on August 2, 2011
Six years ago, Lord Cameron Mackenzie found Ainsley Douglas rooting around his bedroom. Before she left, she was seduced and had secretly taken a necklace which she thought belonged to another woman. Later, Cameron was angry she took the necklace, but more angry that she stopped the seduction. Feeling she would betray her elderly husband, she wouldn't let Cameron have his wicked way with her. For these past six years, Cameron has burned for her. Bitter and angry over his wife's scandalous death many, many years ago, Cameron has had the pleasures of many ladies in his bed. Well known for training race horses, some say he likes them better than he likes women.
In present day, Ainsley's husband has died, and not leaving her much money, she takes a position to be an aide to the Queen. The Queen wrote some letters to an admirer that could get her into much scandal if they become public - and someone has those letters and is blackmailing the Queen. It is Ainsley's job to find the letters, and return them. She just so happens to see a woman put a letter into Lord Cameron's pocket - and that is how Ainsley finds herself rooting around Lord Cameron's bedroom again. And gets caught again.
This time Cameron is not going to let her escape. Not used to women telling him no, he likes the chase that Ainsley provides. He also becomes aware of the blackmail scheme and is determined to help Ainsley whether she wants his help or not.
I adore this series about the four Mackenzie brothers that Jennifer Ashley writes. The Many Sins of Lord Cameron is the third book, and can be read as a stand alone, although you are missing out if you haven't read the first two. The Mackenzie brothers are all wealthy, powerful, MEN. I use caps because they act so male. Always getting what they want, always leaving women drooling in their wake (well, maybe not Ian, but you have to read his book to understand him). Cam is the "dangerous" brother. Having a wife who slashed her own throat when their son was only 6 months old (he is about 18 now), many still accuse Cam of murdering her. But this also makes him very attractive to those women who seek a thrill in bed. Cam is pretty much set upon never marrying again - until he can't keep his mind off of Ainsley. He wants her. And the cute thing is, she wants him just as bad. But she tries her best to be a lady. As Cameron points out:
"You pick locks and sneak into my bedroom, you know the back ways through my ancestral home, you're blatantly searching my bedchamber, and last night you wrestled with me on my bed." He took a deliberate sip of whiskey. "I'd say that makes you not a lady."
I really enjoyed Ainsley. She can see through Cameron's bitter layers, to the hurt way down deep. Plus she is so attracted to his body - hello, he wears a kilt, and we learn, nothing under it. Jennifer Ashley writes very sensual, sexy books and Cameron is definitely a very wicked Mackenzie brother. They play this game where Cameron dares her to unbutton a certain number of buttons from the front of her dress. It becomes quite a naughty game - and it continues throughout the book. And then they are in a dark opera box, and she asks him, how many buttons (referring to his pants) he will undo. Oh so sexy.
On the surface Cameron is your typical broody, alpha male. But, as you read he really has a unique, and devastating past. He was abused by his wife. Horribly, physically abused. This big hulk of a man, desperate to protect his infant son, let horrible things happen to him. And this still affects how he trusts females in present day.
The conflict with the blackmail and the Queen is not my favorite here. I'm not sure why - maybe because Cameron is so powerful, the blackmailer really was no match for him. And Ainsley, after a brief hesitation to accept his help, realizes she needs him to complete this nonsense. I enjoyed Cameron and Ainsley working together to solve this blackmail problem though.
Otherwise, this book is very enjoyable. We see some nice scenes from Lord Ian (still my favorite Mackenzie brother). And Hart is set up for his book next - which I am dying for.
If you love the first two books in this series, you will enjoy this one as well. If you haven't tried these, I definitely recommend.
on August 5, 2011
Ainsley Douglas has the most bothersome task of circumventing a blackmail attempt against the Queen of England. An unhappily married ton darling has got it into her pretty, conniving little head to exploit Queen Victoria's private infatuation with her servant, John Brown. Ainsley, being a graduate of the Pringle Select Academy for Young Ladies and a family favourite of the Queen, has been given the mission to retrieve the incriminating love letters from the bothersome blackmailer.
