Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Review: The Scandalous Mackenzies by Jennifer Ashley

The Scandalous Mackenzies by Jennifer Ashley
Series: Mackenzies & McBrides, Books 5.5 and 6.5
Publisher: Berkley
Genre: Historical Romance The Scandalous Mackenzies Cover
ISBN: 9780425266274
Release Date: September 1, 2015
Source: Publisher
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N
Jennifer Ashley Reading Order

The Untamed Mackenzie
When Lady Louisa Scranton of the decadent Scottish Mackenzie family is accused of murder, Detective Inspector Lloyd Fellows of Scotland Yard, vows to clear her name. He’s already shared kisses with Lady Louisa, and not only is he convinced of her innocence, he’s falling for her. And while he may be the only hope of restoring her family’s honor, he intrigues Louisa in a way that may be even more scandalous than murder.

Scandal and the Duchess
Scandal follows Rose Barclay, young widow of the Duke of Southdown, wherever she goes. And now she’s been kicked out of her rightful home. But the dashing Scot Steven McBride—a decorated soldier who is notorious for heavy gambling and womanizing during his leave time—comes up with a ruse to foil the journalists and save Rose’s inheritance. But Rose will have to go along with his very scandalous proposal.

“The Untamed Mackenzie”
“The Untamed Mackenzie” starts off with a bang, or rather a drop, as an unwanted suitor falls dead at our illustrious heroine’s feet mere pages into the story. This rather unusual beginning fits the Mackenzies & McBrides series, as none of the assorted family members (related by blood or marriage) can be described as anything but unique. Fellows and Louisa are no exception, and their romance is a sensual tale with a healthy dose of mystery that keeps the story moving at a quick clip.

Fellows may seem a bit uptight in comparison to his scandalous half-brothers, but that anything but the case. His hardened exterior hides a man bursting with emotion. Though we have seen his thirst for justice at play in The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie, his dedication and determination to his job comes in second to his passion for Louisa. I love that he was so completely taken with her, that he sees Louisa for the woman she is, not the woman society wants her to be. Louisa, in turn, is every bit as taken with Fellows. Though she begins the story wanting to make an aristocratic match that will repair some of the damage to her family’s name, Louisa can’t get Fellows out of her mind, nor can she forget the two kisses they shared. Their difference in class and the circumstances of his birth don’t matter to her, not when it’s Fellows who is her match in every way. The two of them are a dynamic couple and their chemistry makes the pages of “The Untamed Mackenzie” fly by.

The search to uncover who really killed the Bishop of Hargate is almost as entertaining as the romance. Of course, Louisa and Fellows aren’t on their own when it comes to tracking down the murderer – the entire Mackenzie clan is determined to stick their noses into both the investigation and Fellows and Louisa’s burgeoning romance. As a fan of the series, I couldn’t be more delighted to see my favorite past heroes and heroines steal a scene or two. Ms. Ashley never loses focus on her protagonists, but the Mackenzies are all about family first and foremost. Whether you’re a longtime fan of the Mackenzies & McBrides series or are just getting your first taste with “The Untamed Mackenzie,” Fellows and Louisa are sure to charm you and make you hunger for more Mackenzies & McBrides stories.

“Scandal and the Duchess”
“Scandal and the Duchess” is bright and bubbly like good champagne. Jennifer Ashley has delivered a fast-paced tale that is wonderfully entertaining, thanks to her two irresistibly charming protagonists, Rose and Steven.

Steven is a soldier with an easy smile that hides regret. Rose is a kind-hearted young widow who’s down on her luck thanks to a bitter, grasping stepson. Pursued by reporters and with no place to go, Rose is definitely in need of a hero. A chance meeting has Steven practically falling into her lap, and the handsome Scotsman is eager to jump into the role of knight in slightly tarnished armor. Their whirlwind love story requires a touch of suspending disbelief, but both of them are so genuinely good and exactly the kind of people you’d love to be friends with that there’s no way you could not root for their romance. Though the obstacles they face are overcome fairly easily thanks to Steven’s family (and beloved series scene-stealer Ian Mackenzie in particular), I was still glued to my seat as I read “Scandal and the Duchess.”

Ms. Ashley’s Mackenzies & McBrides stories never fail to entertain, and “Scandal and the Duchess” is no exception. Rose and Steven’s story is sure to sweep you away for a few hours and I dare you not to smile as these two endearing characters find happily ever after.

The Scandalous Mackenzies pairs together two excellent Mackenzies & McBrides novellas for the first time. Each story has something unique to the series to offer, but what they have in common is that they will sweep you away for a few hours and leave you a well-satisfied reader. With the simmering passion of Louisa and Fellows in “The Untamed Mackenzie” and the sprightliness of Steven and Rose in “Scandal and the Duchess,” The Scandalous Mackenzies is a book that is sure to delight any historical romance fan.

FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.