A Library Journal Best Book of 2015
A Library Journal Summer Spotlight Title
They're rebels, scoundrels, and blackguards-dark, dashing men on the wrong side of the law. But for the women who love them, a hint of danger only makes the heart beat faster, in the stunning debut historical romance The Highwayman by Kerrigan Byrne.
Dorian Blackwell, the Blackheart of Ben More, is a ruthless villain. Scarred and hard-hearted, Dorian is one of Victorian 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?
Byrne's gritty first Victorian Rebels novel doesn't flinch from Victorian London's darker side. When Farah Mackenzie is unexpectedly abducted, the last thing she expects is a second chance at love especially with Dorian Blackwell, a shadowy figure in London's criminal underground. Dorian learned harsh lessons of survival from his youth in Newgate Prison alongside Farah's childhood sweetheart, Dougan. He knows all of Farah's secrets, even her true identity as an heiress, and he offers her the opportunity to reclaim her inheritance and to avenge Dougan's death. But all Farah wants is a child of her own. The romance is raw, edgy, and explosive. There are no flowers, soft words of poetry, or gentle strains of music. Farah alternates between fascination with and hatred for Dorian, simultaneously drawn to his ugly past and repelled by the violence and anger surrounding him. Dorian cannot deny Farah anything, but he also resorts to cruelty to keep her at a distance. Gradually they grow closer; Dorian offers her protection and all the resources at his disposal, and Farah reminds him of the softer, kinder, gentler side of human nature. Theirs is not a pretty tale, but the path they take through adversity makes the triumph of love deeply satisfying.
Sophisticated and edgy
At its best points, The Highwayman reads more like a Gabaldon novel. The content is original, the story is compelling, and multiple characters are fleshed out much more than in your typical Regency Romance. I love the books where the drama comes from the possible ruination of our heroine by the rumor of a stolen kiss. However, that’s not what you’ll get here. It’s darker and deals with sophisticated content. This is an exciting and compelling read. Because so much of the book is at a higher level, it’s jarring and disappointing that the last two chapters are much more in keeping with our typical Regency bonbon. But it’s still on par with other five-star romances.
This is one of the best stories I have read. I couldn’t wait to read the next page. It’s a wonderful story of intrigue and love. Steamy too.
This was my first Kerrigan Byrne book and it was amazing. I loved Dorians backstory even though it was so sad. It really connected me to him and all of the side characters. I loved Farrah as well. She was so strong and loving. This book pulled me in from the first page. The writing and characters are great. I thought it was so sweet that he called Farrah “My Fairy”. I can’t wait to read the rest of the series.