UniquelyMoi ~ BlithelyBookish's Reviews > Lady Isabella's Scandalous Marriage

Lady Isabella's Scandalous Marriage by Jennifer Ashley
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Having read and LOVED The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie, I thought I’d go crazy waiting for this book to come out, and at times I nearly did. But let me just say, it was well worth the wait!

Lady Isabella’s Scandalous Marriage is, of course, Roland “Mac” and Isabella Mackenzie’s story. From the first book in the Highland Pleasures series, we learned that they had married under unconventional, AKA scandalous, circumstances, then separated a few years later. It was clear that their relationship had been intense, a roller coaster ride of epic proportions, and that there were still deep, unresolved feelings between them. This book gives us a much closer look into their relationship and what went wrong.

I’ll start off by saying that while I love this book, I mean really love it, it still didn’t quite compare to my absolutely-over-the-top-bordering-on-unhealthy-adoration of Ian’s book, The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie and honestly, I’m not terribly surprised. I’m only mentioning this to you, dear readers of this review, because in most series, the first book is the weakest and the others just get better and better. In this case, I found the first book to be incredibly phenomenal and the second book merely wonderfully splendid!!!

That said, here’s what I loved about Lady Isabella’s Scandalous Marriage :

Jennifer Ashley has the Mackenzie family down to an art. Each brother has his very own quirks and peculiarities, which was quite fashionable during that time period which means that while in some circles they were merely tolerated, in others they were nearly worshipped. While Ian’s “madness” wasn’t something he could control, it made him such an endearing character, and some of the highpoints of Lady Isabella’s Scandalous Marriage were the times we spent with him.

Mac is an artist, and like most artists are, he’s quite eccentric. But what I adored about him was that he was so willing and able to accept the blame for what went wrong in his marriage, and he believes that most, if not all, of their problems were his fault. He makes no excuses for his behaviors and is willing to do whatever it takes to win Isabella’s heart again. The thing is, and what Mac doesn’t understand is that he hasn’t really lost it, not yet anyway. But we can’t mistake his acceptance of blame for playing the martyr, which he did not. My grandmother, on the other hand, was the queen of disingenuous martyrdom! She was someone who didn’t like to accept blame. She had this act she’d fall into whenever someone accused her of something that she knew darn well she was guilty of. “Go ahead, heap it on! Blame me, my shoulders are wide,” she’d say, slapping herself on the shoulders, “I can take it!” The thing was, we all knew she was in the wrong and knew that she knew she was wrong, but she played that part to get everyone to shut up. LOL!!! Ummm… yeah, so, where was I? Oh, yes! There was nothing like this about Mac. He was actually very straightforward about what blame he’d take as his own and what he would not, which is why I believe that he meant what he said when he said he was the one who had ultimately driven Isabella away. Wow! How refreshing is it to find that in a man?!?

Isabella was so, so young when they met and married. There was no way she would have the “tools” or the experience to deal with a man like Mac, yet she fell in love with him anyway. I have to admire the way she tried and tried and then when she finally what her entire life would be if she didn’t do something, she finally left him. For one so young, she was amazingly insightful. Thankfully for her, and for us, Ian had been there for her over the years of her and Mac’s separation. All of the Mackenzie brothers were. They adored her and still saw her as a member of their family. They watched out for her, protected her, and loved her every bit as much as they ever had – in fact, even though blood is thicker than water, I think if they had had to choose between Mac and Isabella, they would have chosen her. Their unfailing devotion to her was a brilliant bit of storytelling because it allowed us to accept her easy, believable return to the family when it happened.

With the exception of a subplot used to help propel the reuniting of Mac and Isabella that I thought was rather weak and didn’t really “grab” me, I adored every minute of this book. And while, as I said, I didn’t care for that subplot, I loved the outcome, for what it means for Mac and Isabella. And of course, the high points of the book were Ian’s appearances. I’m thinking that once this series is through, Jennifer Ashley should just write a series based solely on Ian – perhaps he’d make a great investigator with his eye for detail and being able to read even the most subtle of nuances. And I’ll be the heroine **big grin**

Now, I have a question/thought for those of you who have read both books - (view spoiler)

Well, I’m going to stop here because I’m just rambling anyway and honestly, I could go on for pages and pages about the Mackenzies and yet never do them justice. I just adore them, each and every one of them, but the truth of the matter is that I’m not eloquent enough a speaker or writer to express in words how much I feel for this incredible family. I’ll just say this; Jennifer Ashley, with the help of Clan Mackenzie, has created another masterpiece with Lady Isabella’s Scandalous Marriage.
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Reading Progress

