Review: Lady Isabella’s Scandalous Marriage by Jennifer Ashley

Format: E-book
Read with: Amazon Kindle
Length: Novel
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: Highland Pleasures, Book 2
Publisher: Berkley
Hero: Lord Roland Mac Mackenzie
Heroine: Isabella Mackenzie
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: July 6, 2010
Started On: October 4, 2010
Finished On: October 9, 2010

I have finally managed to finish the second book in the Highland Pleasures series which started off with a bang with The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie which I reviewed earlier this month. This is the story of Mac who is 3rd in line to receive dukedom. We get to see glimpses of Mac and his intriguing as well as extremely likable and separated wife Isabella Mackenzie who befriends Beth and reluctantly shows signs that she misses and loves her husband something fierce.

This story kicks off when Isabella comes calling at Mac’s home after she left him 3 years ago, a period during which although they had come across one another neither had resorted to exchange pleasantries with one another. After Ian’s marriage to Beth and his intuitive probing into Mac’s life sends Mac running back to London in the intention of wooing his wife back into his life, Mac didn’t anticipate that his wife would walk in on him painting a woman in all her naked glory.

Isabella comes calling on Mac because someone seems to be creating forgeries of Mac’s art work and selling it for profit, something which Isabella knew that Mac doesn’t do since he always donates his immensely good paintings to anyone of his friends who wants them. Though Mac treats the issue lightly, Isabella is outraged to think that someone was so blatantly going about impersonating Mac and creating extremely good forgeries of Mac’s paintings.

Although a lot of heartache and pain still lingers between Mac and Isabella, neither one of them has stopped wanting one another or loving each other. Each in their own ways had suffered during the 3 year period of separation and had stayed faithful to each other all throughout. Now Mac is more than ready to properly court and woo back his wife, something which he had failed to do when Mac had gatecrashed Isabella’s coming out ball on a wager placed by his friends that he wouldn’t dare go uninvited to Earl Scranton’s virginal daughter’s coming out party and steal a kiss from the lady in question. But from the first moment that Mac lays eyes on beautiful Isabella, his heart thuds something fierce and the wanting that takes control of his heart and body makes him seduce his way into innocent Isabella’s heart and before the night is through they are lawfully wedded wife and husband rocking London with scandal. Mac vows that this time round he would do proper by the woman he loves more than life itself and gently court her back into his life.

However all plans go awry when Mac’s home is set on fire and Mac moves into Isabella’s house in town stirring London with scandal once again. The threat on Mac’s life gets him serious about the very possible fact that someone intentionally wants to impersonate him and would go to any lengths in order to achieve what he wants. And when Isabella is nearly kidnapped by the mad man himself who manages to escape and elude the authorities once again makes Mac stick to Isabella like glue.

Amidst all this, Mac’s creative juices which he thought he had lost when Isabella had walked out on him starts stirring the minute Isabella lets him know that she would pose naked for him for a series of erotic paintings his wild and partying friends had wagered him into completing. Its not only the creative juices that start flowing when these rather wicked painting sessions start up. Isabella who had always managed to heat his blood in ways unimaginable stirs his pent up longings with one touch and sets both of them ablaze with a desire that would no longer be denied.

Slowly these two embark on a journey fraught somewhat with danger with a mad impersonator on the loose. However even that doesn’t stop these two from rediscovering each other, understanding what had driven them apart and healing over the much heartache each had gone through in the end. Though Isabella is reluctant to see the change in Mac and accept that he won’t revert back to his wild ways once again she is no match for the desire of her heart to accept Mac back into her life. But before these two can possibly ever hope for a happily ever after of their own they have to face a madman who is hellbent on removing Mac to achieve his ultimate destiny of claiming Isabella as his own and Mac has to face his own fear of opening himself up to his beloved wife and make himself finally face what loving someone is really all about.

My favorite part of this book as many who has read the first book in the series would agree with me was catching glimpses of Ian and Beth throughout the story. And yes, I loved those bits at the beginning of each chapter that somehow managed to let the readers know what marriage between Mac and Isabella had been like before via newspaper clippings rather than taking the reader through a boring narrative of what life had been like for both of them. Though Isabella and Mac are likable characters, there just was that elusive something missing that didn’t make Mac’s story as good as Ian’s. Though after reading through the sneak peak of the next book in the series The Many Sins of of Lord Cameron which is to come out during the summer of 2011, I am very much intrigued in learning more about Cameron. He sounds like someone who would make for a great story.

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes&Noble | BooksOnBoard | Kobo

Rating from the sunny side of life: ★★★★½ 

Caliber Seal: AMAZING READ!

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