The only problem is that Ainsley's only opportunity to confront the lady is at a house party being thrown by politico, Hart Mackenzie, at his family estate. And Ainsley's one weakness is in attendance - Cameron Mackenzie. Six years ago Ainsley and Cameron had a seductive near-miss where Ainsley nearly found herself committing adultery to be with the smoulderingly handsome middle Mackenzie brother. Six years on and Ainsley is a widower - Cameron is a cavorting Lothario who enjoys losing himself in horses and whiskey.
When these two join forces to curb the blackmailer sparks are reignited. Cameron is himself a widower, survivor of a horrendous marriage that ended in his wife's suicide and him being accused of her murder. The last thing he could ever want is to marry again - but Ainsley Douglas piqued his interest six years ago, and now she's back and more appealing than ever . . .
`The Many Sins of Lord Cameron' is the third book in Jennifer Ashley's deliciously decadent historical romance series; `Highland Pleasures / Mackenzies'.
I fell in love with Ashley's series last year, when I read first book `The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie.' I loved Ashley's blend of unconventional rakes, family saga and seductive romantic entanglements . . . I was somewhat deflated by second book `Lady Isabella's Scandalous Marriage.' But I am well and truly enamoured of the Mackenzie men, and settled into this series for the long haul. Still, I was rather delighted to read that Cameron's book brings the series back to romantic brilliance.
Cameron piqued my interest back in Ian's book, when it was revealed that his wife met an untimely death that left Cameron's reputation in tatters and the relationship with his son somewhat strained. Middle child he may be, but Cameron's mysterious past, shrouded in tragedy and London gossip, had me very much intrigued. Still, I was unprepared for the devastating lengths Jennifer Ashley would go to with Cameron's past. We learn about his `mad' wife, Elizabeth, who was older than Cameron when they married and remained hell-bent on using him for his money while carrying on her hedonistic lifestyle. Elizabeth was truly heinous - a self-destructive, bitter and egotistical lecher. She scarred Cameron and left him a shell of a man. His only saving grace was their son, Daniel, whom Cameron protected against his wife's callousness. Honestly, when you read what Cameron went through in his first marriage you will alternate between disgust and outright sympathy.
So when Cameron runs into Ainsley Douglas, six years after their first seductive almost-encounter, he is attracted and intrigued . . . but in no way likely to start a relationship. Which is fine by Ainsley - she is a working widow, dependent upon the Queen's paycheque and her brother's kindness. Ainsley doesn't expect a Mackenzie Lord to be serious about her - not to mention she has her own war wounds from ruined relationships.
It's only through undeniable attraction (and Daniel Mackenzie's match-making) that these two form an unlikely but undeniable bond. I loved reading them together, because it's a matter of opposites attracting. Despite her station in life, Ainsley is upbeat and cheerful - always looking on the bright side and willing to give a helping hand to those she loves. Cameron, by contrast, is pessimistic and solitary; a veritable curmudgeon except where his horses and his close-knit family are concerned. They bring out the best in each other, and work at tearing down each other's walls and defeating the other's demons.
I did love Cameron - it's impossible not to, when this big strong and handsome man has such a tender touch despite a dark past. Still, my favourite Mackenzie man remains Hart Mackenzie - the oldest brother and hardest nut to crack. Hart is a politician and widower, whose frail wife died in childbirth years ago. Hart was rumoured to host orgies in his youth, before politics became his world. But even before all that, Hart was the first Mackenzie to fall in love - and get his heart broken. He was engaged to Eleanor, but she broke off the engagement (for reasons unknown, but hinted at) and Hart has never been the same since.
I love Hart. What can I say? I like them tall, dark and unyielding. And I especially loved him in this book, because we get to meet his `one that got away'. Eleanor is a most interesting woman, with wise words to share with her friend about those pesky and delicious Mackenzie men.
I'm just perturbed that I'll have to wait for Hart's book, `The Duke's Perfect Wife', until April 2012. Bother and damnation! But my ire was somewhat lessened when I discovered that Ms Ashley has two more books planned after Hart's instalment. In 2013 we'll get `The Seduction of Elliott McBride' - not a Mackenzie, but Ainsley's brother who has an interesting story to tell. And in October 2013 we'll be treated to `The Life and Love of Daniel Mackenzie' - which I am *THRILLED* about because Daniel proved himself a lovable and ramshackle young man in `Many Sins', and I am eager to read his transformation into a mad Mackenzie man!
