Now I have officially read all four Mackenzie brothers' stories. And despite the fact that I do liked Mac's and Hart' stories, I am definitely seeing a pattern, in terms of how I respond to Jennifer Ashley's stories.
I do like Hart and Eleanor and have to say they are my favorite couple. But it had everything to do with Hart, Eleanor could have been much better, but she was adequate. I think this book is on the darker, more mature side because of Hart. Not just because of age but just his character. I love a dark love story so I rather enjoyed reading about Hart and his many sins. His "questionable" sexual interests turned out to be not so morbid (I was disappointed hahahaha). But Hart is a character with real depth and I loved him for that.
I however, cannot rate any of JA's stories 5 stars. They are all good fun and I was compelled to read on. Really smooth writing and I like her style.
But of course there is a but. The plot development quite failed to give the characters the fantastic stories they so richly deserved. JA created these amazing characters for us to fall in love with. But I have been consistently disappointed with how the plots turned out. These MacKenzie characters have such potentials, their love, their suffering, their quest to happiness, their struggle for peace. There are things and emotions that would have been better explored and have made the stories sensational, if the plots could provide the backdrop for all those things to be put on proper display. But in the end, everyone of them, and I mean every one of them, ended up being limited by a subpar plot and have to sadly remain "slightly over average". It almost pains me to see it. I do hope JA will work on her plot development in her future books. She sure can write and has great ideas for endearing characters.
I'd say my private ratings for the series would be:
1. Hart and Eleanor
2. Mac and Isabella
3. Cameron and Ainsley
4. Ian and Beth (And I REALLY don't know what's so special about Beth. Isabella was a feiry but well-bred English lady and Mac's little Sassenach, Ainsley was the loyal widow who turned down Cameron to be faithful to her husband, Eleanor was Hart's first love and a spinster because she never fell out of love with Hart. Pray tell me, who is Beth?)
OK I will retract my claws about Beth. lol All in all a really great series and I love (almost) everyone of them.