Posted by: Jennifer | May 26, 2009

The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie – Jennifer Ashley

Ashley, Jennifer. The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie. (New York: Leisure, 2009). ISBN – 9780843960433.

Main Characters: Lord Ian Mackenzie and Mrs. Beth Ackerley


Date: 1881

Related Works: This is the first in Jennifer Ashley’s new series, Highland Pleasures.

  • The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie– story of Lord Ian Mackenzie and Mrs. Beth Ackerley
  • Lady Isabella’s Scandalous Marriage – story of Lord Mac and Lady Isabella Mackenzie – to be published in mid 2010
  • The Many Sins of Lord Cameron – story of Lord Cameron Mackenzie and ?? – no publication date
  • The Duke Takes a Wife– story of the Duke of Kilmorgan, Hart Mackenzie – no publication date

Description from book:

It was whispered all through London Society that he was a murderer, that he’d spent his youth in an asylum and was not to be trusted – especially with a lady. Any woman caught in his presence was immediately ruined. Yet Beth found herself inexorably drawn to the Scottish lord whose hint of a brogue wrapped around her like silk and whose touch could draw her into a world of ecstasy. Despite his decadence and intimidating intelligence, she could see he needed help. Her help. Because suddenly the only thing that made sense to her was . . . The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie.

My Thoughts:

This was a book that I wasn’t entirely sure about from reading its description. This year, I decided that I needed to seriously cut back on my impulse book purchases. Last year, I read a number of books that I was very disappointed with (and thus, not terribly happy that I had spent money on). So, I was hesitant about this book. However, I needed books to read this past weekend while I was at my mother-in-law’s house. As such, I went to the bookstore on Saturday and bought several books, of which The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie was one.

And just a note to anyone who might be reading and wondering about the impact of the internet on book sales, one of the reasons that I did deliberately go looking for this book to read was because of the reviews that I had read online. I was rather intrigued by comments of several reviewers. So, I probably would not have bought this book if not for information that I read about the book online. I do find myself relying upon online buzz by bloggers and reviewers to make many of my reading choices.

The bottom line: I am SO thrilled that I decided to buy this book. I absolutely loved it. As a huge fan of tortured heroes, I was enamored with Lord Ian Mackenzie. Ian was born different – and no one really understood him. He had uncontrollable rages, problems with language and tended to get distracted easily. When he saw his father kill his mother, his father immediately had him declared mad and confined him to an asylum where he was subjected to unspeakable tortures that were disguised as treatments. Fortunately, his brother was able to free Ian when their father died. Yet, the stigma of madness remained.

Mrs Ackerley is quite an engaging heroine as well. In the beginning, I wasn’t too sure about someone who could become engaged to Sir Mather. But, Beth acquitted herself quite well. She was drawn to Ian as soon as she met him – and was able to see the man behind the behaviors that had so often gotten him labelled as mad. I absolutely adored the way she fought for Ian, the way she stood up to his older brother Hart, and the way she was determined to find the murderer. The Mackenzies were all so afraid that one of their own was the murderer that they could not see what was so apparent to Beth.

I think it important to note that I do not know a great deal about Asperger’s Syndrome (which is what Ian has according to Jennifer Ashley’s website). Yet, I thought that Ashley did a wonderful job portraying Ian and his “madness.” He does not get better. He is who he is. He has trouble with crowds. He has trouble following conversations. He gets lost in the middle of conversations. He has trouble picking up nuances and subtleties. He can’t really follow social niceties. He isn’t your typical hero – and this might have made me love him more. He will always need to rely upon Beth – and upon his companion Curry – and upon his family.

I have to also say that I was similarly intrigued by the rest of Ian’s family: Hart, the duke; Cameron, Mac and Mac’s estranged wife Isabella. I am already looking forward to reading all of their stories. While Ian may be the only sibing suffereing from Asperger’s, all of the brothers seem to have some serious issues. Mac is estranged from his wife Isabella. He hasn’t spoken to her or acknowledged her since she left him. Cameron is scarred – possibly from the night that his wife died under dubious circumstances. And then there is Hart. We learned some rather disturbing things about his life, including the fact that he is an expert at sexual asphyxia. The Mackenzies are a fascinating lot.

First read May 26, 2009



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