Published by St. Martin's Paperbacks on August 2nd 2016
Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo
Can the fiercest master of battle conquer a woman’s heart?
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?
Three Ways the Victorians Were Just Like Us (and also very different)
I adore writing, reading, and researching history, and one of the things that enamors me the most, is finding threads of consistency and humanity through all the ages. In the Victorian Rebels series, I tend to write about men and women who may not fit within the strictures of society (or even the law). But upon doing research, I found that maybe those Victorians maybe weren’t as straight-laced as everyone might think! Here are a few things prevalent in the late 1800’s that may seem very familiar (or a little shocking) you decide.
#1. Victorians liked porn. There it is. I said it. Move over, Hugh Heffner, because the Oxford University Press had you beat by almost 100 years when they published “THE PEARL, A Monthly Journal of Facetiae and Voluptuous Reading” in 1879! This was a popular publication from a respectable press, though many other such books and magazines (not to mention photographs) were circulated at the time including titles such as “Petticoat Governance,” “The Whippingham Papers,” “The Lustful Turk,” “Venus in Furs,” “The Nunnery Tales,” and “The Romance of Lust.” Not to mention a few underground periodicals that featured these newfangled things called photographs!
#2. Victorians loved to be frightened. Now, they didn’t have horror films to go to, but they’d pay very well to be terrified and titillated. What were their modalities? Let’s count them. Mesmerism (known today as hypnotism), séances, anthropomorphic taxidermy (two stuffed kittens getting married, anyone?), divination, live horror theater, and of course, terrifying fiction. First called “Penny Bloods” and then “Penny Dreadfuls,” these novels were full of highwaymen, demons, criminals, detectives, pirates, ghosts, and other shocking or paranormal whatnots of the age. Read about some of their weird hobbies and interests here! http://listverse.com/2012/11/15/top-10-weird-things-the-victorians-did-for-fun/
#3. Victorians loved to drink. However, like all things Victorian, alcohol consumption varied according to status, gender, and economic availability. The upper class, for example, would generally pair their alcohol with food. Their social dinners were often very elaborate and consisted of many courses and each course would correspond with an alcohol that accompanied the dish. Ladies were often served much less alcohol, and it was the utmost faux pas to ask for more than you were offered. Men, however often adjourned to another room to enjoy the vice of a smoke and the luxury of some port wine or as in THE HIGHLANDER, a fine snifter of Ravencroft Scotch whereas women would be served tea or coffee.
You can follow the Victorian Rebels series on Goodreads.
Ms Byrne is giving away 2 (two) Print copies of The Highlander. (US only)
She is curious…
If you were a Victorian, what do you think your vice would be? I definitely know I’d be hiding those Penny Dreadfuls in my Jane Austen and, of course, making sure to sneak in my monthly “voluptuous reading.”
~~Reviewed by Amy~~
Known as the Demon Highlander, Liam Mackenzie is feared and obeyed by those around him. He spent 20 years in Her Majesty’s Regimental Army using the fire of his ancestors to commit violent acts in service to the crown. Home with his two undisciplined children now, he’s in need of a governess. He doesn’t expect the beautiful, tall, lush woman that arrives though. Nor does he expect the feelings she evokes in him.
Lady Philomena St. Vincent, Viscountess Benchley, is on the run for her life. With a new identity and background, she takes the job of governess to Laird Mackenzie at Ravencroft Keep. Steadfast in her new role, she quickly establishes a rapport with the children. The Laird, however, is another matter. He looks at her as if she’s a mystery he plans to solve. And Philomena harbors shameful secrets that could destroy her chance at survival if discovered.
What a story! This book reminded me of the stories that first sucked me into reading historical romances. Victoria Holt was my introduction to the genre and I was hooked. The Highlander has all the elements that make it a superior read- a dark hero, Scottish castle, scandal, betrayal, and dangers lurking in the shadows. Needless to say, I couldn’t put it down.
Liam was such a riveting character. Much like Mena felt, sometimes he frightened me while at other times he made me melt. Son of the Marquess of Ravencroft, who was known for his abject cruelty, Liam left his home and joined the army to protect his children from the demon he feared he was, just like his father. The scars he carried on his soul were every bit as horrible and deep as the ones on his back inflicted by his vile parent. In truth though, Liam was a good man with a disturbing past. He was a violent man but wished for peace.
Mena was the wife of a violent libertine for 5 years. 5 years of absolute hell. During those years, she’d been stripped of her sense of self- worth by underhanded jibes, blatant humiliation, and physical cruelty. After escaping from the horrid asylum her husband committed her to, she assumes her new role and identity while her friends attempt to have her emancipated from her insanity verdict.
Liam and Mena’s first meeting was one of my favorite scenes because it gave me a real taste for how their relationship would progress. And what a delightful progression it was! They are mesmerized with each other at this first meeting. Mena is struck by the sheer size and intensity of Liam while Liam is struck by her beauty and lush figure. As their relationship evolves, Mena gets to know all the sides of Liam- the Demon Highlander, the barbaric clan chieftain, the regimented nobleman, and the affectionate father. She feared him at times but most of all, she feared the desire she was starting to feel for him. With Liam, she felt like a woman, not an object. Her body was in a constant state of awareness with him. Liam struggled with the feelings he had toward Mena as well. She seemed to soften his heart and his pain with just a look or touch. He never showed weakness or vulnerability. Until Mena. She generally stood up to him but when he lost his temper, she seemed to cower. He wanted to be her savior, not someone she ran from. Liam was terrified. Terrified of losing her. Terrified of loving her. Liam and Mena were two of the most emotionally moving characters I’ve read. They were both “buried and beaten by those who were supposed to have loved them and protected them”. Could they find redemption in each other’s love?
This was my first Kerrigan Byrne novel. While part of a series, I had no trouble picking up with this third book as it can be read as a standalone. I will be reading the first two though since I am now completely addicted!
I was given an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.