Jennifer Ashley has well and truly suckered me into the Mackenzie family. I love these men; with their brutish facades, tragic pasts and tender hearts. Lord Cameron is another brilliant protagonist, paired with an equally infectious heroine. Ashley's `Highland Pleasures' series keeps getting better and better - but I predict she will hit her stride with the beautiful and cold, Hart Mackenzie. Hurry up 2012!
on January 9, 2015
Jennifer Ashley's Mackenzie series follows the lives of four brothers who, after being thoroughly abused both physically and emotionally at the hands of their father, find redemption and hope for a happier life in the arms of four good women who are strong enough to help them through their respective troubles. The first in the series was about the youngest brother, Ian Mackenzie who was institutionalized for 'madness' by his father to keep his silence over what he witnessed as young boy. Lord Ian's book, while hard to read at times, is excellent. The second in the series follows Mac Mackenzie, a gifted painter who suffered at his father's hands because he thought that his interest in art made him an 'unnatural.' Although it follows the plot pattern of the first book with little more than a change of names, it is also quite good.
This book brings us to Lord Cameron, who in the previous two books is a secondary character but who is deemed by his brothers to be the toughest among the four. He is slightly bigger than his brothers, is described as physically the toughest, and is a horse trainer which is itself, a physically demanding profession. All of that would seem to indicate that he wouldn't have too much trouble defending himself from the physical assaults of a small, petite woman, specifically his first wife.
In the two previous books and the 4th book about the oldest brother, Hart Mackenzie (I read this book out of order), the abuse has come at the hands of their father. The descriptions of that abuse is horrific and produced a fair amount of angst for this reader. In Cameron's story, the abuse comes at the hands of his first wife, sometimes with his permission. The espoused reason is that he his trying to protect his infant son or acting out of some romantic notion that his patience might be rewarded with a more reasonable wife, but for me it just didn't wash. Cam's abuse at the hands of his wife is pretty terrible and it is hard for me to believe that he couldn't find some alternative way to protect his son, let alone himself. It all just felt unreasonably contrived.
Bottom line: I like angst in a romantic novel, but I like it to be plausible. This was not and as a result, I judge Lord Cameron's book to be the weakest of the bunch.
on August 18, 2011
In concept, this was a great book. In execution it missed for me. Cameron's dead wife isn't just abusive, she is psychotically abusive. Where a more realistic portrait of a man who has suffered abuse would work, Ashley decides to take it over the top and then keep going. His ex wife is a sadist, suicidal, murderous, so unhinged that it defies explanation. The reader is unable to engage with Cameron. Ainsley is more likable as a loyal and pragmatic women with a healthy attraction to this damaged man. There is simply too much of everything in The Many Sins of Lord Cameron. His best friend borders on Magical Romney, with the requisite who saved whose life backstory. In Ainsley the author tries to have it both ways. Ainsley must instantly answer the queen and obey her utterly, yet Ainsley can also run off without permission to marry and physically touch the queen after being dismissed from her court. Everything is black and white. The rival horse owner isn't misguided, he is callous and bigoted, including a refusal to make a profit if it means doing business with a Scotsman. The elements of character have all been turned up to eleven, making it impossible to ignore their clamor. This is not a bad book, but it is one I struggled to finish.
on September 17, 2015
Cameron McKenzie is sexy and charming, and he goes through women like a box of tissues. He's also hot tempered, given to rages and black moods, and is only happy on a horse. A confirmed bachelor, Cam is so allergic to marriage, the very word makes him ill. But then, he has his reasons.
Then along comes Ainsley Douglas, one of the most interesting female characters in an HR that I've seen so far. Ainsley isn't the typical retiring Victorian woman; there is nothing conventional about her, except perhaps the way she dresses. She picks locks and solves problems as a fixer for a certain royal personage (who makes an awesome cameo).
It isn't long before she sets about fixing Cam -- and she does it the way she does everything else -- with subtly, intelligence, and style. She is a great character, and Ashley gives her great dialogue.
This is my second favorite book in the series, after Ian's, and in fact, the dynamic between the MCs is similar. Maybe that's why this is my second favorite book in the series!
Do not miss it!
(Note: This part of the review refers to the audiobook: Angela Dawe sounds a little more strident and rushed at times in this performance. Her reading of the text gives a tension and sense of danger, even when there was no danger imminent. Intrigue, yes. Danger? Well, a little.
