Saturday, November 16, 2013

|Review| Lady Isabella's Scandalous Marriage by Jennifer Ashley

Published July 6th, 2010 by Berkley Sensation
Genre: historical romance
Rating: A
Goodreads summary:
Only one man could match a lady like this—scandal for scandal.

Six years ago, eighteen-year-old Lady Isabella Scranton scandalized all of London by eloping the night of her come-out ball with the notorious rake, Lord Mac Mackenzie. After three turbulent years of marriage, she scandalized London once again—this time by leaving him. 

Now Mac has resurfaced, every bit as charismatic, and with one goal: to seduce Isabella back into his life and his bed even if it means acting like a real gentleman. But when Isabella rises to the challenge of posing nude for Mac's erotic paintings, her pent-up hunger for the decadent rake is exposed as well, and she finds herself unable to resist the smooth strokes of an artist at work.

But someone's been watching them—dangerously close. This ingenious forger with designs on Mac's paintings also sets his sights on Isabella herself. Deciding to become Isabella's protector, Mac vows to never leave her side, whether his independent and proud lady likes it or not.
Lady Isabella's Scandalous Marriage is the second book in the Highland Pleasures series and while I loved the first book, The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie |my review|, I did not think it could be topped because it's just THAT good, BUT Jennifer Ashley certainly delivered and equally fantastic historical romance!

Here's what's spectacular about Lady Isabella's Scandalous Marriage: Mac, the hero, loves his estranged wife, Isabella. Isabella loves the husband she left. Mac knows Isabella loves him. Isabella knows Mac loves her. Mac knows that Isabella knows that he knows that she loves him. Isabella knows that Mac knows that he knows she loves him. EVERYONE knows Mac and Isabella love each other so... what's the problem?

In romance books, we get to see the couple fall in love, have great sex, most likely slay some traumatic demons then get married and live happily ever after. What's next? This is Mac and Isabella's story. The Ever After years. Mac and Isabella met then they got married a few hours later because they were that smitten with each other. They have the awesome sex, they get to know each other a little bit, they have fun together and they fall in love. But in Mac's words:
"Passion without love and trust was empty,"
So this is the essence of Lady Isabella's Scandalous Marriage. Mac and Isabella have the passion and love but they needed to work on the trust part because newsflash: it takes more than love to actually be married to someone and I'm glad that a romance novel actually tackled this. There is no petty excuses or doubts in Lady Isabella's Scandalous Marriage and thank god for that. I need a break from "he loves me, he loves me not! She loves me, she loves me not!" drama and the "must protect my heart so I'm going to lie about my feelings" blah blah that's in a lot of romance books. Seeing Mac and Isabella come to learn how to manage their love for each other was awesome and I loved every second of this book. Congratulations to Jennifer Ashley for giving us an honest (and hot!) romance tale that breaks quite a few annoying romance "norms". To be honest, I don't know how I'm going to go read other historical romance books by other authors because I'm just obsessed with Jennifer Ashley's storytelling. It's historical romance at its best made better by the fact that Jennifer Ashley stays away from popular romance eye-rolling behavior.

If this book wasn't great enough, it was made even better by the side characters. I'm obsessed with the Mackenzie family. OBSESSED!!! And I don't say that lightly! I literally could read about the Mackenzie clan forever and ever. I was not joking, y'all, I have fallen in love with Jennifer Ashley's storytelling and characters and I don't want to read anything but the Highland Pleasures series. Just give me the Mackenzies. All I want is the Mackenzies written by the amazing Jennifer Ashley.

Fun fact: Mac's name? ROLAND Ferdinand "Mac" Mackenzie! This made me laugh.

Rating: [A] An excellent follow up to the excellent first book in the series, The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie. I'm officially obsessed with this series!

First:
Isabella’s footman rang the bell at the house of Lord Mac Mackenzie on Mount Street, while Isabella waited in the landau, wondering for the dozenth time since she’d set off whether this were wise.

Favorite:
"What she would see was a cock that had elongated into a rigid pole. She could hang her St. Leger Ladies' Day hat on it... and oh, Lord, why did he just just think of that?" LOLOL!

Teaser:
"What the devil are you doing her, Mac? And why is Isabella seving you breakfast instead of dropping you down the cistern?" "My house burned down," Mac said from behind his paper.

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