Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Recent Read **Update**

I don't often (in fact this is a first) repost older posts - but now that this book is out and is on the shelves, here is this post revisited.
This one is one of those special books and even after reading it twice, it's still calling to me.

I HIGHLY recommend you give this one a read - HIGHLY, HIGHLY HIGHLY

The Madness of Lord Ian MacKenzie by Jennifer Ashley

Why this one: I received an ARC, I’ve read her previous historicals and really enjoyed them and someone on a message board had also read an ARC and really enjoyed it.

Steam Level: Oh – this one boils very nicely, yes indeedy very nicely!

Author Website Blurb:

Because this isn’t due out until May, this is all I could find on the authors web site:

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 Mackenzi
e, spent most of his young life in an asylum, and everyone agrees he is decidedly odd. H
e'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 alco
holic 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.

Back Cover Blurb:

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. Y

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.

I think that is a bit misleading at the beginning. It wasn’t whispered all through London Society – mainly just the ex-fiance and the police inspector. But other then that it’s a pretty good description.

My Thoughts: 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 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 her 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 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 a 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 few years previously and has been following the MacKenzie clan, knowing they were somehow involved. 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.

Heck - I even love the title of this book. It too is different and unique.

This review is much longer then the usual ones I write but there is so much going on; so much to look forward to, that even this lengthy review doesn’t begin to cover this fascinating and wonderful story.

Unfortunately – this one doesn’t come out until May. But I will revisit this post when it does as this book really deserves to get buzzed. My advice? Circle the date this one comes out in your book buying calendars

Grade: 5 out of 5


Anonymous said...

This one sounds good, Kristie! I want to say I'll keep an eye out but I'm on a diet. A diet, that apparently you are not helping me with, lol. Have a great weekend!!

Lea said...

This sounds like an excellent read Kristie.

And, an autistic hero is extremely unique!

Thank You :)

azteclady said...

You know, I really should stop hanging out with you guys. Have you seen my TBR mountain range? Hare you????


*marks calendar*

Unknown said...

Hi Kristie

This sounds really interesting and I'll definitely give it a look. I've been looking for a good Scottish highlander type book seeing how Karen Marie Moning is abstaining for a bit. I have to say my interest has been peaked! I can't wait for her Dreamfever book to come out, I'm sure I'll find a MacKelter weaved into the story somewhere.

Dottie :)

orannia said...

Thank you Kristie! I have to say I really want to read this book now. I'll definitely being keeping an eye out for it!

Lori said...

Wow - great review. I will definitely keep this one on the radar. Thanks, Kristie!

Amy C said...

I am getting this one, Kristie. It sounds sehr gut!

Anonymous said...

This sounded interesting right from the beginning but you really had me when you compared it SIMPLE JESS. Not that I ever read that *g* but it's one of those oop books I would just love to read.

*marks date*

AnimeJune said...

Wow - what an excellent review. I love me some intriguing heroes and this sounds really sweet. I've known people with asperger's (milder autism) and how hard it is to connect with people. I'll definitely keep an eye on it!

sula said...

great review, Kristie. I don't know what I'd do without my blog friends pointing out books to look forward to. This one sounds really unique. Will tuck it away in my memory for later.

VampFanGirl said...

Wow, this novel sounds really good. What a totally different concept for a historical romance. The hero also seems incredibly interesting. I've never read anything by this author but I think I'll give this novel a try when it releases.

Thanks for the wonderful and insightful review.


C2 said...

Oooh, I'm so intrigued! Thanks Kristie - I needed to add another book to my Coming Soon list.


Renee said...

Ya got me, Kristie! Sounds really intriguing. I'm adding it to the upcoming books list! :-)

Anonymous said...

Ooo, that sounds so intriguing! I have an autistic son, so I'll be very interested to read that portrayal.

(My son has no trouble at all expressing affection with us, btw. I have hopes he will overcome his other difficulties enough to be a hero to somebody someday. :-) ) -- willaful

CindyS said...

Kristie - you are the best!! I really want to read this one so I'm writing it down. I love unique characters - I read about Ian and Beth and then skimmed the rest of the review because I didn't want anymore spoilers.

