The Many Sins of Lord Cameron (Highland Pleasures Series #3)

The Many Sins of Lord Cameron - Jennifer Ashley 3.5-4 starsI really enjoyed this 3rd book in the series. So why did I rate it slightly lower than the other 2? Well, first, it's tough to compete with the 1st book; Ian is such an unique character, and his story is so compelling and heart-wrenching. The only other set of books I've encountered with a character even close to Ian was "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" books, because Lisbeth Salander likely also has a form of autism.ANYWAY... Cameron (Cam) and Ainsley are a good match. But perhaps I've read these books too close together. I was almost ashamed that I couldn't feel as deeply for Cam and his tragic story as I did for Ian and Mac. It wasn't until almost the end of the book, when we learn why Cam won't sleep in the same bed with Ainsley that I felt pity for him. I suppose the "tragic, tormented hero" thing seemed a bit overly drawn out to me. I wasn't sure that we needed so much story to happen before we were able to discover the real truth about this aspect to Cam. And I really don't understand how DUNSTAN was that one who knew what Cam's wife tried to do to him with the fireplace poker. I suppose that we're to accept that his wife wrote about it to Dunstan/Dunsford (is that his name?), and that the concealed letter that Cam found was from him. I found that part of the book very... unlikely. And quite a bit disturbing. Dunsford/Dunstan mentions that Cam's wife told him what Cam did to her, and that Cam deserved everything he got. I wanted to know what Cam's wife said - did she invent lies or was it just that Cam kept her from Duns-whatever-his-name-is?Ainsley has her own tragic story to tell. As Beth did. Yet neither of those women mope around in gloom and doom and give way to "madness". Is the author trying to tell us that women are stronger and overcome adversity better? When it comes to love, I think that's often the case; sure, plenty of women (Ophelia) go mad or sink into melancholia, but overall, it seems as if women find a way to get on with their lives. Whereas men, at least the Mackenzie men, seem to brood and give way to their own darkness, especially their sensual appetites. This description fits Cam very well. He's lost all trust in women, and now he sees them as temporary respites to his darkness.But from their first meeting, Cam has been drawn to Ainsley in a way that he's not been drawn to any woman ever. Why is that? Are we to believe in love-at-first-sight? It seemed to happen with Ian and Mac - each had only barely met their future wives, yet each was immediately so taken with her that each made an almost instant marriage proposal. Cam doesn't mention a marriage proposal to Ainsley as any part of his thinking on their first encounter; yet that's likely because she was married at the time.But back to Ainsley's story... she seemed to be over-shadowed, IMO. Her "indiscretion" was only a minor plot-point, and that disappointed me. Cam was angry about what happened to her, but that seemed to be more in light of another man, in his opinion, taking advantage of what belonged to him (Cam) rather than any real grief for HER and her feelings.Cam is definitely the black sheep of the Mackenzie family. His "madness" includes horses, which are respectable. But his other "madnesses" involved erotic material, orgies, and casual affairs - all of which were certainly frowned upon in Victorian England! Is it because he was less discreet than his brothers? Cam seems to be more of the "out-there" guy of the family; it's tough to not know how he thinks or feels, yet he's able to hide his torment over his first wife and what she really did to him... Yes, I think if he'd revealed it to anyone, he'd been hanged for her murder in a flash - never mind what he suffered or what shame he'd be subject to for allowing her to do what she did.Ainsley seems to be just what Cam needs in his life. His son, Daniel, sees it and nurtures it. Others (Beth and Isabella) see it too. So it's a matter of Ainsley and Cam figuring it out.The side plot with Queen Victoria's letters was both comical and sad. The true relationship between Victoria and Mr. Brown will never be known or told; were they more than friends? Does it matter? I suppose because of the strict morality that Victoria put in place, it did matter very much, because if she had an affair it would make her a hypocrite. Regardless, poor Ainsley is caught in the middle, so - Cam to the rescue!I look forward to Hart's story next, which I understand will be out mid-2012.