Lisa Creane's Reviews > The Wicked Deeds of Daniel Mackenzie

The Wicked Deeds of Daniel Mackenzie by Jennifer Ashley
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really liked it
bookshelves: england-historical-fiction, romance, scotland-historical-fiction

I love Jennifer Ashleyas a writer, and I don't mind that the Mackenzies have gone soft. Daniel, despite the title, is far less wicked than his lady love, who's a con artist of the golden-hearted variety. Daniel is a big-hearted, hot-blooded, good-spirited darling who sees through Violet from the very start and is thrilled by her ingenuity. In contrast to his uncles of earlier books, he's uncomplicated, but charming, heroic and funny, and for that I loved him in the book.

I also don't mind the echoes of other stories I've read. From the opening line:
He doesn't have the ace.

Which echoes Sarah MacLean's A Rogue By Any Other Name:
The eight of diamonds ruined him.

I had a feeling I'd read this story before. The scientist in Daniel is compelled to disprove the mystic in Violet, which I'd read before in Courtney Milan's Proof by Seduction. He's building a car to race against the German Daimler and Mercedes and Benz, which I just read in Juliana Gray's A Lady Never Lies, and these are only the ones introduced at the beginning. There are more. Some even happen twice, like (view spoiler)

What bothered me, a bit, was that there was so much adventure going on that some of these storylines were wrapped up quickly and off-stage, which is anticlimactic. (view spoiler). And truly? This is how you know the book's too jammed with side plots, because wrapping them up in a short scene wouldn't be satisfactory either.

This is really about five books worth of clever stories woven together into one.

The Mackenzies are unusual. Ian Mackenzie is the most unusual romantic hero I've ever read, and many people agree . Ashley is brilliant at characterizationThe Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie, and that's evident here as well. Seriously, I could have listened to Daniel and Violet walk through Paris for half the book. The rest could have been Violet's problems, which were many, and difficult to resolve. The book would have been deeper, and more satisfying, if the two of them weren't rushing from one country to another, and away from one bad guy after another.
Or cavorting with one Mackenzie or another, including the entire junior clan of ten grandkids. This is the great and tiring thing about big series. All those past and future characters want oxygen.

I've gained increasing respect forMary Balogh and Meredith Duran and Julie Anne Long, who are extremely clever authors with a lot of humor and character and ridiculous situations in their stories that still allow a slowness to the love story that feels natural and real, undistracted by the need to take another horse, car, train, boat, cart, paddy wagon, balloon or carriage like Daniel and Violet do.

I guess I want Ashley to slow down. Her stories are starting to make my head spin. But I love them, of course. She's still an expert storyteller, and one of my favorite authors. And I can't imagine who wouldn't enjoy this book. It's a rollicking...ride :).
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Reading Progress

October 2, 2013 – Started Reading
October 2, 2013 – Shelved
October 8, 2013 – Finished Reading

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