading this book.

•The epilogue. It ties up everything in a nice Kodak moment.

What I Didn't Like
Yes, there were a few things that didn't please me.

•The reason Eleanor jilted Hart. It's finally explained in detail, but I must confess to being just as baffled as Hart about exactly what offended Eleanor so much.

•Hart's supposed perversion. For three books now, we've seen hints of Hart's sexual dark side. In this book, he's terrified that Eleanor will learn "the truth" about him and be disgusted. Repeatedly, he agonizes over this, but when we finally see him admit all to Eleanor, it's really no big deal and Eleanor is game to play along. I was truly disappointed that this potential problem was glossed over so casually.

Hart's disappearance. As I mentioned the event leading up to Hart's disappearance was rather contrived, but it suited the author's purpose. He needed to be away from the world for a period of time to discover that things would go on without him trying to control everything. But, I really couldn't buy that he would choose to stay away knowing that his family would believe him to be dead.


Overall
I love the Mackenzies so much that there's no way I wouldn't like this book. If we used half-points, I'd rate it at 4.5 -- not quite as intense as [b:The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie|5981872|The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie (Highland Pleasures, #1)|Jennifer Ashley|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1322336718s/5981872.jpg|6155268] nor as steamy as [b:The Many Sins of Lord Cameron|8563824|The Many Sins of Lord Cameron (Highland Pleasures, #3)|Jennifer Ashley|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1300209650s/8563824.jpg|13432297].

If you like those books, however, you'll definitely enjoy this one, and I strongly recommend that they be read in order. ( )
  LadyWesley | Sep 25, 2013 |
I wasn't sure what to expect from Hart. His "unusual proclivities" were much hinted at in the previous books. I wasn't sure if they would be the main focus of this book. They weren't, though they did play a large role, albeit off scene.

Hart was just as angry and cold here as he was in the precious books. But he was also strong and tender and surprisingly vulnerable. I believe Eleanor was the perfect match for him. She was inquisitive, demanding and stubborn. But also compassionate enough to understand Hart.

All in all an excellent novel. ( )
  cranberrytarts | Sep 22, 2013 |
After all the build up, I can't say how impressed I am with Hart and Eleanor's relationship. Ashley did justice to their long ago relationship without being melodramatic, and their present day reconciliation was both nuanced and romantic. Can't say how much I love it when characters grow in a romance! The Mackenzie brothers have their own special brand of PTSD to overcome, and Hart definitely goes over the top with exorcising his demons, but everything clicked together beautifully in the end. After all the touching moments between Ian and Hart, I'm again overcome with the urge to go back and re-read Ian and Beth's love story. ( )
  Capnrandm | Apr 15, 2013 |
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This book is dedicated to my parents: To my father, whom I lost this year, and to my mother, who is stronger than she knows. Thank you for all your encouragement, patience, and love.
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Hart Mackenzie. It was said the he knew every pleasure a woman desired and exactly how to give it to her.
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Book description
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.

Book Four of the Highland Pleasures (Mackenzies) series.

-back cover
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When Lady Eleanor Ramsay, his former fiancee, arrives at his doorstep with scandalous nude pictures of him taken long ago, Hart Mackenie, who has sacrificed everything to keep his brothers safe, wonders if she has come to ruin him - or save him.

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Penguin Australia

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