Audiobook Review: The Highwayman by Kerrigan Byrne

The HighwaymanThe Highwayman by Kerrigan Byrne
Book #1 in Victorian Rebels

Genre: Historical Romance
Publication Date: September 1st, 2015

Synopsis from Goodreads: 

Dorian Blackwell, the Blackheart of Ben More, is a ruthless villain. Scarred and hard-hearted, Dorian is one of London’s wealthiest, most influential men who will stop at nothing to wreak vengeance on those who’ve wronged him…and will fight to the death to seize what he wants. The lovely, still innocent widow Farah Leigh Mackenzie is no exception—and soon Dorian whisks the beautiful lass away to his sanctuary in the wild Highlands…

But Farah is no one’s puppet. She possesses a powerful secret—one that threatens her very life. When being held captive by Dorian proves to be the only way to keep Farah safe from those who would see her dead, Dorian makes Farah a scandalous proposition: marry him for protection in exchange for using her secret to help him exact revenge on his enemies. But what the Blackheart of Ben More never could have imagined is that Farah has terms of her own, igniting a tempestuous desire that consumes them both. Could it be that the woman he captured is the only one who can touch the black heart he’d long thought dead?

Angie’s Review – 3 Skulls – B-

I was so excited to read The Highwayman. This book has so many glowing reviews, and I saw it on a few Top 10 lists for 2015. Sadly, I wasn’t as enamored with this book as my reading buddies were. It starts off wonderfully and gives us a glimpse of Farah Leigh in all her innocence as she pledges her heart and life at a very young age to Dougan Mackenzie. While it was sweet, I felt like it went on just a bit too long wished for a more swift transition into the main part of the story.

Once we do get into the story, things get exciting really quickly. And for the first half of the book, I was enthralled. The writing was beautiful, and the author captures emotions wonderfully. Dorian Blackwell is one of the most tortured souls I have ever come across in historical romance. Unfortunately, his biggest torturer at this point in his life is himself, and it was too much. There’s no denying his past was heartbreaking; it just went on too long for me. The thought of Dorian trying to give Farah everything she’s ever wanted only to push her away when she makes it clear all she wants is him just didn’t ring true for me. And when we get to the scene where love is finally declared, I was left confused. I didn’t see any evidence of Dorian falling in love with Farah. He was too wrapped up himself and so guarded I just couldn’t believe it. It was also hard to connect with either character. Dorian was so stand-offish and mean, and most things Farah Leigh did was in reaction to what Dorian did, so I feel like we missed out not seeing them apart more. I would have liked to see more of Farah without Dorian.

This book was a mash-up of The Princess Bride and Beauty and the Beast, and the narrator sounded like Clark Gable to me. I was half expecting him to say ‘As you wish’ or ‘Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn.’ He did a wonderful job conveying the character’s emotions, but I do wonder if I’d like this book better upon reread. I think maybe the narrator was part of what made Dorian so tortured for me, and I wouldn’t have heard such a gruff, angry voice in my head as I was reading.

While this book wasn’t for me, I very much liked the author’s writing and will try something else from her. If you’re a fan of tortured heroes, The Highwayman was written for you!

Rating: 3 Stars

Series Reading Order:
1. The Highwayman
2. The Hunter
3. The Highlander (Expected Publication: August 2nd, 2016)

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Comments 2

  • Definitely should try The Hunter. Just finished it (ARC from Net Galley) and totally enjoyed it as I’ve yet to read a historical romance where the hero is an assassin. Loved the back story and his metamorphosis into a so called “normal” member of society.