What a tragedy they both were. Bruised and beaten by those who were supposed to have loved and protected them. Tossed upon a sea of cruelty, and seeking refuge in this unforgiving world. Seeking sanctuary, but hoping for redemption.
After bravely coming forward with information leading to the apprehension of the woman murdering actresses across London, Lady Philomena St. Vincent, Viscountess Benchley is committed to an insane asylum by her husband. Over the course of their five-year marriage, Mena has been subjected to all manners of cruelty, violence and degradation, but life at Belle Glen Asylum is worse than anything she could have possibly imagined. Fortunately, she has powerful, connected friends willing to come to her rescue and with ideas on how to keep her hidden until the courts and her family can be dealt with. Given a new name and identity, she travels to Scotland in the guise of the new governess for the children of the Demon Highlander.
Lt. Col. William Grant Ruaridh Mackenzie, Marquess of Ravencroft, Laird of Clan Mackenzie, better known as Liam, the Demon Highlander, has stayed away from his family and clan for many years in the hopes that he can keep the evil permeating his soul away from those he loves. After barely surviving a harsh, violent, merciless childhood under the hand of his late father, he spent almost his entirety of his adulthood traveling the world in Her Majesty’s Royal Army. Now he has come home to Wester Ross, wanting to reconnect with his children and hoping to help keep the Mackenzie’s whiskey business running smoothly. His children need a helping hand guiding them into their expected roles as his children and heirs. Knowing his distant half-brother has recently taken a wife, he asks her to aid him in finding a governess and tutor.
I feel I must warn readers that just like its predecessors, The Highlander is very dark and violent. If you are a fan of lighter Regency romances this book or series may not be for you. Just getting through the two opening scenes introducing the main protagonists is pretty hard. I cringed, I worried and I definitely held my breath waiting to see what would happen next. What they do, however, is set up the conflict between Liam and Mena brilliantly. I don’t think I would have ever understood just how much each of them had overcome, what demons they were fighting internally, or where their self-doubts and fears sprung from without these two scenes. So while they were terrible, heart-wrenching scenes to get through, they do make the love story of Liam and Mena that much more satisfying.
Liam and Mena are both fractured, deeply wounded characters. While there is an immediately palpable attraction between then, each have internal struggles they must overcome. Mena is afraid and reacts to the quick-tempered, violent Liam just as you would imagine a victim of domestic violence would. Liam, convinced he will always destroy those he loves, tries to keep the obviously victimized Mena out of his mind and sight. Their slow-building, sensual relationship is a dance of ups and downs. Mena comes into her own and stands up to the domineering, yet protective Laird of Clan Mackenzie. She calms his wild temper and makes him see reason, while inflaming his passion for her ever higher. She becomes his soft place and he, her vigilant protector.
I will admit there were one or two times I wanted to bash Liam over the head. I won’t even tell you what scenes I am talking about, because trust me YOU’LL KNOW. But overall, this romance swept me away. The passion, the love, the sensuality, and most definitely the HEA. I adore this author’s voice. Simply adore it. The Victorian Rebels series has quickly climbed to my all time favorite list. While I do (maybe, possibly, sort of) think you can read this book as a stand-alone, I honestly believe this series is better read in order. Final Grade-A
“I find, lass, that I doona want to let ye go,” he confessed.
Mena’s fingers tenderly searched the stark angles and planes of his beloved features. What a man this was. A rare, brilliant, incredible man, and as of this moment he belonged to her.
The wonderousness of it was unfathomable.
Previous reviews for books in this series: