Elliot McBride and Juliana St. John have known each other since childhood and have been in love since their teens. The problem is that neither of the them acted on their feelings and now Juliana, at age 30, is set to wed Mr. Barclay, after a very long engagement. However, Juliana finds herself waiting at the altar, and is finally told that Mr. Barclay has eloped with his piano teacher. (Everyone thought is strange that a man of his age wanted to learn to play the piano and took to his lessons so avidly, but no one expected this!)
Seeking a moment to herself, Juliana slips into the chapel off the main church, and sits down unknowingly practically on the lap of Elliot McBride, not yet fully recovered from a brutal captivity at the hands of Punjabi bandits. Although we learn later that Elliot has come to stop the wedding and marry Juliana himself, Juliana, upset at her jilting, and loving Elliot anyway, asks him to take Mr. Barclay’s place. He does, and thus begins The Seduction of Elliot McBride.
Elliot’s treatment at the hands of his captors has lead him to seek a safe harbor in his love for Juliana, and loving him as she does, Juliana accepts his lovemaking and the solace it gives him. Surrounded by his Sikh servants who had saved his life in India and whom he has brought to England with him, a young Indian girl he claims is his daughter, and set with the task of restoring the crumbling family “castle” he has taken over, Juliana has much to consider as she settles in to her new life. Everyone in the neighborhood thinks that Elliot is a little bit mad because of his reclusiveness and his odd ways, and together he and Juliana fight the darkness that often envelopes him. Elliot believes a killer stalks the woods, a man from his past, of whom no one sees evidence, and as the mystery deepens and Elliot’s moods seem evermore daunting, the past and its terrors reveal themselves most unusually.
Elliot is the brother of Ainsley McBride MacKenzie, the heroine of The Many Sins of Lord Cameron, the third book in the MacKenzie brothers series. All four MacKenzie brothers and their families appear in this novel, and Elliot finds the company of the youngest brother, Ian, (The Madness of Lord Ian MacKenzie) particularly enjoyable, for if anyone understands Elliot’s supposed “madness”, it is Ian.
Jennifer Ashley writes paranormal romances also, but I much prefer her historicals. She has promised one more MacKenzie book, concerning Lord Cameron’s son, Daniel, to be out later this year. It will be sad to say goodbye to this family of unusual men and the women who love them, but perhaps it is true that all good things must come to an end. And every book of the series so far is one to be read and savored again.