Narrator: Angela Dawe
Published by Berkley, Tantor Audio on May 1, 2009
Genres: Historical, Romance
Length: 9 hours 53 minutes
I picked up The Madness of Lord Ian MacKenzie in one of those Audible 2 for 1 credit deals – I had one book I really wanted, and I saw this one had good reviews, so I grabbed it. And then didn’t read it for months. But then I had a chance to sit at Jennifer Ashley’s table at an author event and the last thing I wanted was to sit there having never read anything by her. So I pulled up The Madness of Lord Ian MacKenzie.
Audie Award Nominee, Romance, 2013
It was whispered all through London society that he was a murderer, that he'd spent his youth in an asylum and was not to be trusted - especially with a lady. Any woman caught in his presence was immediately ruined. Yet Beth found herself inexorably drawn to the Scottish lord whose hint of a brogue wrapped around her like silk and whose touch could draw her into a world of ecstasy.
Despite his decadence and intimidating intelligence, she could see he needed help. Her help. Because suddenly the only thing that made sense to her was the madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie.
And cursed myself for waiting so long. The Madness of Lord Ian MacKenzie was nothing like I’d expected. When I saw madness in the title, I jumped to ideas of a over-the-top, eye-roll-worthy insanity. Boy was I wrong. The madness Jennifer Ashley wrote was genius!
As I grew to know Ian Mackenzie better and better, I found myself speculating about his illness. Right off the bat, I was pretty certain he fell on the Autism spectrum. By the halfway point, I was all but certain he had Aspbergers. What made this so genius, though, was that Jennifer Ashley couldn’t come out and tell us what was “wrong” with Ian, like she could have done with a modern setting. She had to do such an INCREDIBLE job writing his character that we’d figure it out ourselves. (BTW: I TOTALLY asked her if I was right, and I was!)
The other brilliant thing about this move was the creation of a historical hero like you haven’t read. There’s very little predictable about this story line (except that it’s a romance), and in large part because Ian is so remarkably different. He says things that break your heart, when coming from any other man would not be romantic at all. And I dare you not to fall for him.
Olivia sure didn’t have a chance. Who’d have thought a man telling you he can’t love you and never will would do the trick, huh? (that’s not a spoiler, btw, happens in like chapter 1 or 2) Olivia was the perfect character to pair with Ian, since she also isn’t traditional. Olivia is a widow, giving her more freedom than other single women. It also makes her sexually experienced, so she’s not a blushing virgin, but also not a misplaced modern woman in a historical setting. That opens up doors for some steam people ;)! Added to that, Olivia wasn’t brought up proper – she was a lady’s maid and only came into money by luck – so she’s not really buying into propriety.
The fascinating characters really came to life with Angela Dawe’s narration. She did such a good job with both the male and female voices – particularly with the British and Scottish accents. I will definitely continue listening to this series (and add Angela Dawes to my narrator short list).
I’d recommend The Madness of Lord Ian MacKenzie to fans of historical romance that are looking for some unique leading characters. The best part? He’s got brothers and we get to see their crazy family some more as the series progresses!