The Highwayman by Kerrigan Byrne

Overall: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Oh my god! Why did I not read this sooner and then another 75 times since then? I think this book ripped my heart right out of my chest. It was gone, crushed to smithereens, and then it put it back together again.

I don’t even know where to start with this review. There is too much to say. So I’ll start at the beginning.

I’ve been wanting to read a book with a sweet wedding in it for a while. The little wedding between Dougan and Fairy in the beginning was obviously not exactly what I was thinking, but it was so adorable and heartwarming and then it weaves its way through this story in ways that are both tender and terrible. 

Right after this sweetness, the book instantly goes from heartwarming to heartbreaking before the end of chapter one.

Dorian Blackwell. My god. The anti-hero of anti-heroes. I’ve read a lot of books with supposedly tormented, powerful, animalistic heroes, but I don’t think any of them have captured the raw virility they intended as effectively as Kerrigan Byrne has done with Dorian. His sex appeal and ferocity blazes off the page like a roaring fire. He actually feels dangerous, dark, and deeply tormented.

Dorian Blackwell would laugh at the tortured heroes of most other novels. Your parents died in a carriage accident? Poor baby. You think you’re ugly? You don’t know the definition of ugly. You’re responsible for someone’s death? You know nothing. Dorian Blackwell has a thousand tortured lifetimes on those guys. 

Farah, is the complete antithesis of Dorian. Where he is dark, she is nothing but light, despite having her own version of a tortured past. For seventeen years she’s mourned the death of her childhood “husband”, Dougan. For all that time she’s had questions about him and other parts of her past and when she meets Dorian, she thinks he might be the one to help her answer them. 

It’s clear from the beginning that you are meant to wonder if or even expect that Dorian and Dougan are the same person. (I’m writing this part of my review before I know the answer, so no spoilers here. I’m not sure yet.) I’m constantly going back and forth. He is or he isn’t. The story is told so well that it keeps you questioning it. And I can barely decide whether I want Dorian to be Dougan or if I want him to be his own person. Whether I want him to be the long awaited return of her childhood love, or to be a new person who desperately needs to be loved right down to his tragically rotten bones. 

Outside of these characters the story is surprisingly irrelevant. I don’t mean that in a bad way. What happens moves their relationship along, it helps them uncover secrets and answer questions. But this book is all about their pasts and what they’ve been through. It’s about their pain and how they overcome everything and figure out how to be together, especially for Dorian. 

The love scenes in this book are, without question, the hottest I’ve read in a long, long time. Maybe ever. The first love scene is oh. My. God. unbelievable. First of all, getting to it was a slow burn on its own. Then the scene itself plays out in the slowest burn possible. It’s evocative, passionate, intense, heart-pounding. It’ll leave you breathless. 

There’s honestly no way I can do the love scenes justice by describing them. But I will say a couple other things I loved about them. They switch POV between both Dorian and Farah multiple times, which almost never happens. They’re also so complete and satisfying. They don’t gloss over any part of it. Whether we’re talking mechanics or emotion, we get a full exploration of both. 

I don’t know what else to say about this. I don’t want to give too much away because it would spoil the book for sure. Do yourself a favor and don’t risk any spoilers for this one. This book will stay with me forever. It’s one I have to own and I’ll definitely read it again. 

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