There are only two indisputable facts in this world. The sun will set in the west, and I’ll come for you. Always.
Reviewed by Angela:
I adore this author. Absolutely, positively adore. She writes bad boy, tortured anti-heroes like no other. Before reading The Duke with the Dragon Tattoo I could honestly say that the first book in this series, The Highwayman, was my favorite, but now I don’t really know. Both books have a hero with a dark, twisted, tortured past, each of these heroes have conquered their respective kingdoms despite (or maybe because of) their past, and they both have a love story that transcends time and distance.
If you’ve read the previous installments in this series than you’ve met The Rook. He is the enigmatic pirate captain mentioned and even briefly introduced, but who still remained a huge mystery. Turns out The Rook is no other than the missing Dorian, the man who befriended Dougan (hero of The Highwayman) while in prison and who’s death set the Blackheart of Ben More on a lifelong mission of revenge and power. He’s been alive all this time, just without any memory of his true identity. All Dorian knows is the young woman who nursed a badly burned, beaten man back to health and captured his heart in the process. Lorelei is his whole life and the only thing that matters to him is getting back to her.
This story is told in parts, just like the previous books in the series. Ms. