Once Upon A Romance

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Lady Isabellaís Scandalous Marriage by Jennifer Ashley


Cover art: Lady Isabellaís Scandalous Marriage Reviewer: Robyn Roberts
Title: Lady Isabellaís Scandalous Marriage - 2nd in the Highland Pleasures series
Author: Jennifer Ashley
Publisher: Berkley Sensation
ISBN-13: 978-0-425-23545-4
Release Date: July 2010
Genre/Sub-genre: Historical Romance
Year/Setting: London, 1881
Overall Rating: 5.0
Sexual Content Rating: Sensual
Language (Profanity/Slang) Content Rating: Mild
Violent Content Rating: None
Jennifers's Website/Blog: www.jennifersromances.com

When Lady Isabella Scranton eloped with artist Lord Mac Mackenzie following her debut ball, she became the scandalous talk (and pride) of London. There was a certain admiration for the couple that was so obviously deeply in love and devoted to each other. But after three years with some events occurring behind closed doors, Isabella scandalized London again by leaving her husband.

Now, six years later, Mac is back and as persuasive as ever. He has one goal, win back his wife. He will do whatever it takes to become a real gentleman and win (and seduce) her back into his life and his bed. Heís been unable to paint and has decided that the only way to make life worth living is to have Isabella back. With her, it never mattered if he could paint well or not; she made his life worth living.

When Mac learns someone is forging his paintings, heís not really concerned. The man is really quite good as an artist. But when this unknown man decides to take over Macís lifeóincluding his estranged wifeóhe decides nobody will get to his wife. He becomes Isabellaís protector and constant companion. While it gives him a chance to prove heís a gentleman and worthy of being her husband again, itís sheer torture to have her near and not in his bed.

As the imposter gets closer and closer and increasingly bold, will Mac end up dying in his attempts to protect Isabella? Will she ever come to love him for the man he has become?

I was drawn in from the beginning and couldnít stop reading until the last page was turned. Captivating is the best word I can think of to describe the story. It had elements of mystery and suspense set in Regency Londonóbut includes a Highland heroóand has a whopper of a sensual romance. In my mind, itís a perfect book.

Lady Isabella is so strong. To refuse annulment of their elopement when she is told she will be cut off from her family for life says a lot about the depth of her love for Mac. We only see glimpses of the sorrow she faces in not being able to communicate or see her parents or sister. When things werenít going well for her and Mac, she made an incredibly bold move to leave him while still continuing with all of her social obligations as though nothing had changed other than the address. We see through snippets before each chapter the ways the press tried to unsuccessfully persecute her. Itís her charm and poise that continued to sway the fickle ton to continue loving her even in her scandal.

Mac is a Highlander living in London. Heís good looking, strong and self-assured as only the Scots can be. He is so yummy in looks and sexual prowess, but it was his care and concern for his wife that totally won me over. I havenít read the previous book in the series, but I also fell in love with Macís brothersóespecially Ian. Iím now hunting down his story (The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie) because he touched me. Iím convinced he is a man with Autism living in the 1800ís. To see how he is treated (both good and bad) reminds me of the challenges Autistic people still face today. Having a son with Autism, I was drawn to Ian and the similarities between this fictional character and my real life son. The way his Mackenzie brothers treated him with respect and love endeared the characters to me.

The story was fascinating before we added the suspense of a potential killer running around. It added to the depth of the story. Itís a book that drew me in with the first page and didnít let go of me even when the story was over. Iíd love to meet Mac and Isabella and have tea with them.


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