Having read SARAH'S CHILD, I was not too impressed. Having read DUNCAN'S BRIDE worked much better, but while it was a good read, it was not an outstanding read. Several review sites recommended MACKENZIE'S MOUNTAIN, but I never bothered to find a copy. In December 2005, I stumbled across this book (MACKENZIE'S PLEASURE), which is the story of Zane Mackenzie, the youngest son of Wolf Mackenzie and his wife Mary Elizabeth (hero and heroine of Mackenzie's Mountain). I have mixed feelings about SEAL-themed books - while I have loved Brockmann's series, I somehow prefer reading about firemen to reading about SEALS. Give this book a chance, if you share my hesitations.
Zane Mackenzie is called upon to execute a mission to rescue an ambassador's kidnapped daughter Barrie Lovejoy out of Libya. The first third of the book is about how the rescue takes place and with what consequences. In the second third, Zane and Barrie are separated by circumstances until they manage to find each other. Since there is a mystery and a bit of romantic suspense to the plot, I will not go further with the plot summary. It is probably sufficient to say that Barrie's kidnapping and rescue is somewhat more complicated than either Zane or Barrie realized.
The book begins with Wolf Mackenzie worrying about his children, from Joe down to his adopted son Chance and his youngest son Zane. Thus, Linda Howard provides the new reader with sufficient background to Zane, to understand what kind of family he comes from and what kind of person he is likely to be. The book then moves to a botched Naval exercise which leaves Zane short of two men. It is at this point that he is asked to rescue the Ambassador's daughter. Barrie Lovejoy is no spoiled socialite, although she has been protected by her father all her life (for understandable reasons). Her courage and endurance, as well as her unusual (but understandable) decisions, appeal to Zane. Barrie is poised, emotionally mature, and able to make decisions quickly. Zane has been dedicated to his job, but frustrated by the promotions that take him away from active duty. When Zane and Barrie end up spending an intense night and day together while hiding out, they form a bond even though they know virtually nothing about each other.
The book moves from the US to the Mediterranean back to the US. Despite these changes of locale (sketched in deftly for the most part), we remain focused tightly on the hero and heroine. MACKENZIE'S PLEASURE is one of the few stories where I genuinely liked the hero and heroine from the outset, and where I also felt that they were right for each other. That this contributed to my liking the book is not in question. Linda Howard's writing style also helped, as did her characterizations. Zane is an alpha male but not an overbearing alpha, but a protector and leader. The other SEALS came alive as did the heroine and her Ambassador father. What didn't work so well for me was the villain and his motivation (especially as explained to Barrie at the end).
Written by bookjunkiereviews 22 January 2006