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 Mackenzie, spent most of his young life in an asylum, and everyone agrees he is decidedly odd. He'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 alcoholic 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.
Click to view on Amazon: The Madness of Lord Ian MackenzieThis book really surprised me. Beth was an amazing widow. She wasn't weepy and had taken her time to grieve her husband and now looked upon her time with him fondly and did not allow him to haunt any future relationships. She thought he would, but it turned out he taught her to love well enough that she could love Ian.
Speaking of Ian, Oh. My. Goodness. I really loved his character. I don't know if he was autistic or what, but he was an amazing character and Ashley really did a good job. I liked everything from his inability to make eye contact to his abrupt almost rude attitude towards everyone. They had such a charming story and I love the way he acted towards Beth and I thought it was hilarious but at the same time really touching when he would inspect the Ming bowls.
This book had been on my to read list forever and I am so glad I finally read it. I love series that have crazy big families in them and I almost wish that Ian's book had been the last in the series because that would have ended the series with a bang. I haven't read the other books in the series, but this book has definitely turned me on to the author so hopefully I will be able to read more soon!
Now, read the book! Then come back!
Okay, on to the meat of the story! There was the whole murder mystery thing going on here and for the first third of the book I thought that Ian had killed the two prostitutes. I never really thought that Hart did it, though it was set up for us to think that. I also didn't suspect that Lily was the one who killed Sally. I thought that Mrs. Palmer was the one who did it once they told us about her obsession with Hart. Which I also don't understand, but I have never understood the dynamic between a cougar and her catch, but who knows... maybe that will be me one day... a cougar, not a killer. And while Mrs. Palmer was the one who killed Lily, at first I wanted to hate her for it and for Hart for wanting to comfort her while she tied, but then I thought about how she was trying to protect him and how she stood by him for 13 years and realized I was being unfair to her.
Something I didn't understand though was the reason for Ian going to the asylum. Because he seems like he has a disorder, but then we are told that he was sent into the asylum because he saw his father kill his mother and was put in there to be shut up. So would he have eventually been declared insane and put in there or did being in there make him seem more crazy, or if he had never seen his father kill his mother he would never have been sent to any asylum at all. Either way, it was unfair for him to be in there at all, he is different, but not crazy. And it really rubbed me the wrong way when Hart really thought that Ian was crazy.
My favorite moments were when they were all at dinner in Scotland and Beth made a joke and Ian's brothers heard him laugh for the first time. And when at the end when they are welcoming the inspector into the family and Ian hides in Beth's hair. I really liked this book! A definite 5 out of 5!