James Drake, Marquess of Devlin, had everything—until he was found covered in blood, standing over a dead girl. Now locked away in a madhouse, he has one short year to recover his memories and prove his sanity or be condemned for life. But the demons inside Devlin’s head are far easier to battle than the evil surrounding him at Ballencrieff Asylum.

Anne Winton hardly expects to find her calling—or love—while working in a lunatic asylum. But despite all warnings, the “Mad Marquess” proves dangerously fascinating to innocent Anne. She vows to save him not only from his adversaries but from himself.

Initially, Anne is only a pawn in Devlin’s bid to gain his freedom, until he begins to see her not just as a means to an end, but as a beautifully passionate woman. He must choose: compromise the woman he loves, or languish forever in hell.

My View

I had read an awfully lot of good things about this book, so I did go into reading it with very high expectations of what it would be like, but what I thought it would be like was completely different to what I actually thought and felt about this book.

It is seriously good in every sense of the word, I do say this a lot but this is simply stunning, it is heart-wrenching and at times very disturbing but I couldn’t get enough of it.

James Drake, Lord Devlin after being discovered by the murdered body of a young girl has been locked up n a lunatic asylum, where he has steadily gotten worse, his illness has got to a stage where he is addicted to laudanum. He must prove his innocence or he will be forced to languish in the hell that he is in for the rest of his days, but how on earth can he do that when most of the time he doesn’t quite know who he is?

Even though he knows that he must clear his name and prove his innocence which is easier said than done as James finds even the simplest things in a life a struggle he is paranoid, lost in his own laudanum-induced hazy hell where demons are controlling him and his very thought’s and because of the cruel treatments from the doctors it is all clearly sending him over the edge.

But yet as soon as he looks at Anne he is suddenly brought back to reality even for the briefest of moments, in that moment he looks into her eyes he is back to himself for a second.

Because of his harsh treatment at the hands of the so-called doctors he had trouble focusing and distinguishing between real and dream the one thing he knows for certain is that there is a beautiful woman, and for the first time in years he feels human again.

“And I love you, my beautiful Owl.” His arms came around her surrounding her in his love. “I would have discovered this great epiphany much earlier had I been wiser.

The relationship between Anne and James is really quite special, yes they may have been forced together by a lie of Anne’s, but it was a lie full of good intentions. Without her, James would never get the chance to prove his innocence.

They are wary of one other, they are both going into their relationship with some kind of childlike quality. She isn’t used to all that goes on between men and women, she is very sheltered and him having forgotten about the process either through illness or his brutal treatment and so to see them skirt around each other is charming, if at times so emotional and heartbreaking.

Anne has secrets of her own too which is why she is at the asylum working as a maid come assistant come dogs body, she doesn’t want anyone to know her past or anything about her life. She is a highly private person she does come across as a bit of a naive little girl at times, but she is a strong, good woman who knows to get on with the job. She understands the concept of hard work and of loyalty and respect for the residents. This is why I think James is so drawn to her, he sees something in her that he hasn’t seen in anyone else. She doesn’t see a lunatic but a vulnerable, highly sexy man who has got a real gift, he is a real artist.

What did this beautiful madman seek? She closed her eyes to gather her own light, her powers of healing. Perhaps she might bring him comfort…

He frowned, cocking his head, his mouth now a soft smile, his eyes shimmering pools of silver. “You…”

I have never read anything like this before the whole concept of the plot is surprising and brilliant. The detailing of James’ illness and his so-called treatment is harrowing and so brutally honest, and it is those details that get to me eve time.

Russell has captured the brutal treatment of people who are in the asylum with respect and honesty, these poor people are ill which is no fault of their own and they are treated abysmally just because they have a mental illness. It is very shocking but things like this need to be put out there to make people aware. James suffers and your heart breaks for him every time he gets some treatments his stress and anxiety are palpable.

Russell had created characters that you fall in love with and you urge them on through their own personal battles and tribulations. The two lead characters you genuinely care about, you go through so much with them as they go along their own paths.

James is a man who has suffered, and he is still suffering from, what we call PTSD which even now is a hard illness to have for anyone. In that era when no one understood he got treated like a criminal the thing that helped him was his paintings, but due to ignorance that one release was taken away from him and it sends him over the edge. I love how as soon as he sets eyes on Anne she calms him and helps him without doing anything the power she has over him just by being there is a truly beautiful watch.

I really, really like this it is so different to the regular Historical Romance it is new and fresh and at times difficult but it’s cleverly written and Russell has treated the characters who are suffering from various mental illnesses with the utmost respect dignity.

This is a terrific book and I cannot recommend it enough. But I do warn you that you may need tissues because there is some high-octane emotion going on here.

This pure brilliance!

His was a complimentary copy via the author in exchange for an honest review.

Mad for the Marquess is out now and can be found on Amazon


9 thoughts on “New Review – Mad For The Marquess by Jess Russell

  1. As you know I have just posted my own review and had the same thoughts as yourself about the book. It is just amazing! If you haven’t read Jess Russell’s debut The Dressmaker’s Duke, it is an excellent read too, although no as compelling as this one.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Carol. I was astounded at just how good this book is, the plot is something I haven’t come across before and it was a great change to the usual HR. I have been lucky enough to have received a complimentary copy of The Dressmakers Duke from Jess and so far really good.💜

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Franki, try Maire Claremont’s Mad Passions series which has a similar theme, and Cecilia Grant’s Blackshear Family is excellent if you are looking for something really different. ❤

        Liked by 1 person

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