4 starsThis is such a strange time and I m finding myself uncertain of many things including what day today is but now I m finally sure of one thing, that I m going to spend the next few days binge reading this series becauseWaw This was so good I haven t read many historical romances but the ones I read always tend to be leaning towards the fun sweet side This one was different It was slightly darker More serious, I think I mean as serious as a historical romance could be, if that ma 4 starsThis is such a strange time and I m finding myself uncertain of many things including what day today is but now I m finally sure of one thing, that I m going to spend the next few days binge reading this series becauseWaw This was so good I haven t read many historical romances but the ones I read always tend to be leaning towards the fun sweet side This one was different It was slightly darker More serious, I think I mean as serious as a historical romance could be, if that makes sense this was a sweet second chance romance and it also has that count of Monte Cristo vibe that I really loved.It was so addictive and enjoyable to read Even though it wasserious, it still had that great historical banter And there s something about anti heroes that just pull me in and i find myself unable to stop reading Sale Alert 19Dec17 This was my favorite Historical Romance read of 2016 and it is available as the kindle daily deal for 1.99 on 5 Beautifully Broken Bastard StarsOMG I LOVED THIS Dorian Blackwell you are the broken man of my dreamsHard, ruthless tyrant Abused, wounded boy An empty heart full of promise, and a soul of shadows in need of sunlight Farah fell in love with a boy when she was but a wee child They had two years together and then they were ripped apart when he Sale Alert 19Dec17 This was my favorite Historical Romance read of 2016 and it is available as the kindle daily deal for 1.99 on 5 Beautifully Broken Bastard StarsOMG I LOVED THIS Dorian Blackwell you are the broken man of my dreamsHard, ruthless tyrant Abused, wounded boy An empty heart full of promise, and a soul of shadows in need of sunlight Farah fell in love with a boy when she was but a wee child They had two years together and then they were ripped apart when he was sent to a prison Flashforward seventeen years and the real story begins.Farah has loved that little boy she lost all her life Enough that she pretends to the entire world she is his widow Mrs Mackenzie She hasn t even had much of an inkling to ever join her life to a man s again until she sees the brutal Dorian Blackwell the well known Highwayman and crime lord in an interrogation room at Scotland Yard Then she can t seem to get ideas of the man out of her head.Dorian is dangerous, hard and completely an enigma to Farah One second she thinks that maybe he wants her as much as she might think she wants him The next she isn t sure he is safe and part of her instincts say to run from him but the rest of her says to stay with him and explore this attraction she feels towards him One big problem though.due to the horrors he faced in prison as a boy he can t stand to touch anyone and he definitely can t imagine letting Farah touch him no matter how much he might want herYou can have my heart, she offered You d be a fool to give it to me, he mocked, twisting his features into something foreign and frightening Then I am a fool, she insisted For I already have I do not suffer fools he hissed You gave your heart to Dougan, before you even knew what it meant It is not meant for me She seized his fist, pressing a kiss to the scarred knuckle But Dorian has begun to steal it, thieving highwayman that he isEven though this is a Historical Romance it isabout healing a man that is so broken he can t even touch anyone It is about giving a man who has lost all hope a glimpse of what he could have if he only believed he deserved it I thought it portrayed so well the shame that someone might feel due to years of abuse and I loved how real Dorian s anguish seemed.Read this for Dorian if you like broken men But also read this for Farah if you like strong women with exceptionally giving hearts Thanks to my girl Joanita for sending me this book Woman you totally know my type. 