Friday, September 19, 2014

New Review: Tanya Kaley’s LADY HIGHWAYMAN – 18th century Bodice Ripper (sort of) and an Enthralling Story!

This was Kaley’s debut novel and I have to say it’s a wonderfully exciting read that I could not put down.

The story begins in the North West of England in 1743, where Rosalinda lives in poverty with her parents and three brothers on Lord Windermere’s magnificent estate. In a cruel response to her brothers’ poaching to put food on the table, the boys are sent away and her husband transported to the Colonies. Thus, Rosie loses her family in one fell swoop. Seeing the men lusting after Rosie’s virtue, her mother decides to send her to London to live with her aunt, never knowing the aunt runs a bawdy house, the worst of its kind.

Before she leaves, Rosie encounters a handsome highwayman, who is the alienated son of an English lord. Blake Glenowen, a dark, mysterious figure, takes a fancy to the beautiful young woman, repeatedly saving her from those who would rob her innocence or do her harm. Yet all the while, he warns her of danger, including himself, as he covets her innocence.

Will she be robbed her of her innocence by Blake, or will Blake do the noble thing? Blake cannot marry her, as he has no life to share with a woman. Yet, when they finally get together, Rosie will join him in his highwayman’s adventures.

This is very much a “perils of Pauline” story as Rosie goes from one misadventure and narrow escape to another, in both England and France, all the while thinking of her dark savior. The characters are endearing and the story captivates. For a time, Rosie lives with Gypsies and learns to love their culture though a Gypsy king is determined to have her for his woman. And Blake hovers in the background.

It is well written and exciting. There are bodice-ripping elements, to be sure, but the hero never forces the heroine. The ending is a bit abrupt, and there are a few forms of address issues, but there’s enough story here to satisfy the discerning historical romance reader.

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