The Stolen Mackenzie Bride by Jennifer Ashley
Series: Mackenzies & McBrides #8
Published by Penguin
Publication Date: September 29th 2015
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The New York Times bestselling author of Rules for a Proper Governess returns with an engrossing tale that promises to delight lovers of Outlander.
1745, Scotland: The youngest son of the scandalous Mackenzie family, Malcolm is considered too wild to tame…until he meets a woman who is too unattainable to resist.
Lady Mary Lennox is English, her father highly loyal to the king, and promised to another Englishman. But despite it being forbidden to speak to Malcolm, Lady Mary is fascinated by the Scotsman, and stolen moments together lead to a passion greater than she’d ever dreamed of finding.
When fighting breaks out between the Highlanders and the King's army, their plans to elope are thwarted, and it will take all of Malcolm’s daring as a Scottish warrior to survive the battle and steal a wife out from under the noses of the English.
From the Paperback edition.
The Stolen Mackenzie Bride is a prequel of sorts to Jennifer Ashley’s wildly popular Mackenzies and McBrides series. In some of the latter books, Old Malcolm is mentioned as the original whiskey producer and man who started many of the traditions the current Mackenzie’s follow. This is his story. I really enjoyed it.
Just like the current generation of Mackenzie’s we know and love, Malcolm and his brothers are reckless, intense and fun-loving. Malcolm meets Lady Mary Lennox and falls instantly in love. He’s determined to have her, despite that fact that she’s English and, oh yeah, engaged to someone else.
Lady Mary is ever dutiful, and she’s resigned to her upcoming marriage to a man quite a bit older than her. Until she meets Malcolm. He makes her realize there’s more to life than duty. His passion ignites her own, and she begins to feel things she never has before.
Mary’s sister is having her own troubles on the love-front, and Malcolm decides the way to gain Mary’s heart is to arrange for her sister to elope with the man she loves. He also arranges it so Mary has to help him, which puts him in direct contact with her often. He’s determined to have her for his own, and every encounter brings him closer to his goal.
First I need to just say how much I loved Malcolm. I really loved him. He’s passionate, friendly, responsible and determined. He was a well-rounded character with depth and strength, as well as a quick wit and a fun-loving personality. And he says the sweetest things to Mary.
“Ye are for me, Mary,” he said in a quite voice. “And I for you. And this will always be.”
He has a great sense of responsibility toward his family. Despite his sometimes silly antics, it’s really Malcolm who takes care of his brothers and father. Malcolm and his brothers have a wonderful relationship. I loved their interactions with each other. They teased each other mercilessly of course, but they also protected and loved one another.
“The least ye could do is help me meet yon beautiful lass.”
“And I’m calling to mind the last time I did ye such a favor. I remember pulling your naked self out of a burning house, and taking shot in my upper arm, which still hurts of a rainy morning. All because ye had to go after what wasn’t yours.”
Malcolm flushed at the memory. “Aye, any husband should be angry to find a strapping lad like me in his place next to his bonny wife, but he had no cause to set the bed on fire. Nearly killed the poor woman. Not surprised she left him behind and went to the colonies with her mum.”
The story doesn’t focus exclusively on the romance, but encompasses Malcolm and his brothers, his father, the journey of Bonnie Prince Charlie and the Jacobite cause, etc. It has a decidedly different feel than the other Mackenzie novels because of this, but I quite enjoyed it. The adventure was propelled by the brothers’ involvement (or not, as the case may be) with the Jacobite cause. I enjoyed the rich history Ashley imparted throughout the story, along with the personal tales of each brother. Duncan, the eldest, the twins Alec and Angus and the youngest, William, each added flavor to the story.
This was a sweeping tale of adventure, romance and intrigue. I was hooked from page one.
4.25 out of 5