Can't wait!


Marg said...

I really need to get back to reading Jennifer Ashley. I have a number of her novels here to read.

Kristie (J) said...

Marg: I have a few of her paranormals in the TBR pile so I can't vouch for them - but her historicals are excellent.

Cindy: If you like unique heroes - this is THE one

Willaful: I don't know anyone with children who have autism - but from what I've heard and read and the way Ian is, it seems that she did a good job in describing him.

Renee: Good! *g* cause this is a Very Good One

C2: I know, I know - when you start seeing recommendations you are of two minds - one says "I have to get this one!" and the other says "oh no!! Not another one!" :-}

VampFanGirl: He was a very, very interesting hero - with a heroine who was perfect for him.

Sula: *g* I will mention this one again when it's time for release date because it really is one that shouldn't be missed by romance readers

AnimeJune: It is very sweet - the relationship between Ian and Beth. And I'm curious to see what you think of it in relation to his autism and his connecting with people. In his own unique way he does do a fine job - it's just different from most peoples.

Taja: Simple Jess is a very sweet book and if you ever find it, you simply must pick it up. In some ways Jess and Ian are polar opposites - but in other ways very similar. But both are very unique.

Amy: I'd be willing to bet it is 'sehr gut' *giggle* whatever that is.

Lori: And I will be reminding everyone again. I wasn't sure about doing a review on a book so far ahead of release date - but since I'm still basking in the glow - I had to while that glow was still glowing

orannia: It' work keeping an eye out for!! It's truly wonderful!

Dottie: *g* I think it will meet your hankering for a good Scottish historical - and when we get to Hart's story - well I imagine it will really meet that need :)

AL: I hear you!! But what can I do? I read, I love, I share - it's the nature of the blog heh heh heh

Lea: It is most wonderfully excellent and unique.

Barbara: *g* What I said to AL - I simply can't help it.

Marg said...

I've read and really enjoyed all of her pirate books, but just haven't read any more, and there's no real reason. I really do want to!

Eva S said...

I've been waiting for more books in her Nvengaria series, but this one sounds like something else... I'll add it to my long, long list, thanks!

Kristie (J) said...

Eva S: *g* I feel kind of bad about making your long, long list longer - but this one is a very good one. I've only read her historicals so far but they are very good and without quesiton this one is the best so far!!

Marg: I adored her first pirate books too - then I read one that I didn't care for The Care and Feeding of Pirates I think and while I continued to buy her books - the went into the TBR pile instead of the next up pile. Of course my next up pile is constantly changing anyway. But I am ever so glad that this one WAS a next up book - and I read it.

nath said...

Sounds like a great book, Kristie! me think I will be getting it :D I'm glad that it comes out in May, because so far, my list of releases for that month is pitiful!

Kristie (J) said...

Nath: Ah good then - you can get this one :-) I'm willing to be it will be your favourite May book.

Anonymous said...

Great review Kristie! I hope others enjoy this book as much as you and I did.. xina

Kris said...

I don't read many historicals, but am very tempted by this book. Ian sounds fascinating.

Kristie (J) said...

Xina: I have to thank you!! It was reading your thoughts on it that put it to the top of the massive TBR pile. I imagine you will be looking forward as much as me to see what others think to when it comes out. Now May seems so far away doesn't it?

Kris: Even if historicals aren't your main cup of tea - I think you will like it. Ian IS a very fascinating, very well written and very well written hero.

Amy C said...

HAHA! Sehr gut means very good in German. The giggle made me laugh, like sehr gut might be soemthing naughty :).

orannia said...

Am still keeping an eye out for it (and it's on my TBR list). Fingers crossed the library orderes it...or I may just have to nudge them a bit *wink*

nath said...

LOL, it's on my list :) I'm going to order it this week-end (cos I know it will be impossible to find in-store :P)

Leah said...

EvaS: There's more Nvengaria to come in October with A CHRISTMAS BALL.

KristieJ: Thanks so much for the reminder now that the book is out.

There's a Twitter book club discussion going on under the hash tag #lordian if you want to check it out.

Mari said...

I just bought the book can't wait to read it!

Kwana said...

I'm sold!!