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The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie by…

The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie (edition 2009)

by Jennifer Ashley (Author)

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6666214,402 (4.09)20
Title:The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie
Authors:Jennifer Ashley (Author)
Info:Leisure Books (2009), Mass Market Paperback
Collections:Your library, Historical Romance, ebooks

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The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie by Jennifer Ashley


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Showing 1-5 of 59 (next | show all)
As usual, I regret that I didn’t review this sooner. My memories of this book are fuzzier than I’d like, but at least I took notes while reading. I’ll do the best I can.

Beth Ackerley used to be an elderly woman’s companion until the woman died and left everything to her. Now Beth is a wealthy but lonely widow. She thinks that marrying Lyndon Mather will help relieve her loneliness, until Lord Ian Mackenzie warns her about Mather’s mistresses. Since her idea about remarrying didn’t work out, Beth decides to travel to Paris and spend her time painting instead (never mind that she has never painted before in her life).

The thing is, Ian has decided that Beth is going to be his wife - not because he has fallen instantly in love with her, but rather because he wants to have sex with her, and sex with a respectable lady like Beth requires marriage (even Beth wonders at the logic of this). He follows her to Paris, where she asks that the two of them be lovers, but nothing more. The situation is complicated by several murders. An inspector warns Beth that Ian is probably the killer and can’t be trusted, while Beth finds herself unable to believe that Ian could ever murder anyone. But Ian is definitely hiding something

I had heard lots of good things about this book when it first came out. It’s been sitting in my TBR for ages, and a recent Booklikes Romance Readalong gave me a reason to finally dig into it. It...was not what I’d hoped for.

One of the appeals of this book is its unusual hero, who the author wrote as having Asperger’s syndrome. Those exact words were never used in the text - Ian was instead called “mad” and committed to an insane asylum by his own father when he was only 10 years old. He was later released by his eldest brother. In the book’s present, Ian obsessively collects Ming bowls and considers himself incapable of love.

I’d love to read a review of this book written by someone with Asperger’s. I wasn’t entirely sure how I felt about this aspect of the book. On the one hand, the details of Ian’s behavior fit with what little I knew about Asperger’s. On the other hand, I wondered about the accuracy of the book’s depiction of Ian’s relationships with others.

It bugged me, a lot, that for most of the book Ian couldn’t seem to interact with Beth in any way except sexually. Sometimes they talked about their personal lives, but their conversations almost always veered towards sex, even before Beth broke off her engagement to Mather (which, by the way, struck me as hypocritical). I expect romance novels to have actual romance in them, but for the most part this book just had lusting and sex. And as much as Beth referred to Ian as her “friend,” there was also very little in the way of what I’d call “friendship building” scenes.

There were some nice moments. For example, I loved the scene in which Beth rattled off some details about Ian’s newest Ming bowl acquisitions and then told Ian that she’d picked up a book on the subject. This was the kind of thing I’d have liked to see more of. Unfortunately, I could probably count these kinds of lovely scenes on one hand. I felt like Beth and Thomas, Beth’s deceased husband, had a stronger and more appealing on-page relationship than Beth and Ian. Awkward.

Aside from my issues with Ian and Beth’s almost purely sexual relationship, I also had problems with Beth in particular. For a woman who considered herself to be at least a little worldly, she had terrible self-preservation instincts. That’s the only thing I can think of to explain her decision to ask Ian to be her lover when, only minutes before, an inspector told her that Ian might be a murderer. I couldn’t understand why Beth believed in Ian so strongly. I mean, through less rosy lenses Ian’s behavior could easily have been interpreted as that of a predator. Shortly after meeting Beth, he told her things he knew would prompt her to end her engagement to Mather. Then he relentlessly pursued her, despite only recently having met her. Oh, and he also attempted to strangle the inspector right in front of her.

Then there was the scene in which Beth agreed to marry Ian. I loathed that scene and, if I had been Beth, I’d have held what Ian and Mac did against them for a long time. They decided they knew what was best for her, and then they did their best to make sure she had little choice but to go along with them. I wish she had raged at them, or been icily angry at them. Instead she just gave in. Some of the best moments in Ian and Beth’s relationship happened after this point, but absolutely none of it was good enough to make up for that one scene. I’m not a book thrower, but I came very close to doing just that.

