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Beanbag Love

I read. I write. I talk about reading and writing. That is when I'm not driving kids somewhere or teaching them. Married, educated, domesticated. I really enjoy the friends I've met through a variety of different message boards and venues regarding reading and authors. I try to take a positive view when I write reviews but sometimes I can't. Those times are few and far between, but they do exist. I'm mostly an old softy, though. I think so anyway.

Currently reading

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell
Susanna Clarke

The Wicked Deeds of Daniel Mackenzie by Jennifer Ashley

The Wicked Deeds of Daniel Mackenzie (Mackenzies Series) - Jennifer Ashley

Finally we get to read Daniel's story! Since we first met him when he was a teenager it's a little strange to see him all grown up and finding love himself. But he's actually a wonderful hero even though I felt slightly dissatisfied by the end.

Daniel meets Violet when a man who owes him money takes Daniel to see this medium he's hosting in lieu of payment. Daniel goes along for the ride but is soon disgusted by his peer and the snooty bunch of young lords that accompany them. He feels sympathy for Violet's dependence on the demanding aristocrat while at the same time finding himself intrigued and enthralled by the engineering prowess displayed in her performance. She's got all the other young lords fooled. Daniel looks deeper and falls hard for her machines. Everybody's got a weakness, right?

I loved Daniel. I loved Violet. So what left me ever-so-slightly disappointed? I felt that some things were not completely resolved, especially on the emotional front. Not between Daniel and Violet, their chemistry was excellent and their friendship to love story was fine for the most part. It's the other family relationships that feel glossed over. I get that they're a messed up family communication-wise, but it seems like years have passed since the ice began to thaw so I'd like to see something a little more relatable.

The climax also felt a bit cluttered. I love seeing the Mackenzies in all their knock-down/drag-out glory, but it felt like they muddied things. Daniel being the four brothers' youngster for so long seems to demand that he get out of the biggest scrape in his story without their help. This family is a team, I know, but story arcs do demand some things and I think this one short-changed Daniel as an adult lead in that way.

However, Ashley writes this family so incredibly well, that my dissatisfaction at the very end was minor. And the excerpt from the next book -- about Ainsley's brother Sinclair McBride -- has me anxious to get my hands on that one the moment I can. I'm very loyal to this series, having only been truly disappointed in one of the books. I highly recommend the Mackenzie series to anyone who loves historical romance. It begins with "The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie" which I've seen on sale several times, so look for it.