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 STEALING BEAUTYDorian 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 DESIREBut 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 Tingling from this book magicThe Highwayman gave me tingles and I felt book magic with the turn of each page I was drawn in, living and breathing this book Hubby and kids had to fend for themselves, phones had to be answered by someone else and food was only eaten to keep up my energy I was looking into the lives of people that seemed real I wanted to walk into Scotland Yard and be a character witness I wanted to be at the dressmaker s to see how a gown was fitted I wanted to stand agai Tingling from this book magicThe Highwayman gave me tingles and I felt book magic with the turn of each page I was drawn in, living and breathing this book Hubby and kids had to fend for themselves, phones had to be answered by someone else and food was only eaten to keep up my energy I was looking into the lives of people that seemed real I wanted to walk into Scotland Yard and be a character witness I wanted to be at the dressmaker s to see how a gown was fitted I wanted to stand against predators who attacked the less fortunate It was an emotional read for me that left me on a high Not many books suck me in as much, or as well as this one did I was drawn to the characters and wanted to see them make it through.We meet a very young Farah and Dougan who live in an orphanage Farah sees that Dougan is in pain and helps him They form a bond, give each other support and swear to love each other for eternity This is a very young love that is tested from the beginning Eventually, they are separated but neither will forget and keep their memories locked tight in their hearts Life goes on Farah works in Scotland Yard and is faced with some very unsavoury characters One of them is Dorian, a criminal mastermind who runs the bad side of town with an iron fist Farah s boss is on an endless mission to bring him to justice with very little success After many years of being separated from her love, Farah thinks about moving on with her boss Morley, who shows an interest in her After meeting Farah, Dorian has a different idea.I don t want to go into much detail as it will definitely take away from the experience if you decide to try it I will say that this story was full of intrigue and I never felt it dragged Besides the main characters, I loved Murdoch, Frank and Gemma Morley was an interesting character as well and by the end I respected him He could have easily made things worse, but he kept his dignity and that left me disappointed he wouldn t find a HEA yet.This was my first Kerrigan Byrne story and it will definitely not be my last One of the best historical romances I ve ever read I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.From the moment Farah wipes the blood from Dougan s hands they are bound to one another, two outcasts in an orphanage On a fateful night, Dougan violently protects Farah and they are separated, cast out into their fates It is not until seventeen years later that Farah learns what befell her childhood friend Dorian Blackwell, the Blackheart of Ben More, villai I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.From the moment Farah wipes the blood from Dougan s hands they are bound to one another, two outcasts in an orphanage On a fateful night, Dougan violently protects Farah and they are separated, cast out into their fates It is not until seventeen years later that Farah learns what befell her childhood friend Dorian Blackwell, the Blackheart of Ben More, villainous fiend and king of the underworld kidnaps Farah and claims he is there to protect Dougan s Fairy Leaving most unsaid but what is heartbreakingly clear in the painful spaces between words, Dorian recounts his experience in jail with Dougan to Farah, how they banded together to try and survive and how Dougan would tell stories about Farah to the other boys Dorian plans to make good on the deathbed promise he made to Dougan about eventually finding Farah and making sure she was safe What Dougan didn t know was that Farah had her own painful past she was running from and Dorian feels he must restore Farah to her rightful place in society There are lies, half truths, dangers, and love but most importantly, a feeling that destiny won t be denied This is the first book by Kerrigan Byrne I have read it will definitely not be my last The Highwayman took me by surprise with its sweeping emotional romantic story Byrne s writing had a way about it that I felt like I was walking the streets of London with Farah and Dorian, everything is described but not overly in a way that bogs you down with details she was a master of making you feel through showing, not telling The overall details of the story with the characters and their actions leans toward a darker tone but there is lightness to the story that springs from our main character s relationship for balance Dorian and Farah have a certain spark between them that is at turns playful, light, deep, emotional, burning, and heavy Their contentment to be around one another colors their dialogue at times with a lightheartedness that makes their growing love believable and investing to read Farah s journey from the orphanage to her position at the Police Headquarters was taken with Dougan in mind with every step Farah very easily could have been written as a saintly martyr but instead she is shown to be while inherently goodhearted, also a steel spined survivor she s believable Dorian s background and dark attitude could have easily been written to make him a Beauty and the