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.
Warning: This review contains plenty of superlative terms, all of them deserved. This book has been placed on my virtual favorites bookshelf and Jennifer Ashley’s Goodreads Author Page now has a new ardent follower.
The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie centers around a very popular trope: a “broken” man who is not interested in pretty much anything around him until he meets that one woman who grounds him, calms him, makes him able to handle the world and the people in it better. I used to secretly crave for a boyfriend like that, someone who hates the world but loves only me. Turned out I wasn’t the only one: my best friend also had similar cravings. Because this craving isn’t really about that man, it’s about us. It’s about me. *I* am the special one, *I* am the different one, *I* am the one who saved him.
Right from the beginning, Lord Ian has been a very straightforward and unapologetic man. He is wealthy, well-protected by a fleet of brothers and one dedicated man servant and does exactly what he pleases. He was also greatly misunderstood as a child and horridly abused as a result of it. There were more than enough instances throughout the book that shed light on what Lord Ian had gone through in the asylum and they painted a cruel, frightening picture. But at no point did I think it was over done or that the writer was simply milking it to garner more sympathy for the hero. Beth has demons of her own but this one’s no shrinking violet. She’s smart, unafraid and smitten; just the way I like them.
The book itself was exceedingly well written, paced just right and kept me enthralled. A dangerous, handsome man intent on ravishing you (I mean, Beth), meddlesome, eccentric family members, murderous family members, prejudiced police officers and a gruesome murder mystery.
The best part about romance novel series like this is that the brother(s) or best friend(s) you meet in the first novel are usually the heroes in the later books. This way, you also get to keep in touch with the hero and heroine from the initial books and find out what they’ve been up to. Which is mostly babies, but still.
There is literally nothing about the book that I did not like. Nothing.