The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie by Jennifer Ashley (Review)

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Title: The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie by Jennifer Ashley
Published: August 2nd 2011 by Berkley
Page Count: 338
Where’d I Get It: Purchase (Audiobook)
Rating: 3 stars

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.

I listened to this on audiobook and it took me way longer than it probably should because I kept setting it aside for podcasts about murder (like I do). So, honestly, how long it took me to get through this book is not really indicative to how much I enjoyed the book. I just get so wrapped up in murder sometimes.

Really, though, if I was reading this in paperback or on my Kindle I probably would have read it much faster. That being said, this was one of the first times I’ve listened to a romance novel on audio. I’ve done urban fantasy, but nothing with the breadth of bawdy bedroom scenes that this had. Nothing quite like listening to erotic literature on some Bluetooth headphones while your kids are in the room. I suppose the same could be said about listening to it in public or just generally around people. It’s a little weird. Anyway, I got over that hurdle by the end of the book. It was all par for the course by then.

The narrator was nice to listen to. She had a soothing voice and did the Scottish accent well. I actually don’t have any complaints about her at all. Top notch. I wonder if she does the rest of the series or not?

The book itself is rather predictable on many accounts. Lord Ian Mackenzie has Aspberger’s Syndrome. It manifests in plenty of little ways. He can’t meet people’s eyes. He has perfect recall. He’s often a bit of a weirdo in social situations. And, yes, the main romance plot is for someone to teach him to love, which the book does really well. While Ian Mackenzie originally sees Beth Ackerley as a conquest, albeit one that deserved preferential and deferential treatment, he eventually learns to get over his fears and his disability and love her.

Beth Ackerley herself is a widow of a vicar, given an immense dowry by an old woman she cared for in the woman’s last days. Ian Mackenzie is set on snatching her up as wife, both because he finds her pleasant, and to keep the men of low standing from taking advantage of her new found money. Beth’s already found love once in her life, and though thrown into a whirlwind of romance and bedroom acrobatics with Ian, she finds herself falling for the man, and his family, vowing to keep them safe with all her power.

Outside of the romance itself, there’s also a murder mystery that needs to be solved, involving Ian MacKenzie himself, his brother Hart and some ladies of the night. There’s a few twists and turns, but most of the mystery itself is as predictable as the romance plot, considering there’s some pretty obvious culprits.

As my first foray into Jennifer Ashley’s work, I was pleasantly surprised to find that I loved a good chunk of the characters mentioned and introduced in the novel. I very rarely find that the small snippets in books of other characters spur me into a great love for them, at least until they get their own books, but Jennifer Ashely has set up Lady Isabella and Mac’s relationship so well that I honestly can’t wait to have the time to dive into Lady Isabella’s Scandalous Marriage.  

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