Saturday, February 19, 2011

The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie by Jennifer Ashley

The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie (Highland Pleasures, #1)The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie by Jennifer Ashley

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie established to me that it would be a great read from the first page. Ian is such an unusual hero, and he is thoroughly lovable. And Beth is one of those rare heroines who really does deserve a hero like Ian. Their relationship felt right and it felt meant to be. Watching them grow closer, to acknowledge their unique, rich relationship, was very gratifying. Their bond was emotional, sensual, spiritual, and intellectual. Although there were parts of each other that they didn’t fully grasp, they kept their hearts open to coming to accept and understand each other. There were no judgments against each other given. Romance stories like this are my favorite kind: where two people can find love with each other, without judgments or the fear that they have to let go of who they are or lose who they are to be in a fulfilling relationship with each other.

Ms. Ashley did a wonderful job of showing me who Ian was. That what others considered a ‘madness’, a defect, a shortcoming, was merely a different way of processing things, and very beautiful and worthwhile in its uniqueness. The depiction of Ian’s condition reminded me of Water Bound by Christine Feehan, another book that looks at a main character with a form of autism. It was not exactly the same as Ian’s, but I saw some commonalities in Ian and Rikki. They looked at the world in a profoundly different way, saw beauty with an enhanced detail that few of us are able to appreciate. Although that makes it hard to filter out sensations, the artist, the lover of beauty in me wonders how this can be a bad thing, if the person has the love and understanding, the space to breathe when things get too intense for them. Apparently Ian has Asperger's Syndrome. Back in the 19th century, no one would have known what this was, or understood it, and so for Ian to be able to function and to be productive, wonderfully so, was so lovely to read about. To see how his shame became a triumph. It was just beautiful to see. It really was. I loved the hope that Ms. Ashley gave me as I read. I know that she never tried to deny that Ian’s life wouldn’t be easy, but he had the love of his family, their acceptance, and the love of Beth to help him through it. So his affliction was really a gift. That is so true to life for us. Those of us who are different look at ourselves as flawed. However, I believe that our differences are God-given, and they are given to us for a reason. We may not see it that way, but as we walk through life, we come to realize that because of who we are we can give something special to the world that no one else can. That’s how I perceived Ian’s madness. Definitely a gift in disguise.

I loved seeing Ian’s family. All big, tough, larger-than-life men, none of them perfect. They reminded me of my father’s family of brothers. A room full of big, loud-talking men. It made me smile. I am very much looking forward to reading stories about each and every one of them, and hopefully Ian’s nephew Daniel will get a book when he’s older too.

This book was rich and fulfilling. I read it pretty quickly, because it fed my soul. I want to thank Ms. Ashley for giving us Ian and Beth’s beautiful love story.

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