Monday, August 8, 2016

REVIEW: "The Highlander" by Kerrigan Byrne


The Highlander (Victorian Rebels, #3)
(Victorian Rebels #1)

Historical Romance
St. Martin's Press -- August 2, 2016
eARC, 368  pages
Read in July 2016
Netgalley

Goodreads -- Author Website

RATING: 4.25 STARS

SUMMARY
They call him the Demon Highlander. The fearsome Lieutenant Colonel Liam MacKenzie is known for his superhuman strength, towering presence, and fiery passion in the heat of battle. As Laird to the MacKenzie clan, the undefeated Marquess has vanquished his foes with all rage and wrath of his barbaric Highland ancestors. But when an English governess arrives to care for his children, the master of war finds himself up against his greatest opponent... in the game of love.

Defying all expectations, Miss Philomena is no plain-faced spinster but a ravishing beauty with voluptuous curves and haughty full lips that rattle the Laird to his core. Unintimidated by her master’s raw masculinity and savage ways, the headstrong lass manages to tame not only his wild children but the beast in his soul. With each passing day, Liam grows fonder of Miss Mena—and more suspicious. What secret is she hiding behind those emerald eyes? What darkness brought her to his keep? And how can he conquer this magnificent woman’s heart... without surrendering his own?


THEMES & TROPES
Big Secret, Forbidden Love, Opposites Attract, Alpha Hero, Tormented Heroine

MY THOUGHTS 
I received an eARC of this book from St. Martin's Press via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

The Highlander is the third book in the Victorian Rebels series and I found it to be as engrossing and passionate as its prequels, The Highwayman and The Hunter.  Liam MacKenzie is known as the Demon Highlander and he earned that reputation through his deadly fighting skills and his terrifying appearance.  But, his life is changed forever when his children's new governess arrives.  Philomena St. Vincent is on the run from her abusive husband and is desperate to keep a low profile.  She does not expect to find herself hopelessly attracted to the Laird of the MacKenzie clan and is terrified of what will happen when all her secrets are revealed.

Readers get to the see the journeys of both Liam and Mena as they develop as characters.  Liam is constantly worried about turning into his abusive father and keeps everyone (including his children) at arms length.  Mena is just trying to survive and keep from being thrown into an asylum again.  Together they find a kindred spirit and help one another face their individual demons.  I loved the way that the author showed their evolution from acquaintances to friends to lovers.  It felt very organic and relatable.  I do wish that Mena's Big Secret wasn't kept for so long, but I understood her reasoning.

In addition to Liam and Mena and their romance, I also liked the development of the other members of the MacKenzie clan.  Liam's children were really easy to like and I thought it was nice that they were teenagers rather than the normal plot moppets.  They acted just like teenagers and they felt very real.  I always enjoy when a romance has a family focus.  Families are fascinating to me and the MacKenzie clan was entertaining to read about.  I thought the dynamics were interesting and definitely full of drama.

I did find that the ending of The Highlander to be a bit rushed.  There was a lot going on and I found myself a little confused as to who was doing what to whom.  I think the story could have done without so many villains as it felt over-the-top.  But, I liked the way that the romance was balanced with the suspense plot.  I also enjoyed seeing the Duke ofTrenwyth who will be featured in the next Victorian Rebels book, The Duke.

The Highlander, while not perfect, is captivating from beginning to end.  Kerrigan Byrn's writing style is lush and detailed enough to make me feel like I was walking along the Scottish coast.  Her historicals continue to have an old school vibe with the grand gestures and complicated plots with fascinating characters.  There is something different about these and I thoroughly look forward to reading more in the series with the release of The Duke next year.

READING CHALLENGES
2016 Pick Your Genre Reading Challenge

BOOKS IN THE SERIES

The Highwayman (Victorian Rebels, #1) The Hunter (Victorian Rebels, #2) The Highlander (Victorian Rebels, #3) The Duke (Victorian Rebels, #4)

2 comments:

  1. She just has gorgeous covers. I've been meaning to read them. I love the family aspects as well. When they're done right they just bring the book to a new level.

    ReplyDelete
  2. oh these books are so well done, and I really loved this one. Not quite as much as the first one but still pretty good. I do love the fact that they have a more "old school" feel.

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