1745, Scotland: The youngest son of the scandalous Mackenzie family, Malcolm is considered too wild to tame…until he meets a woman who is too unattainable to resist.
Lady Mary Lennox is English, her father highly loyal to the king, and promised to another Englishman. But despite it being forbidden to speak to Malcolm, Lady Mary is fascinated by the Scotsman, and stolen moments together lead to a passion greater than she’d ever dreamed of finding.
When fighting breaks out between the Highlanders and the King’s army, their plans to elope are thwarted, and it will take all of Malcolm’s daring as a Scottish warrior to survive the battle and steal a wife out from under the noses of the English.
Publisher and Release Date: Berkley, October 2015
Time and Setting: Scotland, 1745
Genre: Historical Romance
Heat Level: 2
Reviewer Rating: 3.5 stars
Review by Lady Blue
Malcolm (Mal) Mackenzie is the ancestor of all the Mackenzies we’ve come to know and love in Jennifer Ashley’s books set in the Victorian era. He was the first Duke of Kilmorgan, having received the title after it had been stripped from his family after the Jacobite uprising. Before the uprising, Mal, his father and four brothers have differing opinions as to who they should be backing, and how they should show their public support. Mal does his best to keep all his options open and not show favor to either side.
When Mal first sees Mary Lennox, he is smitten. The fact that she is English and engaged to a high ranking supporter of the English king doesn’t deter him, and he decides she’s the one for him forever. Mary is resigned to her fate, and plans to marry the man her father has chosen for her. Though intrigued by Mal, she has no thought to changing her marriage plans, until Mal arranges to help Mary’s younger sister elope. Mary would never have been able to provide assistance on her own, so she’s very grateful to Mal, and becomes more attracted to him.
As tension between the English and the Scots escalates and more skirmishes ensue, circumstances put Mary, her father, and her fiancé in the hands of the Mackenzie family. Soon Mal and Mary have pledged themselves married, with plans to formalize it with a binding legal union as soon as it can be arranged. As the battle of Culloden rages, all the Mackenzies find themselves forced to take part. Mal and Mary are separated, neither knowing if the other is alive. Mal appears to lead a charmed life, as time after time, he is able to escape seemingly impossible circumstances.
This book is somewhat of a departure from the others in the Mackenzie family series. The story is very heavy on the history, with much of the politics and battles described in detail. Some of the fighting is graphic, and the losses to the family quite heartbreaking. The romance seems to take second place and I never got the sense of a deep love between the central couple, although their feelings do grow over time. If you’re a follower of this series, this is a must read, and I look forward to upcoming books which will fill in the generations between here and the Victorian era. History buffs, especially those with an interest in this time period are bound to find this story compelling.