Review – The Untamed Mackenzie (The Mackenzies #5.5) by Jennifer Ashley

The Untamed Mackenzie cover image
Publisher: Berkley
Publish Date: Sep 10th
How I got this book: ARC from the publisher via Netgalley

To redeem her family’s disgraced name, Lady Louisa Scranton has decided to acquire a proper husband. He needs to be a man of fortune and highly respectable in order to restore both her family’s lost wealth and reputation. She enters the Marriage Mart with all flags flying, determined to find the right bachelor.

But Louisa’s hopes are dashed when the Bishop of Hargate drops dead at her feet—and she is shockingly accused of murder! Soon, Louisa’s so-called friends begin shunning her, because the company of a suspected killer is never desirable in polite society.

The problem comes to the ears of Detective Inspector Lloyd Fellows, by-blow of the decadent Scottish Mackenzie family and an inspector for Scotland Yard. He has shared two passionate kisses with Lady Louisa–and vows to clear her name. For not only does he know she’s innocent, he recognizes he’s falling for the lovely lady.

Fellows is Louisa’s only hope of restoring her family’s honor—and it is he alone who intrigues Louisa in a way that may be even more scandalous than murder…
This blurb came from Goodreads.

I have been curious about Lloyd since his introduction in The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie, book 1 of The Mackenzies. In the early books he played the part of a tenacious not quite villain but certainly an obstacle to the Mackenzie plans. Over time and with the insistence of the Mackenzies and their wives he a somewhat regular fixture at family gatherings. But I still didn’t know a lot about his past and what made him tick. This story provided some very interesting insights into Lloyd and explained a lot about his behavior in earlier books.

Lloyd knew he was welcome at the Mackenzies anytime but he never quite felt comfortable. Growing up as a fatherless member of the lower class he had to scrap and fight for everything including his current position as a detective. Based on his tenacious nature he was called in to investigate crimes committed across the levels of society. As a result he never quite felt that he fit. His feelings about the Mackenzies were made even more complicated by his attraction to Louisa, a woman he felt was way above his station in life. Then Lloyd was assigned by name to a sudden death under mysterious circumstances investigation with Louisa as the prime suspect. Lloyd believed that she was innocent but he had to fight politics, mutual attraction, family meddling, Louisa’s trust in the system, and an investigation with everything pointed at Louisa as the murderess. It was fascinating watching him try to make his way through the tangled maze to find the truth and also get the girl.

Louisa wasn’t as fleshed out as Lloyd I think because more of what formed her was readily evident. Unlike Lloyd’s mixed up background, Louisa came from a privileged family that fell on hard times when it was discovered that her father had swindled a lot of people out of their money. Their resulting fall from society’s grace was partially saved by her sister’s marriage into the Mackenzie family and their subsequent acceptance. Louisa was relatively sheltered and naive despite the repercussions of her father’s actions. She believed that regardless of how things looked since she didn’t commit a murder she didn’t have anything to worry about. She faced a rude awakening by the treatment she received from her acquaintances and how Lloyd seemed to blow hot and cold with his physical actions around her. I did absolutely LOVE how when Louisa decided to stand up for herself she did it without any sign of weakness.

I found myself fascinated on several different levels. I enjoyed the investigative set-up and its roadblocks not to mention the internal police politics. Several people ended up having a motive for murder but no one except Louisa was around when he collapsed. I loved how Lloyd used his influence to stay on his case and also how one of his subordinates had a little chat with another about loyalty. I liked watching Louisa come to a few realizations about life, people, and that sometimes a person’s actions have a hidden motivation. I liked seeing the Mackenzie family dynamic in play. Most of them were in the background but their essential personalities did peek through. The scenes with Daniel made me anticipate his book even more. I also liked Lloyd’s interaction with the Mackenzies and his mother. It was very nice to see them grow closer together as the investigation progressed.

As I look back at what I have written it strikes me that I haven’t really discussed the romance aspect. While I enjoyed reading the romance at the time now a few days later none of it left a lingering impression on my mind like the things I mentioned above. As a result it seems the romance a bit mehish. Yes they were attracted to each other, yes they had some enjoyable times, but I really wasn’t invested in it as much as I was the dynamics of everything else.

All in all this was a rather light pleasant read. I thought that Lloyd was the focus of this book and wish that Louisa had an equal role. I was far more interested in Lloyd’s interactions and his life. It seemed like he did inherit part of the Mackenzie force of self while Louisa was a shadow compared to the will demonstrated by her sister. I hope that Ashley returns to the form I expect from a Mackenzie book with Daniel’s story.

I give The Untamed Mackenzie a C+

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4 thoughts on “Review – The Untamed Mackenzie (The Mackenzies #5.5) by Jennifer Ashley”

  1. I do love Jennifer’s books, and look forward to reading this story, as I was intriguied by both characters earlier. I do hope to like it a bit more though. And of course I hope Daniel delivers! He has such great role models after all.

  2. I am not sure if I will read this. I loved the first couple of books in the series but the last few didn’t thrill me

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