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Tuesday, May 4, 2010

The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie by Jennifer Ashley

The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie by Jennifer Ashley
Publisher: Dorchester Publications
Genre: Historical
Length: Full (320 pgs)
Heat Level: spicy
Rating: Best Book
Review by: Xeranthemum

The year is 1881. Meet the Mackenzie family--rich, powerful, dangerous, eccentric. A lady couldn't be seen with them without ruin. Rumors surround them--of tragic violence, of their mistresses, of their dark appetites, of scandals that set England and Scotland abuzz.

The youngest brother, Ian, known as the Mad Mackenzie, spent most of his young life in an asylum, and everyone agrees he is decidedly odd. He's also hard and handsome and has a penchant for Ming pottery and beautiful women.

Beth Ackerley, widow, has recently come into a fortune. She has decided that she wants no more drama in her life. She was raised in drama--an alcoholic father who drove them into the workhouse, a frail mother she had to nurse until her death, a fussy old lady she became constant companion to. No, she wants to take her money and find peace, to travel, to learn art, to sit back and fondly remember her brief but happy marriage to her late husband.

And then Ian Mackenzie decides he wants her.

A friend recommended that I read this and, now that I've finished the book, I want to hug her for it. I had such a good time reading about the romance between Ian and Beth that I want to tell the world.

This book touched me on so many levels I’m not sure where to begin. The first chapter is exquisite. Lord Ian’s unique personality and character gripped me from the first and never let go. I will tell you this: I am thoroughly impressed with Ms. Ashley’s understanding and amazing insight into the mind of what they termed ‘madness’ back in the day. By the third chapter I was completely and utterly committed to Lord Ian’s story. I desperately wanted him to be happy. No, needed him to be.

Here is where I get personal. My son has the same issue as the hero, though not as extreme. Granted, this is a fictional romance story but I found so many correlations between what I’ve experienced with my own child that I have to wonder about Ms. Ashley’s research, because it’s spot on and it’s respectful and intuitive. And beautiful. But the best thing is … it’s hot, passionate, seductive, sensual and wonderfully romantic. What only a mother can hope for, that their grown son will meet, fall in love and eventually marry a woman who will be as Beth is to Ian - this is a wish close to my heart.

Beth is a breath of fresh air. She’s the perfect balance of propriety and sensual adventuress. At no time did her character, whether in action or dialogue, ever seem untrue or trite. She is inquisitive at times, loyal to a fault, tenacious, clever and smart and loveable. She’s not perfect but she is perfect for Ian. A woman’s capacity for love is tested in this book. Her intuition and sense of what is right and wrong guide her as she deals with a most unusual man. I wish I could know a woman like Beth. I’d be a better person for it.

The conflict, besides the internal one that plagues Ian, is two-fold. One is the solving of a mysterious murder which happened years ago and still haunts the lives of the family Mackenzie and the other is a person bent on vengeance. Did I say Beth was clever? Like a scientist after a cure, that woman poked and prodded until she found the answer. But she finds out more than she ever bargained on. That made for some engrossing reading.

As for secondary characters, Curry is grin inducing; Hart, who is Ian’s oldest brother, is a mixture which drew forth exasperated mumblings and sorrowful headshakes from me; Cam is funny as well as his son, Daniel. I could go on and on. Every person played a role in solidifying the plot, the romance and the action. It’s a rich and vibrate world. After reading this book, I now love the word ‘carnality’. I get the giggles because being carnal was never so much fun.

The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie is now firmly on my keeper shelf. I am ever so grateful to my friend for the recommendation and I could think of no better way to get the word out about this awesome romance than write a review and share it with you. It had me laughing, gasping, sighing and smiling as Ian and Beth eventually found their happily ever after. I want to share that delight with you. Go read this book!