The Many Sins of Lord Cameron (Jennifer Ashley)

Overall Response

For some reason, when I've read this book over the years, I've always skipped the first half of the book when Cam and Ainsley are in Scotland. I think I used to feel like the narrative dragged until that point, but rereading it this time--I can't imagine why I ever thought that way. So much happens in those first 150 pages or so.

Cameron has been one of my favorite characters since we first met him in The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie. There were hints that his background was particularly tragic, and as hard and tough as he seemed, his love for his son was evident. Cam and Daniel usually stole every scene in Madness and Lady Isabella's Scandalous Marriage. Ainsley had popped up, I think, first in the second book. She may have been mentioned in the first book, but  I don't remember her. There's not much to her in that appearance, but that fits into who she is as a character: someone who has made a decision to blend in and be useful to others.

This book is darker than I think either of the first two books. Though Ian and Mac had their own issues (and Ian's time in the asylum and childhood is horrific), Cam's story is very dark and when Ainsley pushes him to make changes and come out of his shell, I almost want her to just stop bringing it up. To stop making her remember. It's beautifully done but emotionally draining.

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Lady Isabella’s Scandalous Marriage (Jennifer Ashley)

Overall Response

I liked Mac and Isabella so much in The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie that I remember pre-ordering this book, staying up until it downloaded onto my Nook at like 12:15 AM and then reading the whole thing in a few hours. One of my absolute favorite tropes in romance is a story in which the characters marry either at the beginning or shortly after the book begins. One of the tropes I actually like less is marriages in which there have been separations and now they're reuniting. This is generally because when a married couple separates, particularly in this time period, it's usually through the bad behavior of one of them. I actually hate unfaithful couples -- it's so hard for me to look past it. I know, it's prudish of me, but I know what I like.

That was not the issue here, thankfully. Mac and Isabella separated three years prior to the beginning of this story because Mac was too much--he drank too much, he partied too much, and he just wasn't really emotionally healthfully enough to be in a marriage, and I think Isabella was just too young to really know how to do anything about it until it reached the breaking point.

I loved watching them find their way back to one another and deal with life throughout the book. There is a decent amount of plot in this book with a wide supporting cast, but it never feels like overkill. It just feels like Isabella and Mac are getting to know each other again, realizing who they are underneath it all. I loved this book so much -- almost more than the first book though that's pretty difficult to say.

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The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie (Jennifer Ashley)

Overall Response

I am ridiculously excited to be starting this series because I don't think I've ever read it all the way through and there are at least two books I haven't read at all (the newest ones The Stolen Mackenzie Bride and Alec Mackenzie's Art of Seduction have been sitting on my TBR pile).

I remember that I bought this book on the strength of a recommendation, but I have no memory of where that rec came from. I was drawn in by the unconventional hero, Ian, who is written as being on what we understand today as the autism spectrum. I loved every inch of this book, and Ian is one of the characters I enjoy following as he pops up again and again.

There's something quite moving about the way Jennifer Ashley writes Ian Mackenzie as a character who has a mental illness and yet it doesn't in anyway make him less deserving of love. I loved her depiction of the love between Ian and Beth as it grew, and the supporting cast launched in this book makes me eager to keep reading.  The plot is pretty good as well -- it keeps you guessing and I had actually forgotten the full resolution because it had been several years since I had reread it.

But my favorite part is probably just the lush way Jennifer Ashley writes and her care with the time period and historical background. This is one of my favorite books, and I'm so glad I decided to do this series for this project even if it is the longest one.

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