I first heard about The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie in one of my message boards. The plot intrigued me, and so I sought out a copy via my library network. There was a wait list, but within days, I arrived at the top of the list and downloaded the book onto my Kindle.
The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie is the first book in Jennifer Ashley’s Mackenzies series. This Victorian romance features the titular Lord Ian, the younger brother of a duke. Lord Ian has quite a reputation- he spent much of his youth in a private asylum, and now as an adult, he enjoys collecting Chinese pottery. He proves to be a valuable asset to his oldest brother’s trade deals because he can recall entire conversations verbatim, even if the negotiations took place in another language.
As soon as Ian meets Beth, he is absolutely smitten. Beth also arrived at her present situation in a rather unconventional manner: after her pastor husband passed away, she served as the companion for a wealthy lady who left Beth a large inheritance. Beth has never met anyone like Ian, nor has she ever been pursued with the intensity in which Ian pursues her.
However, there are rumors of a terrible crime, and all signs point to Ian as the perpetrator. Ian does experience periods where he doesn’t remember his actions, but could he really be capable of something so ghastly?
This was such an interesting book. I don’t think I’ve ever read a book with a hero as unique as Ian Mackenzie. He doesn’t have any formal diagnosis because none existed at the time, but his mannerisms are definitely on the quirky side. He cares very deeply for Beth, and wants to protect her, but it is Beth who attempts to figure out what happened, thus proving that Ian is innocent of what he has been accused of. The mystery component added another layer to the narrative, and I found myself surprised by the outcome.
I would absolutely recommend The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie. I am looking forward to reading the next books in the series because many of the protagonists were introduced in this book. There are hints of complicated relationships and tortured pasts, so it will be interesting to see what Ashley does with their stories.