Booklover, Indianapolis's Reviews > The Duke's Perfect Wife

The Duke's Perfect Wife by Jennifer Ashley
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** spoiler alert ** (June) I loved Ian's book, didn't like Mac's book (because I couldn't stand Isabella), enjoyed Cameron's book - but was waiting for Hart's book! Sigh...


So a strange woman comes to Eleanor and says “Hi, I’m your fiancé’s whore mistress and I’ve got to tell you he’s a mean man because he gets angry sometimes and I don’t always understand him and he used me (which is exactly the purpose of a mistress…but I digress) and now he has threatened to leave me, to be with you, his fiancée, because, you know, he owes me…um…exactly nothing since I’m his mistress, not his wife, so in order to convince him not to leave me I got other girls to come and have sex w/him in the house he pays for (and, ya know, he also pays me for being his mistress) because he’s a single man of strong sexual appetites and having sex w/lots of different women is a bad thing because he should only want me and I’m afraid he’ll throw me over which I totally don’t deserve…what’s that? Why don’t I deserve him to tire of me and leave? Um…well…forget that, anyway, so he’s a bad man and might not be nice to you because he likes his sex kinky w/his whores and he might leave you too one day.” And Eleanor, who from the sound of it was in love w/Hart (she did give up her V-card to him which is a big deal in the 1880s) decides to believe this woman and throws her engagement ring at Hart – not asking him for details or an explanation, just accusing him of being heartless (ha!) and mean and basically “screw you – if you could be cruel to your whore mistress – who you broke by being so mean to her and she’s a strong woman so if you broke her you must truly be awful and you could break me too!”

Years later, after living poor and on the charity of her community (and hardly any contact other than a damning confessional letter he sent to her about a murder – because she is so trustworthy?), she gets sent a pervy pix of Hart. She runs to him and says “hey, I’ve been living off welfare rather than getting a job but now that I got this nekkid pix of you – w/no threatening note or anything – you need to hire me because I’m so skilled I’m going to track down where this pix came from.” After letting Hart kiss her and stir up old feelings, she goes off to a photo shop. Lo and behold, it is the right shop – and the man who works there, sees a woman who is obviously of quality, and rather than asking for a secret code or anything to show that she might be into “that” sort of thing, just up and offers to sell her other nekkid pix of Hart. She knows Hart does not want her to go see the “naughty house” but goes anyway – coerces Ian into taking her, doesn’t matter what Hart might want or think. Later on, she finds a cabinet locked in his study – and rather than respecting his privacy, she decides she has the right to rummage around for the key and unlock it (because she is curious – always a fine excuse for invasion of privacy)(that is not an impt. part of the story but it really bugged me that she did that!) I think she is supposed to be bright and engaging and charming – I find her bubble-headed and annoying and pushy and selfish and rude.

A lot of boring political stuff happens, and somehow Hart and Eleanor end up back together – there is no romancing, not a lot of anything happens – she just reenters his life, no discussion of their break up or resolution of any of the issues that caused their break up, there is no wooing (and after all their time apart, some wooing was necessary) but some kissing, some sexing (a tiny bit of Hart’s feelings but nothing from Eleanor) and voila! They are once again engaged (why would it work this time? Isn’t she still disgusted with him? Isn’t he still a selfish, horrible man who would be cruel to her and tire of her and leave her – because that was so common in the 1800s? Oh you mean it turns out Mrs. Palmer was a horrible woman who almost killed Beth and ruined Hart and perhaps Eleanor should have gotten more facts before she dumped Hart 10 years before? Hmmm…)

Frustrations: I find it very annoying when a woman dumps her boyfriend/fiancé and his whole family is on her side instead of his – like “yeah, we still love you and consider you family even though you dumped our brother (a million years ago and we’ve not seen you since) for no reason (that we know of) and he’s a dick (even though he’s taken care of all of us for years and loved us and sacrificed for us) and we don’t really want good things for him – at least that’s the way we act – but you are wonderful so we love you.” Oh, and w/in hours of being shot, she wakes alone in her room w/no one but her maid (no frantic hubby or caring family?) and manages to get up and deal w/the gunman (boy) and then ends up in a fever for three days, and they “feared they would lose her” – but once again she wakes alone but for her maid and gets out of bed and has the strength to bath, dress, and walk outside in the cold middle of the night to find her hubby. Sex happens (boy she recovered quickly) and then Eleanor has the strength to set up camera and tripod equipment because she wants to take more nekkid pix of him the very next day (and again – where is the family checking on her? Beth’s sick room in Ian’s book was overflowing w/family and visitors and Ian never left her side – and when recovered, she still didn’t leave her bed for a week!).

The ending was rushed and weak, w/Hart (after disappearing for an unspecified amount of time – weeks? A month?) basically deciding Eleanor was right about him, that he probably would have treated her like crap years ago and yea for her for ending the engagement - and his lifelong quest for power is now all gone. I was even annoyed a bit w/Ian in this book- what is he, some sort of psychic who can find “always find Hart” and always knows what people will do - like sending the pix to the almost-whore who knew Hart for 5 minutes – how would Ian even have known she was ever in the house? She was there for less than a day! But he knows to find her and sends her the pix of Hart, trusting that she’ll send them to Eleanor, and “knowing” that this will be the impetus to bring Hart and Eleanor back together? If he knows so much, doesn’t he know why they broke up – and why would he assume that Eleanor would be willing to forget all of that and want him back?! I found the entire “who shot the whores?” storyline in Ian’s book convoluted – and I think the “who sent the pix” storyline in this book was similarly convoluted.

Finally - why did 3 of the 4 brothers have to have books dealing w/women they already knew? I feel cheated when I don’t get to see the meet, the slow build up of lust, the first time they kiss or whatever. Also, would have been interesting to see them introduced to Ian, how the brothers would have explained his unusualness. Looks like the next book will be more of the same – they’ve already met by the time we meet them and the hero is already in love with her. I’ll probably read it, but leery about it at the same time.
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Reading Progress

05/30/2012 page 106
36.0% "OMG - this is soooo boring! How can Hart's book be so boring - but I dislike Eleanor, and so far there is no story - just a lot of blah, blah, blah!!"
06/01/2012 page 219
74.0% "Seriously - that is the dumbest reason ever invented for a breakup! Still don't like Eleanor, still find the book dragging, but will finish today."
02/17/2016 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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message 1: by MelissaB (new) - added it

MelissaB Nice review, I never read past the first book but I liked it

Kristel I completely agree with everything you said in that review. Those were my same reactions to the story.

Anna Wallace You hit the nail on the head with your last comment. Why read a romance if you don't get to watch the romance build from a first meeting? Cheated, indeed.

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