Monday, April 30, 2012

THE DUKE’S PERFECT WIFE by Jennifer Ashley

Publisher: Signet
Date published: April 3, 2012
ISBN 9780425247105
Historical Romance
Mass Market Paperback
Reviewed by Gina
Obtained Via Publisher

His Grace, Duke Hart Mackenzie, eldest of the Mackenzie brothers, has not had the easiest life. Oh, it’s been filled with luxury and he never had to dirty his hands if it didn’t suit him. The difficulty, the turmoil and heart wrenching moments have all been emotional. From a childhood of not only being beaten by his father for his own supposed sins, Hart also took the punishments that would have been meted out to his brothers Cameron, Mac and Ian. It was Hart who rescued Ian from an asylum—and his planned murder by their father. Hart loved, and lost, the woman who would have been his perfect wife.

Lady Eleanor Ramsay knows her mind and more importantly, her heart. It was she who ended her engagement to Hart Mackenzie because she believed a woman who told her an unpalatable truth about the Duke. Now, years later, Eleanor does something that could cost Hart all, and especially his dream of becoming prime minister, she comes to London to help catch what could be a deadly blackmailer.

When Hart once again sees Eleanor he determines that this time he will not allow the woman he loves to walk away. But it isn’t Eleanor that may end their chance at finding love. Hart is a target and may not live long enough to walk his one love down the aisle.

I’ve been waiting a long time for Hart’s story in Jennifer Ashley’s Mackenzie series. She did not disappoint. Okay, it’s only been about a year, but still, if you are a fan of historical romance told by a fantastic author, if the next book isn’t sitting there on your shelf when you want it, it seems like a long time.

I have to admit I fell in love with the Mackenzie brothers with the first in the series, THE MADNESS OF LORD IAN MACKENZIE. Ms. Ashley showed her own great compassion through Ian’s character with how his wife, Beth, as well as his brothers, treated him. It has been wonderful to see Ian break out of the shell someone with Asperger’s pull around them just to cope with the world as well and the devastation imposed by a brutal father. In THE DUKE’S PERFECT WIFE he comes truly into his own.

I enjoyed this story but there were times when I wondered why certain segments were included. They weren’t long, but seemed just out of place and not the Jennifer Ashley I love to read. The last chapters were just a bit too much narrative, telling what was going on with the characters rather than them living the experience. At first I was a bit bored with Hart’s personal journey to self-realization but as the story wound down I have to say it was well done. It gives the reader a moment to step back and re-evaluate Hart.

Each book in this series is a standalone and can be read out of order. I would, however, recommend reading them in order because each story builds on the one before—the characters develop more and more in each story with tantalizing lead-ins to the next in the series.

This is an objective review and not an endorsement of this book.

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