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Book CoverVeena’s review of The Duke’s Perfect Wife (Highland Pleasures, Book 4) by Jennifer Ashley
Historical Romance published by Berkley 3 Apr 12

The Duke’s Perfect Wife, fourth in the Highland Pleasures series from Jennifer Ashley, continues the Mackenzie brothers’ stories with Hart Mackenzie. Duke of Kilmorgan, envied for his wealth, power, connections and good looks, Hart has it all. Hart’s glittering facade hides the pain of his difficult childhood, his sense of failure for not having saved his infant son who died in his arms, and his loss of the only woman he’s ever truly loved.

Eleanor Ramsay is a perfect fit for the ten-point criteria that Hart’s family developed for his perfect wife.  Family, close friends, and loyal retainers have a betting pool going on whether the two will get it together and move in the right direction and then if they will ultimately make it to the altar, since Eleanor was engaged to Hart once and broke it off.

Before Hart can  manipulate circumstances to bring Eleanor into his life, fate, in the form of a package of photographs, takes a hand and she arrives on his doorstep. This is an intense love story between two protagonists who have loved each other for a long time and yet have been kept apart by their fear and pride. Their journey, particularly Hart’s, is extremely moving and his final realization that love triumphs and that material wealth is worthless against Eleanor’s acceptance of him as he is.

The love story is set amidst an interesting backdrop of changing times with running water, trains, cameras, and telegraphs cheek by jowl with the traditional horse-drawn carriages and class distinctions. The seedy side of an aristocratic life with mistresses and houses of pleasure, elements of bondage and domination are explored with a light but clear touch. The political scene and the seeds of what will become a large issue for Britain in the future with the Irish and the associated violence are superbly drawn into the story.

This is my first book by Jennifer Ashley. She reaches out and sweeps the reader into the story. I laughed, I cried, I rejoiced, and celebrated with Eleanor and Hart. I loved meeting the other Mackenzie brothers and their spouses and families. I plan to read all the stories that went before and will definitely continue to read the stories that come after.

Grade: A

See Sandy M’s review here.


Who is Hart Mackenzie’s perfect match? Eleanor Ramsay doesn’t know–she jilted him all those years ago–and now all she wants from the devastating duke is a job. Or so she tells herself. Persuading him to hire her as an assistant to his secretary is tricky, but Eleanor has a trick or two of her own up her sleeve…

Read an excerpt.

Other books in this series:

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The Seduction of Elliot McBride – January 2013
The Wicked Deeds of Daniel Mackenzie (tentative title) – October 2013