Monday, November 29, 2010

Book Review: The Madness of Lord Ian Mckenzie by Jennifer Ashley

What is great about The Madness of Lord Ian Mckenzie is that it has two protagonists that truly compliment one another. I never once doubted that Beth Ackerly was meant to be with Lord Ian Mckenzie. The two share a connection that is both romantic and touching to read. Each character in this book is well developed and given a generous amount of attention, allowing me to enjoy their many distinct personalities and quirks. While my favorite character is Ian, I loved the scenes that featured his man servant Curry and any one of his three brothers. The dynamic in this family is both humorous and heartbreaking. The brothers share so much love for one another but are divided, each nursing a wound that cannot heal. Beth Ackerly is a likable heroine with a wry sense of humor and a great deal of compassion for those around her. Her downfall is her curiosity and tendency to pry into matters that ought not to be disturbed.

The story focuses for the most part on Lord Ian Mckenzie, who is believed to be mad and a murderer. Ian was born with autism and as a young boy his strange behavior often made him a target for his father’s rages. Unable to blend in with others, Ian’s father forced him into an asylum where it was thought that his “sickness” could be cured. Fortunately, Ian’s eldest brother freed him from the asylum some years later, but even after Ian assumed his share of his family’s wealth and became widely known as brother to a Duke, he still found himself the subject of social ridicule. His perceived madness, coupled with his family’s reputation for scandal and the rumors that he is the prime suspect in a murder investigation forces Ian to have very little, if any contact with anyone outside of his family—that is, until he meets his beloved Beth. Ian, who has never desired anything other than to collect Ming bowls for his vast collection, makes it his mission to possess Beth for his own.

I don’t read historical romances very often, but when I do they are usually a joy to read. However, there is that saying that there can be too much of a good thing. In the case of The Madness of Lord Ian Mckenzie, sex is the one thing that there is too much of! I know that there will be those who disagree, but I need more than a marathon of sex to keep me interested and to kick start my libido. I would have preferred a little less sex and a lot more romance. Having Ian dive under Beth’s many petticoats at every available opportunity is fun and sexy to read at first, but gets old rather quickly. One scene that I loved in particular was in the beginning when the two first meet. Ian takes her hand in greeting, but refuses to let go during the entire exchange. He uses his thumb to trace the pattern on the back of her glove, filling her limbs with heat. The author writes, “He sat no closer than Mather did, but Beth’s awareness of him screamed at her. She could feel his hard knee against her skirts, the firm pressure of his thumb on her hand, the weight of his not-stare.” I much prefer scenes of this nature to the ones where they are naked and writhing. Seeing how the character’s relationship evolves is where the real romance can be found. Sex is just the icing on the cake.

Rating: 4/5 Stars


  1. I just learned on another blog that there's a writing guide called The Joy of Writing Sex. I have to admit, I'm curious! I'm with you, though -- the romance is where the real tension in a story lies, and the sex is a release of that tension. So if you really want to work up your readers, you gotta make 'em squirm (in a good way, of course)... ;-)

  2. Should you decide to take a look at this Joy of Sex writing guide, I think I should like to take a peek as well! LoL! :oP Now, I'm the one who is curious! Also, I completely agree that if you want to work up your readers you have to make them squirm a bit! Too much sex too early in the book just destroys all that delicious tension! Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment!

  3. AND you may be happy to know that the Bad Sex in Fiction Award was given just last night!