I have always been a fan of Jennifer Ashley and her Mackenzie family, especially Ian. The Stolen Mackenzie Bride is a prequel of the series. In previous books we learn a little about the Mackenzie ancestor who made a name for himself with his whiskey and had quite the reputation. But that was only part of the story. I expected this one to be similar to her others a good read with the typical turn of events and an extremely satisfying ending; and I got that plus more. This book takes place during the period of time where there was a lot of political turmoil going on between Scotland and England. Bonnie Prince Charles was gathering his army and all about taking back the crown yadda, yadda,yadda, and well we all know how that ended. I love this book, it was engaging and entertaining and everything I look for in an excellent historical. There’s love at first sight, sexual tension, betrayal, kidnapping, sabotage, action, an intense battle sequence not to mention the unforeseen circumstances that ultimately FUBAR the whole scheme of things and complicate matters for the heroes and most importantly a love story for the ages.
From across a crowded room Malcolm Mackenzie fell in love. Lady Mary Lennox is the daughter of a stringent English loyalist who is planning on using her for political gain; she is already engaged to Lord Halsey. Mary is a dutiful daughter but one little kiss from the forthright Scotsman and her heart is lost, even if she doesn’t realize it yet. It all starts with Mary’s sister Audrey, and her forbidden love Jeremy Drake. Mary is aiding her sister send love letters to Jeremy when she first meets Mal. Mal as the youngest son of the Mackenzie family is such a caring man he takes care of everyone; even if no one else can see it. To get keep close to Mary he helps carry the love letter and after hearing Jeremy’s story they plot out a plan for the Audrey and Jeremy to runaway and get married. Mal is able to share his plan with Mary and get the details but at the same time Mal also has to keep an eye on his older brother who showed up in Edinburgh to ride with the rest of the Jacobite; to top it all off his father shows up all in an uproar because of it. It’s a downward spiral from there.
The uprising complicates everything for Mal and Mary. The Jacobite take Edinburgh and Mary barely makes it to Mal while her father and fiancé are taken in as traitors. Mal is able to arrange their release under the understanding that Mary’s father is his responsibility and if Mal pays Halsey the same amount Halsey would have got for marring Mary then she is free from the engagment. With Mary’s father and another English Officer under thumb Mal and Mary travel to his home of Kilmorgan. Things get better but not by much the fighting between the English and the Jacobite is affecting everyone, if you’re not loyal you are a traitor. It gets worse when one of the brothers is killed and Mal goes to war. Eventually the whole Mackenzie clan finds themselves at Culloden.
It gets very emotional, you get very close to Mal and his brothers even his stubborn father. If you have read the rest of the series you know something bad happens to leave Mal the last one to inherit the title of Earl of Kilmorgan, but it a satisfying ending, I don’t want to say much more it’s hard to write this and not cry just thinking about it. I will say it has an HEA and boy is it a good end to the beginning.
Overall, I cannot say anything bad about this book. I love it I must own it. If you haven’t read any of the series this is a good place to start.
**ARC provided by Publisher**