She over-did it a bit, which caused me to over-think it, and kept me unnecessarily on the edge of my seat. My advice is to try and relax and enjoy the ride, and don't look for boogeymen everywhere. Now that I know where it's going, I know I'll enjoy it even more the 2nd time, and isn't that a great thing to say about any book?)
Please note: Audible posts reviews at its discretion. All the submitted reviews become the property of Audible.com as set
on January 12, 2015
The Good, The Bad and Everything In Between
Not afraid to tackle difficult themes: This entire series has been anchored by interesting themes - autism, mental illness, alcoholism, spousal abuse. This entire series has been entertaining and well written, with fully realized characters who aren’t perfect, but are very interesting to read about.
Tortured heroes are like catnip to me: It’s been established that Cameron’s father was a horrible man who abused all of his sons in different ways The impression I had of Cam from previous books was a hard drinking, womanizer, larger than life man who loves his horses. What I didn’t truly expect was that Cameron was a battered spouse, abused by his dead wife - something that is not normally dealt with in historicals. The things his dead wife did to him, and the mental illness she clearly suffered from, gave it a twist that I wasn’t expecting. Men are expected to suffer in silence, and the resulting PTSD that Cameron deals with, really resonated with me. Ian may be my favorite Mackenzie, but Cameron is definitely my #2.
Ainsley is another strong heroine: Ainsley has been living as a drudge, but I love the fact that she seizes the day, and isn’t a shy, retiring wallflower.
More of a character study: which is another way of saying that there’s no real strong plot. The romance is a big part of it, but the reason it begins, the letters, peters out relatively quickly.
The Bottom Line
I loved Cameron and Ainsley was a perfect match for him. Ms. Ashley continues to impress me with this series, and I highly recommend it for historical romance fans.
on October 3, 2011
This is why I keep reading Jennifer Ashley, despite not enjoying each book I try. I keep hoping to stumble upon a book that'll knock my socks off, like the first one I read by her. I found that with this book and couldn't be happier. I may not like every Ashley book out there, but when I do find one I like, it's not a tame like--I completely fall in love.
I am completely satisfied with this book. I can't think of a single thing I'd like to change--which is pretty surprising and thrilling. I wasn't sure what to expect from Cameron after seeing him in the previous books. I didn't dislike him, per se, but he came off as a bit of an ass. I didn't have any hard and fast expectations of this book, but I certainly didn't conceive of Cam being like this. He was so utterly sweet and romantic--although I doubt he'd agree. He had some serious baggage from his first marriage--serious baggage--and, oh, my heart broke for him. It made me smile to watch him slowly fall for someone so perfect for him.
There is a brief blackmail subplot in the beginning of the book, but it's clear that it will resolve pretty quickly and that it really only exists to provide an excuse to get Ainsley away from the queen and in Cam's path again. I was glad that it was resolved quickly, because that left us the whole book to focus exclusively on the relationship developing between Ainsley and Cam. It was oh so wonderful to watch Cam fall in love despite himself. He has had so much pain in his life that I don't begrudge him having a hard time getting past his issues. Frankly, I wouldn't have believed it if it had been sooner. But Ashley develops the gradual shift from pure lust to love to trust so naturally that you can't help but believe.
In addition to loving Cam, I absolutely adored Ainsley. She was such a good person. It's no wonder that Cam fixated on her whenever she came within his vicinity. She was such a change from the women he was used to. The ones that he by turns despised and desired. She stood completely opposite of everything that he had came to believe in women. It was to her credit that she had patience and was willing to disregard his distrust and disdain of most women. He never felt that way about her, but he fumbled a few times as he tried to figure out how to approach and entice someone so different from what he was used to.
One of my favorite things about Ainsley is how well she treated Cam's issues. She wasn't willing to let him completely ignore them, but she never got angry and irrational at him when he was unable to get past them. She just let him go and resolved to try again later. That right there made me completely respect her. She never twisted his issues and made them about her. She knew full well what caused them and didn't try to misread the situation and take offense. How can I not love such a rational creature? They're so dang rare in Romance.
