Title: Loving Lord Ash
Author: Sally MacKenzie
Series: Duchess of Love, book 3
Genre: Historical Romance
Publisher: Zebra books (March 4th)
Source: Review copy from publisher
*Warning: This review contains spoilers*
“A Little Misunderstanding. . .
Kit, the Marquis of Ashton, is in a sticky wicket. He married young and for love—how naïve. He discovered his mistake the very day of his wedding, but he is saddled now with a wife he's reluctant to trust. And however much evidence he gathers against faithless Jess, he can't seem to prove her guilt to the final judge—his foolish heart.
Jessica knows she's bobbled her marriage, however innocently. A fairytale wedding makes no difference if she hasn't got the marquis charmed to show for it. Well, she's had enough of accidental encounters with naked gentlemen and near misses explaining things to her husband. It's time to buck up and go win her man back—even if she has to fight very dirty indeed.”
Loving Lord Ash is the third book in the Duchess of Love series by Sally MacKenzie.
After reading previous book in this series I was very intrigued about Lord Ash and Jessica’s story. In previous books was said they have been estranged for eight years, but the reason for this separation was never clear. In this installment we learned why Ash married Jess and left her in his estate soon after marrying her. My problem with this book started there. First, Ash found Jess in a very compromising situation with one of his friends, a guy named Percy. Ash’s reaction to this discovery is asking Jess to marry him. Really? You find a girl with another man and you ask her to marry you?
Second, Jess is no noble born; she’s the daughter of the head groom of Ash’s parents’ estate. I can believe they grew up as friends, but I can’t believe the heir to a Dukedom would marry or would be allow to marry the daughter of an Irish groom and a seamstress.
Third, Jess has lived for eight years in Ash’s country estate; he has never gone to visit her or has communicated with her. During that time Jess has lived in the country estate with only male servants, something that fuels people speculations about her. Jess’ justification to this is that all the servants are gay, she feels safe with them, so her house has become a haven to them. It doesn’t help that Jess loves to paint and her favorite subject is the male nude form, and of course having all those males around her she uses her servants as models. Really?
After eight years of rumors and lots of gossip Ash knows he needs to solve his situation with Jess. He just turned 30 and needs an heir. With that in mind he decides to visit Jess to try to work on their problems. When he arrives to the estate without having been announced he goes in search of Jess and finds her in her painting studio in the arms of a naked man. Ash’s reaction is to think the worse, who wouldn’t? and lashes at Jess and leaves her behind after telling her he’s divorcing her.
Jess wasn’t doing anything with Roger; he’s actually a noble, who is working as a servant, who is also her friend and of course is gay. Roger was consoling her because she was sad thinking about her situation with Ash and he was naked because minutes before she was using him as a model for one of her paints.
After Ash’s outburst Roger convinces Jess to go after Ash and try to solve their problems. She just does that, she follows Ash’s to an inn where he’s staying and convinces him to try to have a civilize relationship in which she can provide him with a heir.
Ash’s accepts with the condition he won’t touch her for a month until he can be sure she’s not carrying another man’s baby. During that time he realizes people look at her with contempt and talk really bad about her, he also realizes it’s his fault and starts to feel guilty about his treatment of her.
The hardest part for Ash is that after eight years he still has feelings for her, it’s the same case with Jess and despite all the rumors they are both still virgin.
The story in this book and the stories in previous two books in the series happen almost simultaneous, but there were some very confusing time discrepancies with Loving Lord Ash in regards to previous books. I don’t know if people will notice this, I noticed it because I read the three books with very few days in between, so I had them fresh in my head. Maybe people who read the books with months apart won’t notice these discrepancies.
As I said before I had serious problems with this book. Ash and Jess’s story is so farfetched that it was impossible for me to believe it, that made it very hard to connect with the characters and get into the story.
The things I enjoyed about this book was seeing Ash’s brothers, their new wives and Ash’s parents. I also loved how Sally MacKenzie includes pets into her stories and gives them enough of a personality to make them as important as any of the other characters.
Even though I had some problems with this book I still plan to read more books by Sally MacKenzie. I’m not sure I can recommend Loving Lord Ash, but I’m sure I can recommend first two books in these series and the prequel novella.
My Verdict: 2 ½ Paws
Other books in the series
The Duchess of Love (Novella)
Bedding Lord Ned
Surprising Lord Jack
Loving Lord Ash (March 4th)
Other reviews Goodreads