“The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie is the first book in a new series, Highland Pleasures by Jennifer Ashley. Ian Mackenzie spent most of his childhood locked up in an asylum until his brother, the Duke of Kilmorgan came to his rescue. Since then, he has been living his life as normal as he can. Up until he meets Beth Ackerley, that is. Mrs. Ackerley is engaged to a broke playboy, Lyndon Mather. Ian is an expert at appraising treasure and once he lays eyes on Beth he is certain she is a rare and very valuable treasure, one that would certainly be waisted on Mather. He proceeds to break up their engagement and is determined to make Beth his wife.
Wow, what a treat! I might as well jump on the bandwagon along with everybody else who has written a glowing review of this book. I really enjoyed it. Ian was such an unusual character in that he is depicted as being mad. He isn't really mad. He's quite brilliant actually. I loved how when he focuses on something, he really, really focuses on it. He gets tunnel vision. Everything else fades into he background. So, imagine the intensity when Beth becomes his focus. I can sum it up in one word - Yum!
This is the first time I have ever had the pleasure of reading something by Jennifer Ashley. I am honestly shaking my head in wonderment at how this can be, because she is a wonderful writer. This book had all the things I love in a romance. She has great dialogue between her characters, great pacing and the characters are very vivid. Even the secondary characters who have enticed me to keep coming back for more.
If I had to have one complaint it would be how Beth handles a few things. There is a murder mystery part of the plot and Beth gets it into her head that she needs to solve this murder or Ian will be forever hunted down my the dastardly inspector. She has a few TSTL (To Stupid To Live) moments where her safety and judgement are in question. Other than that, I loved it! I can't wait to read more!”
“this book is so fun to read! I cant wait until the rest in the series comes out but i will be waiting along time for that! the characters are engaging and the plot is complicated without being confusing. i love the way the Ian views his family and the madness in the end of the book. this book was so good and introduced all the mackenzies so well i cant decide which story i want to read most. either cams or macs i think”Hanna M wrote this review Friday, August 21, 2009. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“I've never read a historical romance. In fact, I didn't think it would be something I would enjoy, even though I love Masterpiece theatre, Mystery!, Agatha Christie, Sherlock Holmes, Jane Austin, etc. Yup, I was dumb. Thankfully a writer that I feel is fabulous, had Jennifer Ashley as a guest blogger. Her description of this book and the first chapter excerpt hooked me. I was intrigued by a historical novel that combines mystery, romance, and a little mental illness (or as it was assumed to be at that time). It was wonderful and thoroughly enjoyed it. I eagerly await her next novel in this new series.”Una wrote this review Monday, August 17, 2009. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“I love historical romance. This had an interesting twist. It was one of those stories you can't put down.”Aunt Fav wrote this review Tuesday, July 21, 2009. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“I LOVED this book. Jennifer Ashley tells a brilliant story with amazing characters and fabulous emotion. Every character is larger than life and there was not a single sentence that I skimmed. Can't say enough good things about Lord Ian and Beth.”Erin Quinn wrote this review Sunday, June 28, 2009. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“2.5 stars”East of Oz wrote this review Friday, May 29, 2009. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Extraordinary and unexpected hero. Vividly real. Loved it.”cindy holby wrote this review Wednesday, May 27, 2009. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“I really enjoyed this book. I loved Ian and thought the author did a good job”Debra V wrote this review Sunday, May 17, 2009. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Ian MacKenzie is one of the most unique heroes I think I’ve ever read. He suffers from what we know is a form of Autism. He had spent many years of his childhood in an insane asylum and as we know – they weren’t very nice places to be. But he was finally rescued by his oldest brother Hart, the very powerful Duke of Kilmorgan.
We first meet Ian when he is purchasing an ancient bowl from an unscrupulous fortune hunter. The dastardly dude goes on to boast about his conquests and his plans to continue despite getting married.
Beth Ackerly is the fiancé and heroine in question and she first meets our hero Ian at the theatre where he slips her a note explaining that her fiancé is Not a Nice Man.
Ian is……..what can I say about him that would do him justice? The word Unique works. He is totally and utterly without guile and says what he thinks – exactly what he thinks. He doesn’t know how to hide his thoughts. And he doesn't understand humour - no matter how Beth tries to make him smile. Beth is quite nonplussed by him, yet very attracted at the same time. And though he is very physically attracted to her, he tells Beth that he will never love her, not that he doesn’t want to love her, he is just incapable of it.
Because of his autism, he is unable to look her in the eyes though he wants to. His brain just shuts down when he tries. Although unable to love (or so he says – but this is a romance) he is very possessive of her and once he stakes his claim so to speak, becomes outraged to the point of violence whenever anyone – such as her now former fiancé – dares to try and harm her.
I think the closest I can think of in terms of the kind of hero he makes is Simple Jess by Pamela Morisi. But Ian isn’t simple – not by any means. Instead he borders on brilliant to genius in many areas. He is alternately touchingly naïve and incredibly, sexily experienced. Because he is out of touch with emotions, he uses his senses a lot and in some very inventive ways.
And the heroine Beth; she is an equally incredible heroine. Although she doesn’t understand Ian exactly, she accepts him as he is for all of his oddness. And she is touchingly, wonderfully protective of him – to the point of going toe to toe with his powerful brother the duke when she thinks Hart is just using him for his brilliant math skills and recall abilities. I just loved her to pieces. Although quite wealthy, she came by the wealth in a different kind of way. She started her life in the slums of London and slowly moved her way up in life. So unlike many historical heroines, she is quite savvy and as she is also a widow, she has experienced the pleasures of intimacy. When Ian and Beth are together, the chemistry is combustible. These are two vividly drawn characters. In addition to our main characters, there are also Ian’s brothers. Indulgent, protective, confused – all are ways they relate to their younger, ‘different’ brother, they are equally vivid characters and all the way through the book I kept hoping they would get their own stories and I don’t normally think like that. And I’m very happy to say they are, though it looks like I’ll have to wait for a while until I get to their stories. I was even most impressed with Curry, Ian’s valet and general care-taker and errand runner.
As if to die for hero and heroine and great secondary characters weren’t enough, there is an interesting mystery to boot. There is an Inspector Javert type character who is investigating the murder of a young woman in a brothel a couple of years previously and following the MacKenzie clan. When another young woman related to the original murder is found dead, he is bound and determined that it is young Ian who did the killing and will do just about anything to try and prove it including trying to undermine the budding romance between Ian and Beth.
“This is really a refreshing book. The hero, Ian MacKenzie, has Asperger. He was institutionalized by his father at an early age. He was finally freed by his oldest brother after many years in the asylum.
Beth, the heroine, is a widow. She was happily married but her husband died within a year of marriage. Because of her life experiences, Beth grasps life with both hands.
When the two met, Ian knows instantly that they are meant to be. In his brutally honest way (remember he has Asperger), he tells Beth so. But, he also tells her that he can never love her. Ian believes that he can't love because of his condition. The rest of the book tells the story of their struggle for their "happlily ever after".
I love this book because it is not often that you read about a hero with real life issues...issues that will not disappear at the end of the book. From Ian's unorthodox way of appraising Ming pottery to his brutal honesty, the author did a fantastic job depicting Ian's condition. With Beth's fortitude and unflinching support, she is the perfect mate for Ian. It is great to see him with someone that he can depend on to love and help him through life.
I know I didn't give much detail, that is because I want you to read it for yourself.”