Beast caricature but instead he is given depth of emotion He is single minded in his pursuit of taking care of Farah but with a yearning, stubborn streak, and desperate desires of a man still locked in an abused boy s mindset of protection mode he s believable When together, the author doesn t come out and tell us they want each, instead it s felt by the reader in every glance Dorian gives Farah that isn t seen and every touch Farah reaches out to give that is never felt by Dorian There s anger, desire, hurt, hunger, lies, and love all swirling between Farah and Dorian together they re believable Dorian and Farah are clearly the center piece of the story, as they should be and the structure of the story supported that with the beginning setting up Dougan and Farrah s relationship, the middle introducing Farrah to Dorian and creating their relationship, and the second half delving into the mystery and intrigue while bonding our coupleIf I were to express any complaints, which trust me are minor, it would be that Dougan s childhood origins were a bit murky and that Farrah s endangerment from her father s lawyer Warrington could have been fleshed outin regards to how I didn t really feel the danger from Warrington as he was too much to the peripheral of the story Byrne s secondary characters did an amazing job of adding to the story and world she created for her characters Dorian s house full of men who were all forged in the fire together from prison, again, could have come off as bears with hearts of gold caricatures but instead are given just enough individual thoughts and emotions to make them memorable with adding to the story instead of feeling tagged on after thoughts or show stealers Even while putting me through the wringer with Farrah and Dorian, Byrne was still able to squeeze some heartbreak out of me for Dorian s man Walters and Farrah s friend Gemma honestly, I dare anyone not to shed at least a few internal tears over their quiet moment in the kitchen at the end This feeling of connection to minor characters was another reason why I felt Byrne knocked this one out of the park Byrne s writing style reminded me a little bit of Amanda Quick s historicals, the sentences and character s actions can come off at times light and loving but you will suddenly find yourself wrecked by the hidden emotional depth and the overall story somewhat reminded me of an updated 21st century A Rose in Winter by Kathleen Woodiwiss There are a couple hotter, rougher moments in this but ultimately, the story is dominated by the searing emotion between our couple If you are a historical romance fan, then this is a must read for you The second in the series looks to be about Dorian s friend and assassin Christopher Argent and based on the glimpses we get of Argent in this book, I m pre ordering 5 STARS In this quiet, unfettered moment, she knew him, truly saw him for what he was Hard, ruthless tyrant Abused, wounded boy An empty heart full of promise, and a soul of shadows in need of sunlightErmahgerd.My heart MY HEART ERMAHGERD.First of all, I am seriously kicking myself for taking this long to start this series Like SERIOUSLY kicking my ass What the heck was I thinking I was crazy Nuts Loony bins, I tells ya Because this book It was everything All of the t 5 STARS In this quiet, unfettered moment, she knew him, truly saw him for what he was Hard, ruthless tyrant Abused, wounded boy An empty heart full of promise, and a soul of shadows in need of sunlightErmahgerd.My heart MY HEART ERMAHGERD.First of all, I am seriously kicking myself for taking this long to start this series Like SERIOUSLY kicking my ass What the heck was I thinking I was crazy Nuts Loony bins, I tells ya Because this book It was everything All of the things ALL OF THEM.It combines my obsession with anti heroes and sexy historical romance, and weaves it all together into a story that s truly spellbinding I couldn t bring myself to set it down for even a second I was immediately hooked from the prologue, and as I kept reading, I grewandaddicted to the words of Kerrigan Byrne.Dorian Blackwell The Blackheart of Ben More The deadliest, coldest, and most lethal king of the London underground His name is whispered in the shadows and renowned in fear He s scarred, both in body and soul, and knows only revenge Be.Still.My.Ovaries.Alright So maybe I sound slightly deranged, but work with me here There s a lotdepth to the man, and when you get to the heart of him, you ll see exactly what I mean.Farah Leigh Mackenzie Beautiful, sweet, and a woman with a spine of steel My god but I loved her The things she s survived and the secrets she s kept would have made a lower woman than her wither away But she persevered and lost none of her steel core This is a woman that gives as hard as she gets and she s not about to back down to a man that s kidnapped her and essentially propositioned her into a marriage ofconvenience Enter my other