Series: Highland Pleasures #2
Published by Berkley, Penguin Group
Genres: Historical, Romance
Source: Personal Collection
Add to: Goodreads
Only one man could match a lady like this—scandal for scandal.
Six years ago, eighteen-year-old Lady Isabella Scranton scandalized all of London by eloping the night of her come-out ball with the notorious rake, Lord Mac Mackenzie. After three turbulent years of marriage, she scandalized London once again—this time by leaving him.
Now Mac has resurfaced, every bit as charismatic, and with one goal: to seduce Isabella back into his life and his bed even if it means acting like a real gentleman. But when Isabella rises to the challenge of posing nude for Mac's erotic paintings, her pent-up hunger for the decadent rake is exposed as well, and she finds herself unable to resist the smooth strokes of an artist at work.
But someone's been watching them—dangerously close. This ingenious forger with designs on Mac's paintings also sets his sights on Isabella herself. Deciding to become Isabella's protector, Mac vows to never leave her side, whether his independent and proud lady likes it or not. - via GoodReads
Lady Isabella’s marriage to Mac Mackezie has been the talk of the town since the day they said ‘I do.’ They married the night of her debut announcing her into society and the very next morning graced the pages of London’s gossip column. Their marriage hit the society pages again when Isabelle left Mac a few years into their marriage. Fast forward three years later and circumstances bring Isabella and Mac together again. Someone is selling paintings around town claiming they are works completed by Mac, when in fact they are not. While Mac is ambivalent about discovering the forger’s identity, Isabella is outraged that someone would try to pretend to have Mac’s talent. This investigation is an excuse from them to rekindle the love they have always shared. While Isabella appears to be unable to ever return to Mac as his wife, he has a different view on the subject. He will stop at nothing to show her he has changed for the better to be the husband she deserves and vows to do everything he can to bring her back to his side…for good.
Mac is absolutely adorable. I can find no other way to describe him except as a reckless and charming man that will leave you breathless. You know he has hurt Isabella in the past, but the man we are introduced to is playful, humorous and seductive. He is absolutely loyal to Isabella despite everything they have been through and her ultimate protector. He is the hero any girl dreams of and the hero we wish lived in all our romance novels.
I’ll be honest, at the beginning I thought Isabella was a complete idiot for leaving Mac. I couldn’t imagine why she would leave the perfect hero I had been reading about. ‘She must be one of those females,’ I thought…the kind you want to smack and knock some sense into. Then you discover their past and realize the reasons behind her actions. You see her as woman helplessly in love with a man she feels is just out of her reach and she is beyond despair. She becomes a bold woman full of admirable qualities, just doing what she has to do to survive with her heart somewhat intact. It is easy to see why Mac is so devoted to her, for she is as stunningly beautiful and intelligent as he perceives her to be.
“I mean the story that you kept my coat in your bed with you all night. Lucky garment. You forget how swiftly gossip runs between our houses. Our servants have a messaging system that Prussian generals would envy.”
Isabella gave him a haughty look. “You know what staff can be like when they get an idea into their heads. The story grows with each retelling.”
“Servants can be quite perceptive, my sweet. Far more intelligent than their masters.”
“I only mean that you shouldn’t take everything they say as absolute.”
“Of course not. May I beg a glove from you so I can lay it on my pillow tonight? You can refuse my request, of course.”
“I do refuse. Most emphatically.”
“I wish only to entertain the servants,” he said.
“Then send them to a music hall.”
The first fifty pages, I was excited by the humor and frivolity of this novel. It seemed a fun and exciting novel to read. But do not mistake this novel for just a light read. There is plenty more beyond the cover to be discovered. It truly is an emotional story about love gained, lost and reclaimed again. Mac has horrible demons that overwhelmed him and forced his separation from his wife, despite how much they loved each other. They both have experienced hell and this is the story about the road they travel out of the deepest darkest pits of despair to reclaim some form of happiness.
Jennifer Ashley introduces an interesting method to tell their story. You are brought into this story during their first reunion since their separation. Why they separated is a story told through excerpts from gossip columns describing the events of their lives. And of course, as the story progresses, the characters themselves reveal the reasons behind what truly happened. When the story starts, their “new” courtship is filled with tension and humor, but slowly develops more depth and becomes more emotional.
In summary, you should not miss Lady Isabella’s Scandalous Marriage. Ashley weaves a delightful tale that is sure to make you laugh, cry and sigh with delight. Her novel is a stunning example of how love cannot hold a marriage together, and can actual cause people to make poor decisions. Still, love can also bring clarity to some people and heal old wounds. Any fan of historical romance would be doing themselves a great injustice were they to miss this splendid tale!