I’ve heard read so many glowing reports on how absolutely amazing this book is this. I liked it, but I didn’t love it the way most other readers seemed to. The premise is different, and therefore intriguing. Lord Ian Mackenzie is a man dealing with Aspergers before there was ever such a diagnosis. The world thinks him mad. He is brilliant in some ways, stunted in others. And he has no idea what love is.
He first meets Beth when she is at the opera with her smarmy fiancé. Ian decides instantly that she is a worthwhile pursuit. He informs her of her fiance’s sexual proclivities with other women and offers himself as a husband instead. Beth turns down his proposal but does indulge in his decadent kisses. The story essentially follows his pursuit of her and the challenges his condition brings to the growing relationship. That, plus a peripheral murder mystery tied to the Mackenzie family.
I’ll start with what I did like: the characters… Ian especially. It was really fascinating to see the relationship from his perspective. To struggle with emotional intimacy. To feel defective. To want Beth the way he does… to need her. It’s powerful. It endears him in such a way that it’s impossible not want him to finally feel that love that’s just out of reach. His backstory is heartbreaking and it makes him a pretty solid tortured hero on top of his disorder.
As for Beth, her patience and loyalty make her easy to root for, especially when she has to stand up for Ian, both to his family and his enemies. Their physical relationship is very sexy and wholly satisfying. And the emotional payoff in the end is fantastic.
Like I said, though, I did have some issues. Right off the bat, I wasn’t sure what it is about Beth that made her so very irresistible to Ian. He was obsessed with her out of the gate. And things progressed between them very, very quickly. I really had to put that aside in order to commit to the romance. My other annoyance was in the way Beth tried to pursue the murder mystery. For a character I liked for the most part, she borders on TSTL as she put herself in danger to clear Ian’s name.
When all is said and done, I did enjoy it and I will definitely keep reading the series. Jennifer Ashley does a great job setting up the other Mackenzie brothers as heroes for the coming books. –I’m already rooting for Isabella and Mac.