I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
“How does one start a relationship with another man when it is forbidden?”
“One needs to decide that the other man is worth dying for.”
Sir Evan Penhart. Baronet. Highwayman. Scoundrel.
Julian Reece. Writer. Wastrel. Penniless.
No one forces Julian Reece to marry. Not his father, not his brother. No one.
When he is thrust into a carriage heading for London to meet his future bride, his way out comes in the form of an imposing highwayman, riding a horse as black as night. Julian makes a deal with the criminal, but what he doesn’t expect is that despite the title of baronet, the robber turns out to be no gentleman.
Sir Evan Penhart is pushed into crime out of desperation, but the pact with a pretty, young merchant’s son turns out to have disastrous consequences. Not only is Evan left broke, but worse yet, Julian opens up a Pandora’s box of passions that are dark, needy, and too wild to tame. With no way to lock them back in, rash decisions and greedy desire lead to a tide that wrecks everything in its way.
But Julian might actually like all the sinful, carnal passion unleashed on him. How can he admit this though, even to himself, when a taste of the forbidden fruit could have him end up with a noose around his neck? And with highway robbery being a hanging offense and the local constable on their back, Julian could lose Evan before he can decide anything about the nature of his desires.
Whoa. This book was super freaking long. I mean it seemed like it was never going to end. It was a good story, but I think it could have been cut my at least 50 to 60 pages at least for me. In the middle of the story I feel like I stalled out a bit. It definitely changed the pacing of the story, and I got kinda bored an felt like the skimming bug was going to hit me. It didn’t, and I’m glad for that sake, but yeah that’s a warning to some folks that it does get slower in the middle of the story.
Now where to start? For a first time historical fiction from these two, I think they did very well. I really liked the authentic feeling to the time of the story. I really like when authors do their research and bring authenticity into the story. You can tell they did their research by the tone of the story, the elements, and the way the characters talk as well. This duo did a fantastic job on these two.
Sir Even Penhart and Julian Reece were good characters. Each bringing a difference of background into the story. Evan is the last surviving heir to his family’s home. While it is ruin, it’s something in his soul that won’t let him depart from it, out of a sense of duty more then loving memories I’d say. He has no money left due to his brother’s wastrel ways, and the only that he knows how to make some is by becoming a highwayman, a modern day robber. On one unforgettable night he approaches Julian’s carriage looking to make away with their money & trinkets. Julian is looking for a way out of an arranged marriage. He’s young, likes to drink & gamble, and fantasized about becoming a published author. His father is tired of supporting the young lad, so he waits until he’s incapacitated himself enough and ships him out, along with his older brother to his suspected bride. Long before Julian can understand the circumstances, a robber in all black and a pistol happens upon them.
The chemistry between the two were just right from the beginning. Both skeptical of one another, and not knowing where to go from there. They do come up with a plan to ransom Julian by hoping his father cares from him enough to send money. They both learn things from each other. They are different in a lot of ways. We see Julian loves words, poetry, writing, his wine, and he’s a easy going guy. Evan is more reserved, believes himself to live a life of destitute. Sparks fly in the most inopportune time it seems. While they seem to have a different of a opinion on the matter of the physical attraction, it’s not something you can deny. This duo does have a way with pulling on your heartstrings. There was plenty of times where I found myself really connecting with these guys. I like how expressive Julian was. I liked how he thought out so many things, and thought about his emotions as well. Evan is so used to not winning in life, that small things brighten his day. It’s been a long time since he was able to feel something for someone, so he was willing to go above and beyond for Julian.
I will say the plot got to be a long winded journey for me. I get we needed it, but because the book was so long when the plot settled into something at the end it left me frustrated. I had doubts on the end for these two. I hated Pascoe with a passion, but someone needed to be a villain.
All in all I think this was a good, solid historical romance. It felt authentic for the time period. I loved the development of the relationship. That didn’t feel rushed at all, and I appreciated the authors letting the characters find themselves together in their own way. A definite recommend from me.