I’m not sure there is any historical romance author who believes in the redemptive power of love as deeply as Jennifer Ashley. It’s the only reason I can think of for her persistence in creating exquisite examples of Victorian Douchelordery and making them her romantic leads.
First up is the novella The Untamed Mackenzie. Unless you are the magnificence that is Courtney Milan, or perhaps Tessa Dare, novellas are generally just a way to tide over fans and earn some extra money between major releases. They build a love story around previous secondary or even tertiary characters and, this is the important part, allow readers to revisit old favourites. Jennifer Ashley is not Courtney Milan, or perhaps Tessa Dare, so this is a rickety love story stopping over with each of the Mackenzies from the first four books in the series. Lloyd is the illegitimate son of the same fu*king monster that raised those tortured heroes. Louisa is the younger sister of Mac Mackenzie’s wife, Isabella.
If pater familias Hart Mackenzie is Douchelord in Chief, Lloyd is the Bastard Douchelord and/or Douchelord Bastard. An obsessive police detective, he was one of the villains in The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie and he acquitted his role in a thorough and reprehensible manner. I hated him and had well-founded concerns for his emotional stability. Admittedly, this is true of 78.3% of Ashley’s heroes. Lloyd and Louisa have flirted in previous encounters and when she is accused of murder, they feel the need to interview each of the Mackenzie characters to solve the crime. Whatever. The other characters are more interesting than Lloyd and Isabella anyway.
The review below of The Wicked Deeds of Daniel Mackenzie discusses sexual assault. Continue reading