As a teenager I was crazy about Historical Romances. I read them obsessively and voraciously. (Regency was my favorite.) Then, over time, I found my interest dissipating. I think some of it was just because I was growing up and discovering different genres, and I also think part of it was I discovered Outlander. Outlander takes Historical and expands it. It was romance. It was adventure. It was so much more than just two people falling in love and getting it on, though there was a bit of that. After Outlander everything else felt vapid.
Now, that’s not to say I haven’t enjoyed HR recently. Far from it. I love Lisa Kleypas. I really enjoy Maya Banks Historical books… I just read them far less than I used to. Which brings me to Victorian Rebels…
I was really happy with The Highwayman. There was a lot of depth to this story, and I believe that is the foundation for a good Historical Romance. The characters, both Farrah and Dorian, were well developed and had unique personalities, which is something else I think can sometimes fall flat in this genre. I’m usually critical of women in fiction, so I was even more excited when I preferred Farrah’s character. Farrah was awesome! She was bold and fearless, but she was also kind and compassionate. I loved how she wasn’t ruled by fear and stood up for herself. I loved that she was a woman who worked in a respectable job. She was the sunlight in a story filled with darkness.
And it was dark. Everything about Dorian was villainous. He’s violent and aggressive, glowering and enormous. He’s got a presence that makes you want to flee. He’s also proud of it. He has no intention of being anything other than a criminal.
In fact, the story felt an awful lot like Beauty & The Beast. Dorian roars and Farrah stiffens her spine and digs in her heels, wearing him down with her awesomeness. I think it was the fairy-tale feel that I loved the most.
There were some issues I had, and why this book would rate a 3.5 rather than the full four feathers you see below. First, this book was long. That’s fine, I like long books. It just didn’t feel like it needed to be so long. I hit 56% and turned to my coworker and complained, because I felt like even at nearly sixty percent nothing had happened yet. The story could have been paired down and tightened up, and it would have been even better.
I also thought the last quarter of the book was incredibly predictable. It was the ending I’ve read in 50 other historical romances. I’d hoped the book would surprise me with a completely fresh ending and stand out from the crowd. It didn’t.
All in all, I’d still call this read a success. I absolutely adored the overall premise of The Highwayman, and I thought the author did a great job of writing a powerful first chapter the readers could latch onto. There’s a secret inside these pages, and I’m so glad I held on through all the turbulence to get to their happy ending.
“Love is quite like reading, I expect. Once you know how, you can’t ever imagine not doing it.”