07/05/2010 page 22
7.0% "Only a few pages in and I'm already loving it! They so, so need to be together. *sigh*" 6 comments
07/06/2010 page 48
16.0% "It is a game, my love." He held her gaze. "It is the most serious game I've ever engaged in. And I intend to win it. I will have you back, Isabella-- in my life, in my house, and in my bed." 1 comment
07/06/2010 page 120
39.0% "Oh, this has been so worth the wait so far." 4 comments
07/07/2010 page 229
75.0% "If that's what it takes, I will do it. I want to win you back, Isabella. No matter if it takes one year or twenty, I'm a patient man. I will win your heart again, I swear it. Even if I have to so highly proper my ancestors turn in their graves to see me change myself for a Sassenach." 28 comments
07/07/2010 page 316
104.0% "Oh, this was just amaaaaazing!!! I adore Mac and Isabella, and Ian and Beth even more than before." 10 comments

Comments (showing 1-50 of 65) (65 new)

Meghan SO, do I need to re-read the first one before I start this one? I have almost forgotten everything from the first...

UniquelyMoi ~ BlithelyBookish So far I'd say no. All we knew from the first book was that Isabella had left Mac, and so far in this book we still don't have many details about why.

I didn't re-read Ian's book, and I see no problem at all!

Ally72 Happy Reading, Dhestiny! I think this is SUPPOSED to be coming in the mail tomorrow for me.

UniquelyMoi ~ BlithelyBookish Oh, I so hope you get it, Lady A!!! Can't wait to chat about it.

Ally72 I have really been looking forward to reading about these two characters after we got snippets of them from the first book!

UniquelyMoi ~ BlithelyBookish I didn't get near the reading done last night as I would have liked to. My daughter was sick all night. She never gets sick, so when she does, she doesn't do well. She's 19, but she's still my baby :)

Ally72 Dhestiny...I hope your daughter is feeling better this morning. It is not fun being sick and especially not in the summer. Hugs!

UniquelyMoi ~ BlithelyBookish Thanks, Lady A! She's finally asleep... In MY bed. LOL

It's kind of a good feeling, not that I want her sick, but it reminds of the times when they were little kids and crawled into bed with me for comfort. I know she won't be living here forever, so it's kind of a ... heartwarming thing.

Ally72 I am glad she is resting because sometimes that really is the best thing when a person is sick. It is so neat that the two of you enjoy reading the same kinds of books! I hope she feels better today.

Katherine I'm so glad to hear you liked this book. I'm not going to read your review yet since I haven't read "Lady" yet. But I am so looking forward to it.

UniquelyMoi ~ BlithelyBookish I think you'll enjoy it, I sure did! :) Some of the high points were visits with Ian :)

Stephanie I think I know what you are talking about where the weak subplot is concerned. I agree with you. I read it and was asking myself, why???

UniquelyMoi ~ BlithelyBookish Yep! But at least it was used as a catalyst to push Mac and Isabella together.

Beanbag Love Great review, UM!

I didn't mind the subplot so much although, I agree it was definitely the weakest part of the story. Probably because I was distracted by how much I loved Isabella and Mac.

And, yes, seeing Ian is such a treat. The MacKenzies are keepers for sure.

UniquelyMoi ~ BlithelyBookish Thanks, Bean!!

I didn't mind it so much either, once I realized the reasons behind it. Does that make sense? LOL But yes, it was the weakest part... but I love what came from it, what Mac and Isabella gained, know what I mean? I don't want to give too much away.

Laura the Highland Hussy I'm reading this one now!! woot!

message 17: by Stamatia (new)

Stamatia Nice review Danielle! I'm definitely getting this one

UniquelyMoi ~ BlithelyBookish Thanks, Stamatia... I think you meant me? LOL I credit the wrong people all the time in reviews. :)

UniquelyMoi ~ BlithelyBookish Laurie, are you loving it???

UniquelyMoi ~ BlithelyBookish I did tooooooooooo..... it's was another 5+ read for me, and there are not many of them.

Stephanie You know Dhes, I liked Ian, but I believe that my heart is going to belong to Mac!

UniquelyMoi ~ BlithelyBookish Mac is truly swoonworthy, too! You know, now that I think about it, the only way to truly know who I should be with is to have each one, all to myself, for at least 6 months, then I can make an educated decision!

message 24: by Stamatia (new)

Stamatia Ooops I'm sorry Dhestiny! It's a great review anyway!