favorite trope.But I digress yet again.What you need to take away from my incessant rambling is this I LOVED THIS BOOK LOVED it The romance was swoon worthy, the story was deliciously addicting, the characters full of depth, mystery and secrets I devoured it like a starving lunatic and couldn t get enough.I immediately jumped right into book two I can t recommend this book enough for any lovers of steamy historical romance Period READ THIS BOOK.Find me on Welp, everyone loved this but me Seriously, I just went and read through my friend s reviews and ONLY ONE PERSON gave it the same rating as me DNF at 27% I don t get the appeal Dorian is a jerk Why keep his identity from Farah when they supposedly had such an EPIC young love romance Does he have a psychological disorder That would makesense than just, oh, I m such a tortured hero that I had to erase my past and now I can t let her know it s me because drama llama and stuff.There is Welp, everyone loved this but me Seriously, I just went and read through my friend s reviews and ONLY ONE PERSON gave it the same rating as me DNF at 27% I don t get the appeal Dorian is a jerk Why keep his identity from Farah when they supposedly had such an EPIC young love romance Does he have a psychological disorder That would makesense than just, oh, I m such a tortured hero that I had to erase my past and now I can t let her know it s me because drama llama and stuff.There is no good reason except as a plot device and that kind of thing doesn t work for me.He should be gloriously happy to have found her And to let her break down and sob over him and not say he s alive That is toxic Run Farah, run But of course we know they are going to end up in the perfect relationship, magic peen and vag coming together to heal each other under a rainbow I just can t.Failed buddy read with the MacHalo group They all loved it It s just me 3.5 stars This book is low key channelling The Count of Monte Cristo but it s also a second chance love story A nice enough book for when you don t know what to read 3.5 stars This book is low key channelling The Count of Monte Cristo but it s also a second chance love story A nice enough book for when you don t know what to read 3.5 starsFor eight year old, Farah and eleven year old, Dougan Mackenzie life at Applecross Orphanage in 1855 is made bearable by their friendship, which deepens as the years pass Life without the other seems unthinkable, and so at the tender ages of ten and thirteen they seal their love in marriage vows by handfasting.Separated soon after, the story picks up in London, seventeen years later Farah, now a clerk at Scotland Yard, where she is known as the widowed Mrs Mackenzie, comes face to fac 3.5 starsFor eight year old, Farah and eleven year old, Dougan Mackenzie life at Applecross Orphanage in 1855 is made bearable by their friendship, which deepens as the years pass Life without the other seems unthinkable, and so at the tender ages of ten and thirteen they seal their love in marriage vows by handfasting.Separated soon after, the story picks up in London, seventeen years later Farah, now a clerk at Scotland Yard, where she is known as the widowed Mrs Mackenzie, comes face to face with Dorian Blackwell, the ruthless criminal overlord, when he is brought in for questioning Blackwell, who controls much of the London underworld, learns that Farah Mackenzie s life is in danger Determined to honour a vow he once made to keep her safe, Dorian kidnaps Farah away to his Scottish castle The Highwayman is the first book in the new series Victorian Rebels by Kerrigan Byrne, and though this isn t my first read of Ms Byrne, this is my first full length novel of hers I ve read It s well written, with a mixture of romance and mystery The details and descriptions of London, its streets, people, Scotland Yard, and also Scotland are written with depth The first chapter where two children pledge themselves to each other with such sweet and innocent love, is the best part of this story for me Farah is a sensible and strong heroine, whose love for the abused and dark Dorian remains steadfast Dorian is a tortured and tormented hero physically, psychologically, emotionally.However, the story is fairly predictable Dorian s self flagellation at how wicked and vile he is, and not good enough for Dougan s Fairy Farah , got old quick Farah is so forgiving, so good that her character verges on caricature And though Dorian is written as a sympathetic hero with his horrific past, I didn t actually feel that this story was as dark and grim as it should have been Dorian and Farah are so good Too good Despite Dorian s dark past and present reputation as a criminal, he does good deeds, righting the wrongs of society using his wealth and influence He s even got aRobin Hood like reputationAs do his men They may be killers, thugs, extortionists and thieves, but only where the villains are concerned There s even a whore with