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.
One of my favorite moments with Ian and Beth is the way he explains that looking at her makes the world stop–that she’s like his precious Ming Bowls. There’s a subplot in one of the novellas about Beth and the bowls, and it’s just lovely to go all the way back to the beginning and appreciate how much Ian has grown as a character and what Beth and their children have brought to their head.
I did wish we’d seen another bit of Lyndon Mather, Beth’s quickly disposed of fiancé, only because I enjoyed his threats to sue for breach of contract. I worried when as I read that I wouldn’t be able to warm up to either Fellows or Hart in their own stories since there wouldn’t be as much time between the reads, but by the end, I had started to thaw towards them both and looked forward to seeing them grow in the series as well.