Ian Mackenzie is awakened at Kilmorgan Castle one night to find robbers stealing the priceless art collection of his oldest brother, Hart. Since Ian and Beth are the only ones in resident at Kilmorgan at the moment, Ian decides he must find the art and the culprits before the family shows up for Hart’s birthday gathering. With Inspector Fellows and Beth, he investigates, though Ian is somewhat worried by Beth’s late husband’s brother, a retired missionary, who decides to visit. Does John Ackerley hold the “cure” to Ian’s madness? And can Ian discover what has happened to Hart’s treasures, and who is targeting the Mackenzies before the enemy strikes again?
Return to Kilmorgan Castle to visit the Victorian branch of the Mackenzie family, and catch up on the brothers and friends, their children, and their lives.
Publisher and Release Date: Intermix, November 2015
Time and Setting: Scotland, 1892
Genre: Victorian historical romance
Heat Level: 2
Reviewer Rating: 4 stars
Review by Lady Wesley
It is no secret that the MacKenzies are my favorite historical romance family, so naturally I quickly devoured this novella. Jennifer Ashley has written that she originally planned this book to be about the entire family – something like Mackenzie Family Christmas: The Perfect Gift – but Ian just took over things. He and Beth and Ian’s half-brother Inspector Fellows are the main characters. Given that the events take place ten years after Ian and Beth married, we also get glimpses of their three children – Jamie, 10, Belle, 9, and Megan,7. Not surprisingly, Ian is a hands-on, devoted father, and the scenes with the children are delightful.
All of the other MacKenzies make brief appearances, but the only new character is John Ackerly, the brother of Beth’s first husband, who pays a visit after retiring from years as a missionary. A dabbler in the emerging field of psychiatry, Ackerly thinks he can “cure” Ian’s supposed madness, and Ian’s willingness to try to be more “normal” is touching.
The plot revolves around the shocking theft of priceless artworks from Kilmorgan Castle. Since Ian and Beth were the only family members at home at the time, Ian feels responsible and puts on his sleuthing hat to help Scotland Yard’s Inspector Fellowes. The ultimate resolution is a bit strange, but let’s face it: we’re not reading A MacKenzie Clan Gathering for the plot. We’re reading it for the sheer joy of watching the odd, amazing, and loveable Ian MacKenzie do his thing. And a joy it is indeed.