UniquelyMoi ~ BlithelyBookish Thanks, Stamatia! I appreciate it :)

Catherine Great review! Even when our tastes don't align I enjoy reading your reviews. :)


Maybe it wasn't mentioned because in the last book he made it clear he didn't really want to be part of the family? I don't know. I thought it was odd too.


UniquelyMoi ~ BlithelyBookish Thank you, Catherine! I feel the same way. I enjoy many reviews even if I disagree with the reviewer. Sometimes I see things differently after looking at it from someone else's perspective, ya know?

And regarding the spoiler, that might be the reason, I just thought it odd that they seemed so distant, yet, that distance wasn't explained... you'd never have known there was that connection.

Thanks again!

message 28: by MelissaB (new)

MelissaB Great review UM! I had borrowed Ian's book from the library initially so I just bought it so I can reread it before this one. It sounds wonderful.

UniquelyMoi ~ BlithelyBookish Thank you, Melissa! Ian's book is the best. I'd buy it just so I could keep it forever.

message 30: by Amanda (new) - added it

Amanda Hi Dhestiny, is't okay if i read this one first before
#1 The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie?. Actually i want to order #1 but currently out of stock.

UniquelyMoi ~ BlithelyBookish The stories aren't interconnected, but you'll miss so much if you don't read Ian's story first. That's my honest opinion.

Catherine I agree!

UniquelyMoi ~ BlithelyBookish Catherine wrote: "I agree!"

***knuckle bump***

UniquelyMoi ~ BlithelyBookish Laurie-Highland Hussy wrote: "Me too!"

***another knuckle bump***

message 36: by Amanda (new) - added it

Amanda Then, i have read #1 first before #2.
Thanks for your comment!.

Laura the Highland Hussy UniquelyMoi *~*Dhestiny*~* wrote: "Laurie-Highland Hussy wrote: "Me too!"

***another knuckle bump***"

Right on UM!!

Beanbag Love I agree with you on reading this series in order. This book could stand alone, but I think it's better after reading Ian.

BTW: I have seen my son's therapist twice since promising to ask her to define the difference between an Asperger's diagnosis and an autism diagnosis and I've forgotten both times! Ack! I swear I will ask that question at some point. It may take a while, but I'll do it!

message 39: by Lisa (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lisa Sounds like a great book :) Will be picking up both in this series...to add to the big TBR. Great review, UM!

UniquelyMoi ~ BlithelyBookish Thank you, Lisa!! I hope you love them as much as I did.

UniquelyMoi ~ BlithelyBookish Thanks, Bean! Whenever you get the chance.

Cheryl Excellent review, it makes me want to pick this book up right now and read it.. which I could very well do, it is sitting right here in front of me.. but I should wait until I finish what I am currently reading!

UniquelyMoi ~ BlithelyBookish Thanks, Cheryl! It's very good. Did you ever read Ian?

Cheryl Oh yes, I read Ian's book! I loved it! He was so different and peculiar and you couldn't help but love him and Beth!

UniquelyMoi ~ BlithelyBookish I agree! Ian's book is better, in my opinion, and the visits with him in Mac's book are highpoints for me.

Cheryl Great! I look forward to visiting with him again!

message 47: by [deleted user] (new)

Good. This is in my TBR pile (huge, massive) and I keep putting it off thinking I'll be disappointed in it after Ian. This gives me hope!

UniquelyMoi ~ BlithelyBookish Nicki, I don't know that any of the brothers Mackenzie can compare to Ian, but I did love this book, too. Read it, enjoy it, savor the revisits with Ian, but don't get your hopes too high that Mac can compare, because he can't. But it was still a wonderful story.

Krista (I remember you, Min) (Critical) I don't really see how "I think if they had had to choose between Mac and Isabella, they would have chosen her" is a good thing. Unless a member of my family is actually an evil person, I'm always going to choose them first no matter what and I think that's how it should be. I would never "choose" my sister-in-law over my brother, no matter the circumstances, and I think if someone did I would lose all respect for them lol. So thanks for pointing that out! Now I know I'll never like this book. ;)

UniquelyMoi ~ BlithelyBookish LOL! I have a brother who is an ass. He's cheated on each of his 3 wives, and is currently planning to marry the last one he cheated with. He lies, steals and is dishonest in his business. I love him, but I would defend my ex sisters in law in a heartbeat, before I'd defend him.

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