a heart of gold, who Farah befriends I know this is what romance readers look for in their romance novels But for me it was all too sweet, too romance y, too formulaic Other problems I had with this, I ve spoiler tagged, as some may be spoilers view spoiler Sex Scenes I always have problems with sexual explicitness in historical romances Not the graphic descriptions themselves per se, but believing that gently reared ladies were as keenly involved and willing to perform with such abandon in their first sexual experiences, as Farah is I know steamy sex scenes make great reading, but I just find it all too improbable in a historical setting And of course, we have the wedding night orgasms for the erstwhile virgin.Ladies and ViolenceDespite Farah s years of work at Scotland Yard, I doubt that she as a woman, a respectable widow, would have been allowed to be exposed to physical violence and by the man who supposedly loved her during an interrogation.The Highwayman TitleErwhy exactly was this titled The Highwayman when very little time or detail was given over to Dorian s days as a highwayman I was hoping foraction and adventure Unfortunately, there was not astand and deliverin sight The BaddieA lot of what the main villain got up to was off page We learn about it later, but I think this plot should have been givenpage time, as it was an important part of the story.Dorian s Touching ProblemThis was a major part of the story between Dorian and Farah It was one of the reasons for keeping them apart, and yet it resolved too quickly and easily.Dorian DouganI just couldn t understand why he kept his identity secret for so long from Farah I know keeping the secret propelled the plot But the reasons, simply weren t compelling enough.And they ALL Lived Happily Ever AfterNot only the H h but a number of characters ended up with a HEA It was just a little too syrupy for me Homosexuality in Victorian TimesAn associate and friend of Dorian s, who Farah has known for barely a day, tells her with hardly a hesitation, that he s homosexual She then blithely accepts this pronouncement around a spoonful of pudding Please authors, just don t I m all for equal representation and equality regardless of gender, race, creed or sexual orientation In real life While it s okay to own your sexuality in the 21st century, it wasn t okay in Victorian England to come out as homosexual, and certainly not okay to share with a virtual stranger I know this is fiction, but this particular bloke would ve beencareful He d already been imprisoned once hide spoiler If there had been just one or two issues, I could have overlooked them But there were a number, which I found both distracting and unnecessary Regardless, The Highwayman is a fairly enjoyable historical, although it doesn t cover any new ground What it does do, I think, is hit certain notes and tropes that a number of romance readers will love.Steam 3.5 4 ARC courtesy of St Martin s via NetGalley I m not much for romances with tortured or dark heroes, but I was completely sucked in by this one.I just couldn t stop reading about these two Their love story started out with them as children at an orphanage together and shows how the bond they formed turned out to be unbreakable well into adulthood So Fucking Sweet.They were so faithful to the memory of each other that even a crusty old bitch like me was touched Now, it wasn t perfect because I simply could not wrap my head around the f I m not much for romances with tortured or dark heroes, but I was completely sucked in by this one.I just couldn t stop reading about these two Their love story started out with them as children at an orphanage together and shows how the bond they formed turned out to be unbreakable well into adulthood So Fucking Sweet.They were so faithful to the memory of each other that even a crusty old bitch like me was touched Now, it wasn t perfect because I simply could not wrap my head around the fact that she didn t recognize him Especially after they got married But I guess that s a sign of how much I enjoyed the characters and the writing It got to be pretty ridiculous and I still loved it.Also, you know how sometimes the ending of romances seems to get drawn waaaay out Like, to the point that you just want to slap the couple and tell them to stop being stupid, except it s just a book and you didn t write it so you can t actually do that, so you just sort of have to deal with it and then rant a bit in a review Yeah.Ok, well that didn t happen here They had the prerequisite misunderstanding fight and did the breakup montage, then the author pretty much got the show on the road to their HEA.I don t want to spoil anything for you, but I liked the plot, I liked the characters, and I liked the writing style I m definitely going to be checking outof this author s stuff in the future, including the rest of this Victorian Rebels series.Recommended for anyone looking for a good romance