Monday, 31 May 2010

DIK Challenge Review - The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie by Jennifer Ashley

My pick for May is The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie one of KristieJ's choices, and a book that has proven very popular in the challenge. I've read quite a few reviews of it, and I guess that's one of the reasons I chose it. Regular readers of the blog will know that I'm not really a fan of historicals BUT my DIK pick success rate continues this is another book that I enjoyed and I'm looking forward to reading the remaining books in the Mackenzie series (even though I'm going to have to wait 'til 2012 'til they're all released).

TMoLIM tells the story of Lord Ian Mackenzie who was placed in an asylum as a youth and only released on the death of his father. The tragedy is that today he would probably have been diagnosed with a form of autism, but instead he was subjected to ice baths and electric shock treatments in an effort to cure him. Released from the asylum by his brother, he has used his talents to increase his family's fortunes. Lord Ian has an intrinsic appreciation for the true value of things, whether it's a priceless Ming bowl or Beth, the fiance of another man.

The thing I loved most about the story is how completely Jennifer Ashley is able to put the reader into Ian's point of view. She really makes you appreciate how he perceives things and how his inability to interact with people causes them to misunderstand him. Also how difficult it makes it for Beth to find her place in the relationship she has with Ian - he is quite clear that he doesn't understand what love is. Too often in romances I feel that the 'I love you's' come too soon and the emotions come after. That wasn't the case here.

Although one of the main plots of TMoLIM deals with the fact that Ian is suspected of carrying out a murder by an obsessed Scotland Yard detective, what made the story for me was the developing relationship between Ian and Beth.

Beth has been in love before, she's had a good if somewhat comfortable marriage. Ian, on the other hand can understand desire and want, the almost logical emotions if you will, but love is a concept that eludes him.
"I wouldn't expect love from you. I can't love you back."
However, it is almost like he understands that in her, he can somehow 'touch' what is absent in himself. He is drawn to her and is painfully honest about his intentions.

This was also a good introduction to the Mackenzie series and family. There are four brothers - Ian, Mac, Cameron and Hart - and obviously they are each getting their own story. TMoLIM serves not only as Ian's story but it also sketches out the family background, we get intriguing hints about Mac's relationship with his estranged wife, Hart's sexual predilections, and the tragedy of Cameron's marriage. None of these overshadow the main story, just leave you wanting to know more.

The relationship between Ian and Beth develops over the course of the book and is one of the most rewarding m/f romances I have read recently. And even though it's a historical :), this is definitely a series I will be following

4 comments:

Sullivan McPig said...

sounds like quite a heavy story for a romance.

Tracy said...

Oh I just adored this book to pieces. Ian is just so incredibly lovable and beth is just perfect for him. I love how Ashley made them so different yet the same. Good stuff.

Kristie (J) said...

I'm so glad you loved this one - even though historicals aren't your normal fare. I just adore everything about this book - and best of all - the next one is out soon now.

LesleyW said...

Sullivan - I didn't make it to sound too angsty. The story is well worth reading and beautifully written.

Tracy - Yep, I really liked this one.

Krisite - I love it when there's not long to wait til the next book. :)