Lori McD's Reviews > The Seduction Of Elliot McBride

The Seduction Of Elliot McBride by Jennifer Ashley
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If you like the Mackenzie series, you'll love this book.

This book reminds me a bit of "The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie", because Elliot McBride is a changed man... a damaged man. Elliot is Ainsley Mackenzie's older brother (but the youngest of hte 4 brothers), and he was stationed in India; then he stayed on to make his fortune, but was captured helping a group of foolish sight-seeing English families flee from rival Afghanistan tribes. Elliot was tortured, hunted, and made to endure what would break most people.

But the one thing that kept Elliot going was his love for Julianna St. John - and his visions of her. Julianna and Elliot were childhood sweethearts. Elliot always intended to claim her, but after he escaped his captors, he knew he wasn't fit for polite society. And he had some business to finish in India, namely finding and killing the man he thought was his friend who set him up to be captured.

When Elliot does return, he's still fighting the darkness that always threatens to take over - to force him to relive his horrors again and again. Elliot doesn't like crowds or small talk. He knows he doesn't fit in to the usual English ton/society. But he does go to Julianna's wedding in order to take her away. Lucky for him, Julianna's betrothed eloped the day before with his piano teacher.

In desperation, Julianna wanders into a small chapel near the church she was to be married in, only to literally stumble upon Elliot. She knows he's changed, but she still feels for him - so much so, that she makes a silly suggestion, asking Elliot to marry her. Elliot jumps at the chance, and Bob's Your Uncle!

But when Elliot takes Julianna with his Indian servants and a mysterious little Indian girl named Priti to a rundown castle in the North of Scotland, Julianna isn't sure what she got herself into. Especially when she sees the darkness overtake Elliot, and while visiting local neighbors is informed that Elliot murdered a man in India and someone intends to put him in jail. Then Elliot tells her that man (Stacy) isn't dead, but is in Scotland - near their home - trying to hunt Elliot.

What is Julianna to think? Is she strong enough to love Elliot? Can she make him whole again? Will his fixation with her keep him from harming her or from leaving her? What is the truth of what happened in India?
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Once again, Jennifer Ashley weaves a wonderful story. She's not one to shy away from grit and darkness. She shows the horrors of abduction and capture... of torture and escape... of PTSD. Elliot is a damaged man, but he's not mad. In many ways, he's like Ian Mackenzie, and the two find a companionable silence and friendship with one another during a visit. Neither man needs to fill the spaces with talk. Neither man is interested in the pretty lies of society. Both men know that they NEED their women to make them whole - to chase away the darkness.

I look forward to reading more about Elliot and Juliana. I was curious, though, why Ashley delved into the McBride family boys before finishing off the Mackenzies: Daniel's story is obviously planned for release in 2013, but what about Inspector Fellowes? I was hoping for more from him.
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