Thursday, September 12, 2013

|Review| The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie by Jennifer Ashley

Published April 28th 2009 by Leisure Books
Genre: historical romance
Rating: A
Goodreads summary:
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've had The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie for a while and it was supposed to be the first historical romance I read but I ended up reading Confessions from an Arranged Marriage (which is beyond excellent) first. So I kept telling myself (and Sharon) that I would read Ian Mackenzie next but here I am, 13 months later and I've just read this book and... I'M SO STUPID. Why did I wait this long?! Like I predicted and like a hundred reviews told me, The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie is an excellent historical romance novel.

Ian is unlike any romance hero because he's autistic and this book is set in 1881. That's not a good combination. Ian was deemed a madman and was even admitted to asylum by his father and submitted to torture to "cure" him.
He touched the tip of his tongue to the bowl, reflecting that it was far better than ten carriages with matched teams.
I loved Ian and his love for Ming bowls. I just loved reading and learning more about him! How he didn't understand jokes or emotions and how he had to be taught to do some things like clap at the end of an opera performance but he never actually learned why people do that. I pretty much fell in love with Ian and could have read about him forever. He's just so smart and interesting and can I just huggle him?

I also loved the heroine, Beth. I really appreciated something Jennifer Ashley did with this book and that is how Beth is widowed but she loved her husband. He wasn't secretly evil or awful but she actually had a healthy, beautiful marriage before she met Ian. I don't see a lot of that in romance. The heroine's past relationships are either nonexistent, abusive or horrifyingly bad so it was nice to have  heroine who got to experience something good in love because sometimes, the world is good to you that way. Beth was also pretty normal. She liked clothes (I'm so fucking tired and DONE with the heroines who are fashion-challenged and how that's a good thing because apprently liking fashion and being girly is a "bad" thing but that's an argument for another day.) and balls which is pretty nice because heroines who are above everything society does and use the excuse of "not fitting in" or something ridiculous like that make me go blahhh.

The romance between these two was so explosive.
“We don't fit in, you and me," he said. "We're both oddities no one knows what to do with. But we fit together." He took her hand, pressed her palm to his, then laced their fingers through each other's. "We fit.” 
Is that quote not just full of swoon? That's how it was between Beth and Ian. A whole lot of sweet swoon because Ian was rather precious ♥ However, Beth didn't shelter him and protect him like his brothers did.
I do not think of him as Lord Ian Mackenzie, aristocratic brother of a duke and well beyond my reach; not as the Mad Mackenzie, an eccentric people stare at and whisper about.
To me, he is simply Ian.
This goes back to the previous quote, how Ian and Beth fit together perfectly because they understood each other. Beth knew how to handle Ian and and Ian behaved in his own, sort of unusual way that worked for beth. It was great. Plus the book was hawt. Talk about the perfect book!
“He pulled her close. "Your being with me makes it stop. It's like the Ming bowls - when I touch them and feel them, everything stops. You are the same. That is why I brought you here, to keep you with me, where you can please make...everything...stop.” 
The MacKenzie clan, Ian's brothers, all made frequent appearances in this book. Hart. Cameron & his son Daniel. Mac and the wife he's separated from, Iseballa. I loved all of them and I'll definitely get my hands on their books soon but I'm trying to pace myself instead of reading the entire series in one week. I also loved Curry who is Ian's valet. I just loved everything about this book, even the mystery plot that played throughout the book and the craziness it brought (an unrelenting inspector, prostitutes, secret bastards, murder, etc.) so if you haven't read The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie and you're a fan of historical romance, you need to get this book immediately!

Rating: [A] A new favorite! An epic beginning to a family series that I'm sure is going to rock my socks off.
"I find that a Ming bowl is like woman's breast,"
"Because you have beautiful eyes."
"How do you know? You've not once looked at them."
"I know."
"Why can't ladies ride like men?"
"With a horse between your legs?" Cameron's gold flecked eyes went wide, and he touched his fingers to his mouth like a shocked, elderly maiden. "What kind of woman did you marry, Ian?"

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