I love this series. I really do. So much so that when I got my hands on this book, there might have been a small amount of dancing. Sadly, I may have celebrated a bit too early. This was a very difficult book for me to connect to. I found myself wanting to skim and even put it down at times. This was such a far cry from my favorite MacKenzie books, it almost like it was from an entirely different author.
This story doesn’t feature the MacKenzie men we know and love. It jumps back in time to their ancestor, Old Malcolm, and told his story set during the Jacobite Rebellion. I’m ok with an unknown hero, but what I really did not enjoy was how heavily she emphasized the historical elements throughout the book. It’s not that I don’t appreciate historical accuracy. I don’t want things to be wrong. But beyond that, I don’t care. I don’t enjoy my romance steeped in a history lesson. That is how I felt reading this, and I just wanted to get ahead to the “good parts” (ie. The romance.)
Mal is the youngest of the 5 living MacKenzie sons. He is charming and smart, and basically can get anything he sets his mind to. As the story begins, his mind is set on Lady Mary Lennox. Sadly, there is really no reason why. He just sees her at a ball and decides he has to have her. Sure, she is betrothed to another man, but Mal can work around that. He decides to make inroads with her by helping her sister elope with her forbidden love. The move helps him get close enough to Mary to woo her… and become her means of escape when her father is arrested for spying.
There’s more to the story, but most of it is tied Mal’s brood of brothers and their varying degrees of involvement in the rebellion. There is a lot of angst between the English and the Scots. There are battles. Deaths. Politics. And if there was an epic romance in there, maybe the other stuff would have been easier to wade through. But there wasn’t. There was absolutely no good reason for Mal’s obsessive desire for Mary. He was going to marry her because he liked the way she looked across a crowded room. I felt no feelings, not even real sexual tension. Just this guy who gets everything he wants, deciding he wants a woman, then getting her.
There are a few sad parts involving Mal’s dad and brothers. This was clearly a time of tragedy. But I didn’t feel close enough to the characters for it to affect me much. I wish I had better news. Maybe it will be a better fit for people who enjoy more of the history elements, but for me, it really fell flat.
*ARC provided by publisher
Click to purchase: Amazon
The Stolen Mackenzie Bride
by Jennifer Ashley
Release Date: September 29, 2015