Sunday, May 31, 2009

The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie by Jennifer Ashley

Highland Pleasures Book 1
Published: April 2009
Pages: 336

*Squeal* Loved it, Loved it, Loved it!

If I can stop gushing long enough to form a coherent sentence, I'd actually like to say a thank you to author Emily Bryan for the introduction to this 'new to me' author. If I wasn't following Emily's blog I would have missed her interview with Jennifer Ashley & missed out on an absolute treat.

This book was almost impossible to put down, I read it overnight & I fell in love with the main characters Ian & Beth.

The infamous Lord Ian Mackenzie is a unique hero, confined in an asylum from the age of eleven because of a condition seen as 'madness' in the 1800's but known today as Asperger's Syndrome. He endured ice baths, shock therapy & other unspeakable 'treatments' until freed by his brother Hart upon the death of their father.

Jennifer Ashley does a brilliant job in conveying the many varied characteristics, positive traits, & struggles of someone with this condition - difficulty with eye contact, the struggle to understand emotions & non-verbal cues, genius intelligence, learnt socially acceptable responses as opposed to naturally occuring. Ian has a photographic memory with perfect recall but finds the chatter of crowds too much to cope with. He sees perfection in a drop of ink and can become lost in a line of a drawing. He is logical, passionate, blunt, possessive & quietly vulnerable, pulling at your heartstrings. This character's complexity is portrayed with knowledge & sensitivity.

Beth Ackerley is a widow, an enlightened woman for her time, intelligent, witty & compassionate. In short, everything I like to see in a heroine. She's not afraid to indulge in some sexual 'naughtiness' (9 years abstinence is a long time after all) or to stand toe-to-toe with the rest of the Mackenzie clan ... And as the Mackenzie's have set England & Scotland abuzz with their notoriety, Beth needs every ounce of her fortitude to survive.

The love scenes are passionate & saucy. Ian's bawdy love talk & Beth's reaction, tickled my fanny fancy & Beth's spicy diary entries amused me greatly -
I have become a truly wicked woman, Beth wrote in her journal a few days later. I find myself looking forward every day to what naughtiness Ian and I might do together.

Here's one of my favourite excerpts (of which there were many) -

“Explain to me what loving feels like, Beth. I want to understand”

“It is the most divine thing imaginable,” she tried.

“I don’t want to hear about divinity. I want to hear about flesh and bone. Is love like desire?”

“Desire is part of it,” she said slowly. “The love for another’s body. But also love for their heart and their mind, and for all the silly things they do, no matter how absurd. Your world brightens when they walk into a room, dims when they leave it again. You want to be with the beloved so you can see him and touch him and hear his voice, but you want his happiness as well. It’s selfish, but not entirely so."

As much as I'd like to keep raving about The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie, I really can't say much more without giving away major plot spoilers. This was a beautiful, romantic story with strong but vulnerable characters that I felt an emotional connection with. A unique plot with a murder/mystery element, perfect pacing & quite suspenseful which was an unexpected surprise. An absolutely delightful read!

Highland Pleasures Book 2, "Lady Isabella's Scandalous Marriage " (Mac & Isabella's story) is due to be released mid 2010 (wahhh!)
All I can say is "get writing Jennifer Ashley, I'm not a patient girl & I'm dying to know more about the Mackenzie men."

Book 3: The Many Sins of Lord Cameron (Cam's story)
Book 4: The Duke Takes a Wife (Hart's story)

Visit Jennifer Ashley's website to be introduced to the fascinating Mackenzie family. Jennifer also writes erotic romance under the pseudonym Allyson James & Regency mystery as Ashley Gardner.


  1. I have seen the book around and yes it intrigues me a lot. I wanna know what happens, how she deals with it, and yes everything :D and your sqees sure help to that.

  2. I'm still waiting for this book to come in to my local bookstore!! Very nice review..I loved the excerpt:)

  3. This book sounds great! It is now on my TBR list.

  4. Oohh, let me check this out. Thanks! Love your review. Now, if you only liked it. Ha~Ha!!!

  5. Lord Ian Mackenzie sounds fascinating. My guess is he appears to be a "tortured" soul who doesn't quite fit in. How complexe! I'd love to read this book! =)

  6. ha-ha what a great review! Your emotions definitely shine through. I'll be adding this to my list.

  7. Okay, your squeal convinced me I need to read this :) I love historical romances and this sounds right up my alley! Thanks for the review.

  8. Aaaaaawwwww - I just LOVE seeing glowing reviews for this book since I've raved about it ever since I first read it. I can't say enough good things about it so reading your review and seeing you feel the same way just makes me happy inside!


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