Reviewed by Mandi
Favorite Quote: “You’ll ruin me,” she whispered.
Malcolm studied her, his amber-colored gaze intense. “Marry me, lass, and I’ll ruin ye every day.”
One of my favorite historical series is Jennifer Ashley’s Mackenzie series (starting with Lord Ian – a favorite book of all time). I was thrilled to hear she is changing things up a bit with this series and taking us back in time to the mid 1700’s. She introduces us to the ancestors of the current Mackenzie’s and gives us a loud, chaotic highlander family of all men! Malcolm Mackenzie is our hero and the youngest of five boys. Malcolm is nicknamed, runt, but he is anything but. A big fellow who has always looked to get into trouble, Malcolm has a heart of gold and you will fall in love with him instantly.
Malcolm falls in love with the heroine instantly himself. One glance – just one – and he knows the english Lady Mary Lennox is the one for him. The only problem (well, Malcolm doesn’t see it as a problem) is that she is betrothed and english. Both her father and his father would have heart attacks if they married one another.
Mary has always lived a very dutiful life. Following all rules, always proper, always polite. When she sees Malcolm at a gathering, intensely staring at her, it unnerves her. There is something wild about this highlander – and it makes her start to feel something. By no means does Mary love or have any affection to her betrothed. She is just marrying him to please her father. She honestly didn’t mind – but now this highlander is making her start to doubt her path in life.
Mal was giving her a glimpse of something else, another choice, and it was frightening her to death.
Malcolm closed both hands around hers and pulled her to him. “Ye hold on to me, Mary, and you’ll be all right. I’ll never let ye fall.”
Mary’s sister is also having trouble in the romance department – wanting to runaway and elope with a fellow her father doesn’t approve of. When Mary sneaks off to deliver a message to this fellow from her sister, Malcolm intercepts her in a dark hallway. He says naughty things to her and makes Mary feel quite hot on the inside. For a man raised by a father with four brothers, he says the sweetest things to Mary.
“I’m trying to tell ye, lass.” Malcolm gentled his voice. “Ye owe me nothing. If I kiss ye, it’s because you’re sweet in the sunshine, and I want to enjoy you.”
I want to be kissed for this reason!
For as unruly Malcolm is with his four brothers, he is just the most adorable hero. His devotion to Mary is absolutely swoon-worthy. While she has followed all her father’s orders, she isn’t a timid mouse. She has her own thoughts and is actually quite independent. Malcolm falls instantly in love, and Mary falls pretty fast too. Figuring out how to be together – well that takes time. This book takes place during the beginning of the Jacobite revolution. The King’s army moves in and sides are taken. Spies are arrested, fights break out. All the Mackenzie brothers and Mary’s father and betrothed become heavily involved in the Jacobite conflict. This pushes most of the action in the story.
All Malcolm wants to do is take care of everyone. While him and his father have extremely heated conversations, he still risks his life to make his father happy. He may wrestle with his brothers and constantly bicker, but his family means more to him than anything in the world. We get acquainted with the eldest, Duncan, who fights to put Charles Stuart on the throne. The twins, Alec and Angus – Alec reeling from devastating news and Angus worried constantly about his father. And William – the man who knows everything about everything because he pretends to get drunk at whorehouses every night. It’s a full and warm family. And of course, I’m dying for all of their books.
This has romance, adventure, politics and a family of five unruly Mackenzie brothers that will steal your heart. I had a lot of fun reading it