Reviewed by May
Laird Hamish Mackenzie had wanted to craft a monster out of his son and heir. Someone like him. But monsters were mythical, the figments of superstitious imaginations and farcical stories of centuries past. Liam decided he’d be no monster. Nay, he’d do one better.
He’d become a demon.
This is a third in a series I’ve strongly enjoyed, but easily stands alone as the previous characters are merely mentioned and shown for a few brief moments at the start and end of this book.
Liam Mackenzie demon highlander and respected laird is looking for someone to come and tutor his children, teach them manners and the finer skills of society. Little does he know that what he is getting is in fact a Viscountess just rescued from false imprisonment in an asylum where she was tortured. Mena (aka Philomena) just wants some place safe to hide where her cruel husband can’t find her and drag her back into a different asylum.
The leash of his temper snapped and roared to the surface. “Like hell! I am laird here!” He threw his arms out wide to illustrate the scope of his domain before gesturing at her. “Ad whilst in my employ, ye will mark me when I order ye to-“
Her reaction turned the flames of his temper to shards of ice. Heated words crowded his throat, suddenly filled with shock and remorse, and turned to ash.
The woman didn’t just cringe or wince, like someone who’d been startled, when he’d gestured at her,
Liam and Mena are a perfect match in so many ways, and the author does a good job moving the story along and showing how his rough side and upbringing combined with her abused past are in fact a wonderful match. It’s easy to imagine how and why these two would end up together and in a happily ever after situation. Their particular details are revealed really well in the story, so I don’t want to share any more specifics.
The only problem is, if you’re going to give me a story that begins so violently all around, and two characters who are soul deep damaged and hurting, I’m going to need a lot less fluffy light tale of love and a lot more struggle and show me more of the process from strangers to lovers.
While it was an enjoyable read (and only the beginning is very dark/violent), it was ultimately a less satisfying read because the story didn’t have the rich complexity these characters deserved. I love the concept, the idea of the man who had violence thrust upon him and hates himself paired with a woman who has endured years of abuse and torture and finding their best selves together. In summary form or skimming the book it is a wonderful premise. I just had a hard time with the jerky jumps from strangers that don’t trust each other (but have lust at first sight) to happily ever after.
Had this author crafted a story packed with more emotional scenes and let us watch this pair discover each other and slowly come together versus what felt like a more montage of quickly developing romance I think this would have been one of my favorite books of the year. The tale did not evoke the emotions and deeply satisfying reading experience that I’ve gotten from previous books, but by no means does this make The Highlander a bad book. On the contrary I love Kerrigan Byrne’s writing and can’t wait to see what tale of perfectly imperfect characters she has in store for me next!