The Highwayman (Victorian Rebels 01) by Kerrigan Byrne

Synopsis (from Goodreads):

STEALING BEAUTY
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…

COURTING DESIRE
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?

My impressions:

If you visit this blog on a regular basis you know that from time to time I like pushing the limits and read outside my comfort zone. The so-called ‘historical’ romances are one of the genre I despise but I am always ready to be surprised and smitten by something unique – very well-written, with an interesting plot and a bunch of three-dimensional characters. After all it is historically proven that, theoretically, you can find a diamond in a landfill site, right? It might happen once every one hundred years or so but it does happen.

Well, look at the cover art – it reflects the content to a dot. This book is most certainly not a diamond; it is not even a nice piece of quartz, pink, purple, white or otherwise. I would qualify it as nothing more than most common plastic fake made in China. Why? Let me analyze five main areas I personally consider important in any novel, romance or not romance.

The plot

It was predictable like hell. A ten-year-old girl, of course as beautiful as a fairy, meets a tormented, dark boy her age. They share common misery being placed in a very strict orphanage (cue in the violins) which is managed by Catholic nuns. And, surprise, surprise, they fall in love…innocent but still. Fast forward 17 years. The boy and the girl are still in love. What’s more, (be careful, you might snort with laughter now) they both remained virgins for some unfathomable reasons. Still he is that badass baddy-bad, dark and cruel criminal and she  is…a police clerk. In a Victorian London. Let me mourn that premise with a moment of silence because it’s clearly stillborn and never had a chance to survive.

The characters

First we get the perfection incarnated called Farah Leigh. She is beautiful, loyal, responsible, clever, universally likeable and as sensible as an accountant. A cherry on the top of that cake of feminine assets: she is also an aristocrat. Overall she is as real as your average plastic doll princess. Still the author wants me to believe that her Chosen One thinks she is the brightest star in the entire galaxy, the prettiest rose in the garden full of the most gorgeous roses on Earth and, by default, the only beddable creature around.

Then we got the epitome of darkness called Dorian Blackwell. Hello darkness my friend…or not. Instead of a hardened man you see a whining ninny who cannot overcome his own demons, let alone woo a lady. He has to kidnap his beloved because he doesn’t trust his own charm and riches. He is PATHETIC, not dark and brooding and deserves to be hospitalized in one of those Victorian institutions famous for harsh treatment of their patients.

The narration

Infodumps. Wooden dialogues. Crude sex scenes lasting several chapters (ha, it’s a romance, I know, but still), with the worst, most cliche vocabulary (his manly shaft, her sex, God give me patience but make it quick).Let me finish that list here because it was a DNF after all…

The plot

Predictable twists and turns made me yawn and watch tv at the same time as I tried to read this romp – no other comment is needed I suppose.

The historicity

Non-existent. Completely non-existent. All characters think, speak and act like contemporary people. The main female lead works for the police, for heaven’s sake. A FAIL.

The cover

Yellow eyesore of the worst sort – the one you might be ashamed of when reading in public. Not because it features a naked torso but because it is so tacky…but it fits, gods help me, it fits so well.

Final verdict:

A pseudo-historical fantasy without one magical sparkle in it. ALSO a firm DNF. I won’t take another his-rom novel any time soon into my hands. This one deserves a special gif I suppose – something like this one:

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11 Responses to The Highwayman (Victorian Rebels 01) by Kerrigan Byrne

  1. Melfka says:

    Oh wow. Is this the one you’ve mentioned in an email?

  2. blodeuedd says:

    Oh you take everything so seriously 😉

  3. heidenkind says:

    You could have probably just put in the gifs and we would have gotten the general idea. Lol

  4. Carole Rae says:

    Is that smoke I smell?
    Ah yes….the fire of Hell where this book is burning….

    Sorry deary.

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