This time out, I have Jennifer Ashley's The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie (Leisure). Beth Ackerley is perfectly happy with her betrothal to Sir Lyndon Mather. Then Lord Ian Mackenzie happens into her life. Or, rather, he intrudes, making her aware of certain failings in her fiance's character. Despite her aggravation, she can't help but be intrigued by the Scotsman rumored to be mad. While he does have some peculiar habits, he doesn't seem to be truly mad, however. Nevertheless, Beth can't now marry Mather, so after breaking off the engagement, she heads for Paris, where she meets up with Lady Isabella Mackenzie, the unhappily estranged wife on one of Ian's brothers, and with a policeman from London who's determined to arrest Ian for murder. Beth and the tortured Ian's encounters range from sweet to sensual, though this feels like it's much more Ian's story than Beth's. I didn't really find the explanations of Ian's past compensate for his current behaviors, but he's still a likable hero. Beth, however, is headstrong and foolish at times, completely ignoring perfectly good counsel and rushing into potentially dangerous situations, which make a reader want to knock some sense into her somehow. Her behavior kept me from really liking this one, though I will say, I liked this one much better than Ashley's previous historicals, and I do hope she's intending to write Isabella and Mac's story at some point, because they're an intriguing set of characters. This one's earned three of Cupid's five arrows.
Until next time, happy reading!