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REVIEW: The Many Sins of Lord Cameron by Jennifer Ashley

Dear Ms. Ashley:

In The Madness of Lord Ian MacKenzie, Mac says to Ian:

Mac sighed, cutting through the memory. “We’re Mackenzies. We don’t get happy endings.” Ian wiped his eyes with the back of his hand and didn’t answer.

The Many Sins of Lord Cameron by Jennifer AshleyTheir father lived by the mantra that sparing the rod spoiled the child. He beat his youngest son, Ian, because Ian couldn’t look him in the face.  He beat Mac because Mac was unnaturally attracted to art.  He beat Hart, the eldest, because he felt the heir should be beat.  He left Cameron only, mostly because of Cameron’s interest in horses and women seemed to parallel the Duke’s interest the closest.  At about the age of nineteen, Cameron married a high strung society beauty Elizabeth.  Elizabeth had never been stable and Cameron’s attempts to reign her in, made her strike out at Cameron in cruel ways.  There seemed to be few parts of Cameron’s body that did not bear the physical scars of her madness and all his encounters with women after her death reinforced his emotional scars–that women were capricious and faithless, at best; cruel and dangerous, at worst.

When Cameron first meets Ainsley Douglas, he places her in the first category—capricious and faithless.  Ainsley was found lurking about his chambers.  She wouldn’t be the first married woman to want to get tupped by Cameron and he was happy to oblige only at the last minute, Ainsley found her wits and refused Cameron, stating that her elderly husband was a good man and did not deserve to be cuckolded.   When Cameron finds her in his chambers six years later, he’s not so sanguine.  Ainsley has been on the fringes of his life for six years.  The Ainsley/Cameron connection is one of the weakest parts of the book.  Cameron really shouldn’t fall in love with Ainsley because she’s sneaky.  She’s lied to him before.  She’s always in his chambers trying to take something from him.

If Cameron really believes that women are cruel, capricious and faithless (and I believe that the text shows that he does) then why he falls for Ainsley is befuddling.  Yet, he does and quickly.  Ainsley is one of the queen’s ladies in waiting and she is attempting to retrieve something that belongs to the queen from a former lady in waiting.  Cameron assists Ainsley in this task and invites her to have an affair with him.  His feelings toward her, however, are stronger than simply wanting to have her in his bed.  Perhaps it all dates back to Ainsley’s first rejection of Cameron, based on her devotion to her aged husband.

Ainsley considers the offer, even consults with Eleanor the woman who jilted Hart MacKenzie.  Should she give up her reputation and her place with the virtuous Queen Victoria to have an affair with Cameron MacKenzie?  It’s not a small decision because Ainsley has spent a long time carving out a life for herself.  Her family loves her but she didn’t want to live in their pockets, the spinster aunt, for her entire life.  She knows that Queen Victoria would never approve and she does not have the status nor resources to recover from a liaison with Cameron MacKenzie.

Cameron’s love for his horses is much more understandable.  Part of the story is about how Cameron is asked to train a particularly beautiful but mistreated mare by her wastrel owner.  Cameron wants to buy the horse, but the owner refuses.   Cameron’s relationship with Ainsley is often frenetic, as if it will end at any moment, and thus they both try to shove in as much living as possible in each day.  It makes their union tinged with a sense of foreboding.

Ainsley is the right foil for Cameron. She’s very grounded, perhaps because of her past mistakes.  She’s patient.  I liked that she came from a loving family and while not well off, she wasn’t so destitute that she had to do anything.  When she went to Cameron, she did so because she wanted to, not because circumstances forced her to do so.  I also thought that the pairing of Ainsley and Cameron felt right. Even though I felt that how they fell in love was glossed over, I did believe that these two people fit together perfectly and that only Ainsley could have saved Cameron from himself, brought him back from the precipice.  In the end it didn’t really matter that I never saw what brought the two of them together.  The end justified the path it took to get there.

Cameron is not very heroic. He sleeps around with seemingly no real standards, he’s an indifferent father at best, and he cares mostly about his horses.  Ainsley is the hero in this story.  She’s there to save yet another MacKenzie from utter emotional ruin.  I can’t resist the strong, pragmatic Ainsley and the wounded Cameron.  B

Best regards,

Jane

PS Someone on twitter said that Lord Ian steals whatever scene he is in and I have to agree. He’s my favorite MacKenzie brother yet.

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Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com

6 Comments

  1. Mandi
    Aug 01, 2011 @ 10:10:49

    I really thought the author did a nice job showing/telling us about Cameron’s past abuse. I loved how he was pretty alpha, but had that horrible history. His son is a nice supporting character as well.

    And I totally agree – Ian steals every scene. The honey scene had me smiling.

    I think Hart is set up well..can’t wait for his story.

  2. Las
    Aug 01, 2011 @ 11:04:36

    I think I’ll skip this one. The previous two books in the series are the only Ashley books I’ve read, and I had problems with both. Her writing is beautiful, but, with Ian’s story, she did too good a job with the characters and I was left feeling that they shouldn’t have ended up together. With the second book, there was just something lacking that I couldn’t put my finger on, though the characterizations worked much better for me.

    I really like the setup of this series, I like the characters, but when those characters get their own books the stories fall flat.

  3. Kim
    Aug 01, 2011 @ 11:25:11

    @Jane This book was at Borders last week and I noticed it seemed unusually thin. Does it feel like the story was fully developed or did it need to be just a bit longer? Whichever the case, I enjoyed the first two books, so I’m sure I’ll read this one as well.

  4. Jane
    Aug 01, 2011 @ 11:29:45

    @Kim I didn’t feel like it was too short. In fact, as I re-read Lord Ian’s book, I think it had the same “problem” but that it made sense for Lord Ian. He made decisions in an instant. He knew that Beth was a rarity.

    In Cameron’s book, I wasn’t so sure why he was so entranced with Ainsley (I liked her, of course, by Cameron had few scruples and even fewer morals when it came to women). Why wouldn’t he just have an affair with her? Why did he want something deeper so early? Why was he championing her? I liked all these things that he did, I just wondered why.

  5. Robin/Janet
    Aug 01, 2011 @ 11:50:46

    I enjoyed this book, but I think Ashley relied on the ‘we know Ainsley is a virtuous woman so Cam must, too’ shortcut to facilitate the match.

    The thing I probably liked most was the budding relationship between Cameron and his son. In fact, that might be the real love story for me in this book.

  6. August Recommended Reads - Dear Author
    Aug 01, 2011 @ 12:03:15

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