Tomorrow, we have a treat for you! The Maidens at Under the Covers book blog are posting why Ian Mackenzie is the best of the Mackenzie brothers. Over here, I will be posting why Hart Mackenzie is the best. Please stop by our Highlander Mash-up for a chance to win a either a signed copy of Hart’s book here, or a signed copy of Ian’s book at Under the Covers. Ms. Ashley has generously offered to send the winner an e-copy if you don’t want the paperback, or if you are international.
My rating: 4.5 of 5 flames
“Hart Mackenzie. It was said he knew every pleasure a woman desired and exactly how to give it to her. Hart wouldn’t ask what the lady wanted, and she might not even know herself, but she would understand once he’d finished. And she’d want it again.”
Thus begins the smokin’ first paragraph of The Duke’s Perfect Wife.
I’ve wanted Hart’s story since I first saw him in The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie. He was such an ass to Beth, yet, his love for his brothers, especially Ian, was so obvious. Hart seemed driven. He acted as if the fate of the world rested on his broad shoulders. And to him? Maybe it did.
When The Duke’s Perfect Wife opens, Lady Eleanor Ramsey is pushing her way through a crowd of journalists to get to Hart. When she has him alone, she propositions him. And no, not in that way. She asks him for a job. This is my favorite thing about Eleanor. She may tend to babble, but she is also very direct. She doesn’t sugarcoat anything and she is a very capable woman. What a patient and caring woman Eleanor is. Hart just bulldozes over people to get his way, and El quietly sidesteps him every time. Eleanor is good for Hart, I only wish Hart had trusted her a bit more. The backstory between the two is finally brought to light, and I was surprised at how emotionally vested in their romance I became.
Eleanor is in possession of several photographs of Hart. This wouldn’t be so unusual, except that hart is nude in all of them. Someone has been sending them to her, and she can’t resist the chance to uncover the mystery (which by the way, was a great mystery!). But that means, she is uncovering more and more about Hart, as well.
Hart has been planning his life out down to the second. He knows what he’ll do, and where he’ll be 1 year from now, 5 years from now, you get the idea. Having Eleanor sitting across from him in his carriage, telling him he will give her a job, actually fits with his plan. He wants El for his wife, he always has. He blew it with her when they were young, and now that he has her in his life once more? He won’t let go.
This poignant quote was from Mac to Hart, warning him not to hurt Eleanor again.
“We’re Mackenzies,” Mac said, his gaze steady. “Remember that we break what we touch.” He jabbed a finger at Hart, “Don’t break this one.”
One thing I wish we had seen more of was Hart’s penchant for “unusual proclivities,” because it was such a huge part of who he was. What we did see, though, was how hard it was for Hart to share that side of himself with Eleanor. It wasn’t easy for him, and even Ian seemed to understand Hart better than he understood himself. In fact, Ian was in this one quite a bit, and not only did he diffuse a tense situation merely by being Ian, but he stole every scene. He is the one who kept telling Hart to let Eleanor see every side of him.
I love how this series has such a different feel to it from Jennifer Ashley’s other books, even compared to her other Historical Romances. The language, the words, the way they speak, it’s all such a seductive world, you’ll get swept away, just as I did.
***Thank you to the author for the ARC