Anyway, the mystery subplot was interesting and kept me going, even though the resolution was messy and unsatisfying. This was a quick read that kept my attention, but unfortunately it wasn't anywhere near as good as I had expected it to be. Also, none of the very obvious sequel-bait left me with a desire to read anything else in this series. Mac and Isabella’s relationship, in particular, struck me as being more unpleasant than intriguing.

(Original review posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.) ( )
  Familiar_Diversions | Mar 5, 2017 |
This is my first historical novel. Although it is set in 1881, I felt the story could be current if it wasn't for the prose. I'll be reading more in this series and the dashing Mackenzies..

...“Why is she so stubborn? And disobedient?” Cameron barked a laugh. “Because Mackenzies always choose headstrong women. You didn’t really expect her to obey you, did you? No matter what the marriage vows say?” ( )
  Sunshine22222 | Feb 19, 2017 |
The Madness of Lord Ian MacKenzie
4 Stars

Lord Ian Mackenzie has spent most of his life in an asylum and has a reputation for being hard, handsome, dangerous and ... eccentric. Ian has never wanted anything in life more than he wants Beth Ackerly and is willing to do anything to win her. Unfortunately, Beth only wants a quiet life without drama, and life with Ian will be anything but because someone in London is killing prostitutes and Ian is the prime suspect.

A sweet and heart-wrenching romance with an original premise.

Ian suffers from Asperger's Syndrome, a mild form of autism, which was considered madness in Victorian times. Ashley's portrayal of the nuances of the disorder is both accurate and sympathetic with the descriptions of his experiences in the asylum particularly heartbreaking. That said, his immediate attraction to Beth and the ease with which he comes to love her is a little unrealistic. Beth is an intelligent, independent, patient and compassionate heroine. The development of her relationship with Ian is slow and steady, and their scenes together are very sexy, steamy and emotional.

Most of secondary characters are fleshed out nicely, including Ian's brothers, each with their own unique and difficult past, and the overzealous detective who hides an interesting secret (he reminded me of Detective Fix in Around the World in 80 Days). Other characters are more superficial, such as Beth's former fiance, and the person involved in the murders.

There are some minor issues with the writing, such as repetitious phrasing and jarring word choices, as well as the fact that Beth's hair color is not mentioned until well into the book. However, the most significant problem is the murder mystery, which could have been better developed. It is cobbled together haphazardly and seems to be more of an afterthought than a cohesive plot device.

Overall, this is a quick and entertaining read that deals with some taboo issues that are not the usual fare for historical romance - kudos to Ashley for her daring. Ian's brothers are intriguing and I look forward to finding out more about them as individuals in the rest of the series. ( )
  Lauren2013 | Nov 19, 2016 |
Lord Ian is decidedly eccentric, he tries very hard to pretend normal, he spent too much time in an insane asylum before not to regard passing as normal as being very important. He values his china and his peace and never intended to woo Beth, never mind propose marriage. But he feels that she's valuable, that they would be a good couple, that they both could be good for each other. Beth finds that she can be more herself with Ian, not a helper of another but a person in her own right, with her own feelings and ideas and that he would respect her.

I enjoyed these two and the story and would like more. ( )
  wyvernfriend | Nov 17, 2016 |
Really well done disability story, although Ian doesn't really have a disability so much as he thinks differently than others do. Not sure that I want to read any others in this series 1) due to the whole Scottish thing (which I am really not into, at all) and 2) the other brothers just seemed like complete asshole/psychopaths. I am not interested in people like that finding a HEA. But as for this story, the 'ship was slow and thought out, I didn't care for the "mystery" part but saw the purpose to the plot (it wasn't very side-story), and overall wanted the H/H to get their stuff straight. Satisfying, but like I said... Don't really want to visit the rest of the family. ( )
  GoldenDarter | Sep 15, 2016 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Jennifer Ashleyprimary authorall editionscalculated
Dawe, AngelaNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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I find that a Ming bowl is like a woman's breast, Sir Lyndon Mather said to Ian Mackenzie, who held the bowl in question between his fingertips.
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In the aristocratic circles of London, 1881, everyone says Lord Ian McKenzie is crazy--and possibly a murderer--but a young widow longing for passion is determined to bare the truth about the dashing and darkly charming Scotsman.

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