As with the other books in the series, Ashley features the full cast of characters without making them seem superfluous or letting them take over the story. She shows just enough to interest the new readers and to please the old readers with an update on how the couples are doing. We are teased a bit with a short scene with Hart and Eleanor together. I am very, very excited to finally get their book. Hart may be cold and harsh at times in the series, but he is a fascinating man, and I can't wait to get into his head. We also get quite a bit of Daniel here. It makes sense, of course, since he's Cam's son. I was just surprised by how completely likable I found him. He didn't make much of an impression on me before, but his determination to manipulate his father into doing what he thought best, and his matter of fact (but sad) acceptance of his mother's flaws has me quite intrigued with him.
This book has me firmly back on the Ashley bandwagon. I can't wait for Hart's book.
on June 10, 2014
The thought the book was good. Clearly I am confused on some of the people's reviews. I think they missed what they were reading. They kept saying they didn't understand how a person like Cam could have put up with his first wife's abuse and didn't lock her away. First Cam kept her with him because she got pregnant. She was going to do something to get rid of Daniel, so he had to keep an eye on her. After she had Daniel, he thought she would settle down. She didn't, and ended up killing herself before he could commit her. As far as the abuse goes I did think the burning thing was something he could have stopped her from doing. As for the rest of it, it clearly states she drugged him and then did those things to him while he was passed out. I don't think this was better than The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie or do I think it was worse. I think people really like the first book because Ian was autistic, however I could connect better with Cam because he was not. With Cam at least it seemed more than just sex. Ian with him being autistic it seemed more like he just wanted sex to calm himself. Not that it was a mad book. I applaud her for doing one with someone who is special. I also do not see why people ragged on Ainley for going back to help with the queen.
With that being said you have Ainley trying to get something back for the Queen, you have horse training, a trip to Paris and Monte Carlo, and drama with a horse owner, and the queen. I liked Cam, he was very vulnerable but hid it with all his womanizing, drinking etc.... Isabella is probably the own female I really liked so far in this series. Not that they were bad, I just have not connected with the other females in these books. I like the men best. They have had a rough go of it. Will see what happens in Hart's book. As with the other books there are several sex scenes, but they are not really detailed. Some people may think they are, but they aren't. Also these books are not really exciting but they well written and keep me interested. This series is more of a lord and lady series, and not really a Scottish series even if they are Scottish.
Sex content medium.
on August 7, 2011
I am sorry, but this book fell short of the other two in the series. Ian's story is one of my all time favorites. His story was got me addicted to reading Jennifer Ashley's series, so I was greatly disappointed with Cam's story. The heroine was good, though, no silly girl with all sort of hang ups and all that AND when he proposed marriage, she was not like, "No, I can't marry you until you love me,..etc.." She was like, "Let's do this!" I liked that. But, something about the story did not seem right. It felt rushed.
I did like how much we got to see Ian and Beth again.
on January 16, 2014
Read/Listened for Fun (Audible/Kindle)
Tracking Books Read Review (Short)
Overall Rating: 5.00
Story Rating: 5.00
Character Rating: 5.00
Audio Rating: 4.50 (not part of the overall rating)
First Thought when Finished: The Many Sins of Lord Cameron was delightfully wicked and emotionally gut-wrenching at the same time!
Overall Thoughts: I think it is clear by now that I am just plowing through this series. I am so in love with it! It is dark, sexy, and wonderfully written. Cameron though is my favorite brother (I can say that successfully now that I have read all 4 + the Christmas Novella). He is damaged, sexy, wicked, and does the biggest bastard to HEA turn in the series. I was rooting for him every step of the way and really only Ainsley could have brought him to his knees. He needed someone who could go toe-to-toe with him and not back down. He also needed someone who could work though his particular damage (it was extensive) and be patient with the quirks that brought to his personality. This also makes me wonder how his son (Daniel--first marriage) will turn out. I can't wait to read his book because he is dealing with some his father's baggage too. *sigh* This was just fantastic!
Narrated By Angela Dawe / Length: 9 hrs and 8 mins
Angela pulled of Cam and Ainsley with a precision that made me smile. I am really enjoying her narration of this series.
Final Thoughts: I don't know what I will do when I catch up! Probably try her shifter series LOL
The count said in careful English, "That was perhaps not, as you English say, very sporting."
"Games are played to win," Cameron said. "And we're Scottish.”