Carol *Young at Heart Oldie*'s Reviews > The Duke's Perfect Wife

The Duke's Perfect Wife by Jennifer Ashley
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's review
Jul 20, 2010

really liked it
Read from April 04 to 07, 2012 — I own a copy

I so wanted to give this book 5* because there was so much I loved about it but there were a few issues that really bugged me and so I'm rating it 4.5*.


Hart and Eleanor

As with everything else, Hart had planned with precision how he intended to win Eleanor back and make her his wife. Poor Hart! Things don’t go completely to plan and it was wonderful to see that famous self-control crack when she unexpectedly walks back into his life. He’s so used to controlling everything and everybody around him but Eleanor is the one person who has never been intimidated by him even at his most imperious.

I love Eleanor. She’s irrepressible, smart and determined but she’s also warm, compassionate and kind. She has a way of putting everyone at their ease, whatever their station in life, and I like that about her. I smiled at how her constant chatter drives Hart crazy but arouses him at the same time.

”Goodness, I haven’t seen her in donkey’s years,” Eleanor said, sitting back as they rolled on. “Her daughters must be, oh, quite young ladies now. Have they made their come-outs yet?”
Her mouth was still kissable, closing in a little pucker while she awaited his answer.
“I haven’t the faintest bloody idea,” Hart said.

I loved seeing that Eleanor has a slightly wicked side; the way she peruses those nude photos of Hart in such detail!

These two are just a perfect match. Even after their break-up, Eleanor was the only one he ever confided in and trusted his darkest secrets to. I think she understands him even better than he understands himself. Eleanor can strip away the protective layers and find the laughing teasing man she fell hopelessly in love a decade ago. Despite the passage of time and the different paths their lives have taken, I feel their love for each other has remained a constant.

Yes, he’s still got that hard edge but I began to see Hart through very different eyes. In the intervening years, he has suffered terrible pain and grief but he has always hidden his emotions behind a cold-hearted mask. There’s such a heart-wrenching scene where Eleanor finds him touching his son’s gravestone and his words are so poignant that I felt tears welling in my eyes.

I enjoyed how the romance developed between Eleanor and Hart. Beneath their teasing, there was always an undercurrent of sexual tension between them and I loved that rather delicious scene in the laundry room.


The deep connection between Ian and Hart plays an important part in this story. Hart had always done everything he could to protect his younger brothers from their cruel and ruthless father. But Ian has always been different and special in Hart’s eyes and the actions he is prepared to take to keep Ian safe speak more than anything of his love for his brother. It is obvious how much Hart’s happiness means to Ian (view spoiler).

The Rest of the Mackenzie Family

I loved seeing all the happily married Mackenzie brothers, their wives and adorable children. The family scenes had such warmth and humour and this is one of my favourites.

Screaming erupted from on high- shrill, desperate, Armagedon-has-come screaming. Mac grinned and jogged back upstairs.
“Papa’s coming, hellions,” he called. “If you’re good, you can have Auntie Eleanor for tea.”


There was constant reference to Hart’s darker sexual side and his fear of telling Eleanor the full truth about his needs. Like many others, I was disappointed that Ms Ashley didn’t explore this aspect in any depth. The only concession was a lack-lustre scene involving light bondage (view spoiler). I remember reading Elizabeth Hoyt’s beautiful and erotic scene in Wicked Intentions between Temperance and Lazarus and wished for something similar in this book.

A further issue I had concerned the dramatic events towards the end of the book which lead to Hart’s realization of what‘s really important in his life. I can suspend disbelief with the best of them but this seemed to layer one improbable situation upon another. It’s difficult to explain without resorting to spoilers.

Despite these issues, I still enjoyed this book and I’m looking forward to the next book about Elliot McBride (Ainsley’s brother).

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Quotes Carol *Young at Heart Oldie* Liked

Jennifer Ashley
“My past is no secret to anyone. I'm a blackguard and a sinner, and everyone knows it. These days, that's almost an asset to being a politician.”
Jennifer Ashley, The Duke's Perfect Wife

Jennifer Ashley
“You know women when they get talking. They don't stop for anything but unconsciousness.”
Jennifer Ashley, The Duke's Perfect Wife

Jennifer Ashley
“This was the Hart Eleanor had known years ago, the one she'd agreed without hesitation to marry. He'd had the body of a god, a smile that melted her heart, a sinful glint in his eyes that had been just for her and her alone.”
Jennifer Ashley, The Duke's Perfect Wife

Jennifer Ashley
“You are very cross tonight, Hart. Perhaps the lady disappointed you."

Hart stared at her over the glass he'd started to raise. "What lady?"

"The one whose perfume you positively reak of."

His brows went up."You mean the Countess von Hohenstahlen? She's eighty-two and drenches herself in scents that would make a tart blush.

Jennifer Ashley, The Duke's Perfect Wife

Jennifer Ashley
“The smile, the look, tugged at Eleanor's heart. Even in the fleeting glance, she'd seen great love in Ian's eyes, his determination to finish this letter and send it to Beth so she could enjoy decoding it. A way to tell her sweet nothings that no one else could understand. Private thoughts, shared between husband and wife.”
Jennifer Ashley, The Duke's Perfect Wife

Jennifer Ashley
“On her head perched a pillbox hat with an absurd little veil. She'd pulled the dotted veil up out of her eyes, but not completely - it hung lopsidedly, dangling over her right brow. Her dark brown dress was filmed with dust she'd raised, and dust caught on her damp cheeks. One lock of hair had escaped her coiffure, a red snake dancing down her bodice. She was delightfully mussed, and dear God, he wanted her.”
Jennifer Ashley, The Duke's Perfect Wife

Jennifer Ashley
“For God's sake!" Hart sprang to his feet.

Everyone at the table stopped and stared at him, including Ian. "Do I have to be made a mockery of in my own house?"

Mac leaned back in his chair, his hands behind his head. "Would you prefer we made a mockery of you in the street? In Hyde Park, maybe? In the middle of Pall Mall? The card room in your club?"

"Mac, shut it!”
Jennifer Ashley, The Duke's Perfect Wife

Jennifer Ashley
“...Mac, I want you to go back to the house and make sure the ladies don't get the idea to go searching as well. I told Eleanor not to, but you know the Mackenzie females."

Mac scowled."Hell, Hart, can't you find something easier for me to do? Go up against an army of assassins in my underwear, maybe?”
Jennifer Ashley, The Duke's Perfect Wife

Reading Progress

56.0% "Eleanor looked into his eyes. She read the certainty of victory in the amber depths, surety that he'd win everything he wanted. And yet, behind it, she saw fear. Hart was poised at a crossroads - from this day forward, his life could go in any direction. And he was afraid."

Comments (showing 1-20 of 20) (20 new)

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Katherine Why did I not know this was out already. Shame on me. Glad to know you liked it Carol.

message 2: by Carol *Young at Heart Oldie* (last edited Apr 11, 2012 06:45AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Carol *Young at Heart Oldie* Katherine, I'd pre-ordered it for my laptop kindle application and so it was automatically downloaded. I really did enjoy it apart from a couple of things that stopped it being a 5* book for me. I hope to post a full review within the next few days.

Katherine Several people have mentioned it having a few problems. I am so looking forward to Hart's story. Will be anxious to read your review.

message 4: by Ƥʋиʏα [Punya Reviews...] (last edited Apr 21, 2012 01:06PM) (new) - added it

Ƥʋиʏα [Punya Reviews...] Read quite a few reviews pointing out this issue of Hart's darker side not being explored properly, when it's been drummed from the earlier books. It would totally disappoint me for sure!... Now I'm kinda intrigued about the last part of your review about Hart's change of perspective about life, Carol. lol I loved that scene in Wicked Intentions. Have you read Again the Magic? This hero have the same type of problem as Caine and as any LK hero, he was delish! LK did explore his needs to great length. One of my most favorite books. :)

message 5: by Carol *Young at Heart Oldie* (last edited Apr 29, 2012 12:52AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Carol *Young at Heart Oldie* Punya, yes I've read Again The Magic several times. In fact, it's my favourite LK book. I love McKenna. As you say, he's totally delish!

Ƥʋиʏα [Punya Reviews...] Oops Carol, I didn't mean Again the Magic but Worth Any Price. Sorry about the confusion, I was in the middle of something else when I wrote this comment. I know you must be thinking when did McKenna had problems like Caine? lol

Carol *Young at Heart Oldie* Ah yes, you meant Nick Gentry, Punya!! All LK's heroes are super delicious and so it's easy to get confused! LOL.

Katherine Love the sneek out photo.

Heidi Carol wrote: "Ah yes, you meant Nick Gentry, Punya!! All LK's heroes are super delicious and so it's easy to get confused! LOL."

Whew, they sure are carol! Nick is one of the best!

message 10: by Ƥʋиʏα [Punya Reviews...] (last edited Apr 23, 2012 01:17PM) (new) - added it

Ƥʋиʏα [Punya Reviews...] Carol wrote: "Ah yes, you meant Nick Gentry, Punya!! All LK's heroes are super delicious and so it's easy to get confused! LOL."

I had Nick in mind while writing this comment Carol, may have mixed up the titles. *bows head in shame* lol I never mix-up LK heroes.

Katherine Finished the book and loved most everything. But like you, the end was just odd for me. I love the Mackenzie brothers and I am sure Elliot's book will be just as fun.

Carol *Young at Heart Oldie* Katherine wrote: "Finished the book and loved most everything. But like you, the end was just odd for me. I love the Mackenzie brothers and I am sure Elliot's book will be just as fun."

Yes, the ending just didn't work for me. (view spoiler)

Katherine Totally agree, it would have been a more powerful ending.

Ronyell Awesome review Carol!!! I had problems with Hart's sexual side not being exploited enough also.

Carol *Young at Heart Oldie* Thank you, Ronyell!

Ronyell You're welcome!

message 17: by Susanne (new) - added it

Susanne Wonderful review, Carol!

Carol *Young at Heart Oldie* Thank you so much, Susanne!

message 19: by Lisa Kay (new) - added it

Lisa Kay Lovely review, Carol! You make me want to get back to this series ASAP.

Carol *Young at Heart Oldie* Thank you, Lisa Kay! I do love this series. Can't wait for Daniel's book, The Wicked Deeds of Daniel Mackenzie. I love him to bits!

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