Back into proper historical romance territory with this week’s BotW. I read a couple of good books last week – but you’ve already heard enough about my love of Janet Evanovich and Lauren Willig and Kerrigan Byrne’s The Highwayman bucked the trend of not-so-good historicals that I’ve had recently.
Farah and Dougan are best friends at the orphanage in the 1850s. They handfast – but then A Bad Thing happens and they are parted. Jump forward 20ish years and Farah is working as a clerk at Scotland Yard when Ruthless Villain Dorien Blackmore is brought in for questioning. She’s promptly kidnapped so he can keep her safe from Forces Which Threaten Her. But will he capture her heart?
The Highwayman (which doesn’t actually have a lot of actual highwaying in the actual narrative, so don’t go expecting the Masqueraders in Victorian times people) hits a whole lot of my catnip including – without giving too much away – tortured hero! Smart heroine! Marriage of convenience*! It also has a side order of some of my peeves – comedy Scottish accents, kilts, lairds, handfasting – but it is good enough and different enough that I didn’t care. It wasn’t perfect – even if you don’t have my dislike of the Highlander trope in general there were some language choices that didn’t work – but it rattled along quickly and there was so much happening that you didn’t notice too much. I had a few things pegged fairly early on, but it Didn’t Matter.
As I said at the top, I’ve had a run of not great historical romances recently and this was a breath of fresh air – the Victorian setting made a change (and meant that we didn’t get too far into my least favourite bits about Scottish heros/stories) and Farah is a smart sensible woman who lives up to the billing. Yes its quite dark. Yes the hero is a Bad Boy who has done stuff that Can’t Be Fixed, but it is not at all miserable. As you can probably tell from all the Capital Letters its a bit melodramatic – in a good way. I really enjoyed The Highwayman and will be looking out for the next in the Victorian Rebels series.
*It’s in the blurb on Goodreads I’m allowed to mention it