If someone had told me they'd recently read a brilliant romance novel that featured a hero with some sort of version of autism... I would have immediately thought of something like Laura Kinsale's Flowers from the Storm and expected a read that left me feeling so drained I needed a cup of tea and a lie down.
I certainly didn't expect something that I would want to (and did) reread multiple times, enjoying it just as much every time.
As far as I can gather, Jennifer Ashley is a characterization genius. She's managed to write a novel that's not too heavy, not too fluffy and one that has characters that pop off the page and stay in the memory.
Lord Ian Mackenzie is considered mad by London society. He was detained in a private mental asylum most of his early life because of reasons best left unrevealed. He possesses a photographic memory and the ability to single-mindedly focus (or fixate) on one thing at a time. He decides to focus all his attention on Beth, a former paid companion who has come into money and is engaged to a bloke looking to dash with the cash once they're married. Ian saves Beth from this dreary fate with a well-timed note and decides he'd much rather marry her himself.
However, to obligingly kick the plot along, the lady decides to rethink the whole marriage business. She's more than happy to have an affair, but she's not looking to get hitched. This leaves Ian, being the obsessive gentleman he is, devising a plot to get a ring on the lady's finger.
To summarize any more of this book would take far too long so let’s just say that this is a re-reader. Anyone who loves a bit of tortured hero (without needing valium to finish his story) will love this book. I certainly did.
I laughed a couple of times, got a bit teary, and definitely found the naughty bits suitably racy (which is always a plus) and then promptly went on to read the rest of the series which, I can honestly say, didn't disappoint me once.