Book Review: The Highlander (Victorian Rebels) by Kerrigan Byrne

The Highlander is the third book in the Victorian Rebels series by Kerrigan Byrne. The previous books were The Highwayman (which I did read) and The Hunter (which I did not). It is not necessary to read the series in order or completely to enjoy the stories.

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. Un intimidated 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? 

The Highlander is more dramatic and compelling than the description suggests. Philomela (Mena) is not just a governess. The book opens with her confined in a horribleness insane asylum, committed by her abusive husbands and his family. This gives her journey to hide as a governess in the home of someone reputed to be so violent an extra dimension that the book cover just does not portray. I thought the combination of emotional wounds and mistrust that Mena and Liam have make the story, and their coming together some much better. I like that the problems do not just magically disappear. There are a series of additional obstacles  and they need to handle some together, and some on their own. I think Byrne handled both very well. The additional complications had me holding my breath a couple times, and I was very much invested in the characters and their lives by the end of the book. It also reminded me how far the rights of women have come- and how much farther we have to go.

The Highlander is so much more than the publisher’s blurb suggests. The characters are complex, and the conflicts are built up and executed well. I enjoyed the unexpected complexity of the characters and think I will have to go back and check out the book I missed. 
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