Friday, August 19, 2011

REVIEW: "The Many Sins of Lord Cameron" by Jennifer Ashley


DESCRIPTION: Lord Cameron Mackenzie is intrigued when he finds the pretty widow, Ainsley Douglas, hiding in the window seat of his bedchamber. Cam remembers Ainsley Douglas all right—six years ago, he’d caught her in this very bedchamber, during a house party in the Mackenzies’ Scottish manor.  Later, Cameron learned that her visit to his bedchamber was part of some female intrigue against him, the kind his late wife used to practice. Ainsley protested her innocence, but Cameron’s anger made him never want to see her again. Now she’s back, at another houseparty—and Cameron finds the gray-eyed minx in his bedchamber, again. Her excuses are just as ingenuous, but this time Cameron is determined to teach her a lesson.

Ainsley’s dismay is real. She’s on a mission to prevent embarrassment to Queen Victoria, and time is running out. Though the needs he’d stirred long ago during her unhappy marriage rise again, she knows it would be foolish to fall for love-them-and-leave-them Cameron Mackenzie. But he asks her a question that challenges her beliefs about love and happiness, and she finds herself risking all to be with the black sheep of the Mackenzie family.


PUBLICATION DATE: August 2011
GENRE: Historical Romance
SETTING: Victorian England
SERIES: Highland Pleasures #3
HERO: Lord Cameron MacKenzie
HEROINE: Ainsley Douglas
SENSUALITY RATING: Hot

OVERALL RANKING: 4.25 out of 5 Stars

This is the third book in Jennifer Ashley's popular historical romance series about the MacKenzie family.  They are a wealthy Scottish noble family that is considered scandalous for many reasons yet still retains its authority and power within British society.  Previous books have dealt with the youngest MacKenzie brother (Ian) who had a reputation of insanity (The Madness of Lord Ian MacKenzie) and the middle brother (Mac) who was trying to rekindle his relationship with his estranged wife (Lady Isabella's Scandalous Marriage).  I really enjoyed the earlier books in this series with Ian's book being one of my favorite romances of all time.  I found The Many Sins of Lord Cameron to be slightly better than Mac's book, but still not reaching the level of Ian's story.  But, overall, this was an amazing book that I recommend to any historical romance fans!

We knew very little about Cameron, the second oldest brother, before now since all Ms. Ashley had told us was that he was a widower whose wife died mysteriously when his son was a baby.  I really loved getting to delve deeper into Cam's past.  I won't spoil any readers, but let me just say that the truth about his marriage is absolutely heartbreaking and makes you want to give him a huge hug.  And what was equally heartbreaking was the way that society treated him because of their ignorance about his marriage.

Ainsley Douglas, the heroine, is a realistic and fascinating woman.  She comes into the story with a definite past that has shaped who she is and her outlook on life.  It is established early on that Ainsley has lusted after Cameron ever since he discovered her sneaking around in his bedroom and she openly acknowledges this fact to the readers.  It was refreshing not to read about a heroine who moans about lust and morals for ages.  I also felt like she was the perfect match for Cameron with her practical and almost nurturing persona.

I've already mentioned that Ainsley and Cam lusted after each other since their first meeting.  One of the greatest journeys in romance is the growth from lust at first sight to genuine affection to love.  Ms. Ashley showcases this journey fantastically.  We are given points of view from both main characters which allows us to understand and marvel at their growing relationship.  It definitely never felt rushed or anticlimatic due to this attention to detail.  There were also many love scenes in this book and they were hot!  I mentioned in #10 that Ainsley is pretty open about her desire for Cam.  This allows for some great sexual banter between the two which is one of my favorite things about romance novels. 

Despite the overarching darkness of the plot, there was definitely a sense of irony and humor prevalent.  I thought this was clever on the part of the author because it provided a much-needed balance with all the angst.  Two of the funniest scenes in the entire book happen at the beginning.  One of them is a flashback of when Cam first caught Ainsley sneaking around in his bedroom.  And the second is when he discovers her (once again) hiding in his bedchamber.  The dialogue in both of these scenes is amazingly witty and full of sexual tension.

I really enjoyed the way that Ashley showed the other members of the MacKenzie family and their interactions.  All the brothers were visible though not the recently discovered illegitimate brother which kinda disappointed me.  I especially loved seeing more about Cameron's relationship with his son, Daniel.  The reader could tell early on that Cameron believed himself to be a failure as a father due to Daniel being raised by bachelors until Isabella came along.  But, Daniel proved to his father that, while he was not perfect, he was still successful in raising a decent gentleman whose story I cannot wait to read.

And speaking of books I want to read, I am super excited for the next installment in this series which will tell the story of Hart (the oldest MacKenzie brother) and his former fiancee Eleanor.  We got a small peek at their relationship in this book and a little background in other books.  Hart has always seemed to be a character that has complete control (despite some mysterious sexual interests) so I am anxious to see him try to win Eleanor over.


FAVORITE QUOTES: "Damn you, Ainsley, I love you so much I hurt with it.  I fell in love with you the night I first caught you in my bedchamber, my little thief.  I was so drunk, and you were so lovely, and I wanted you like I'd never wanted a woman before in my life.  How the hell did I live so long without you?"
--Cameron (pg. 294)

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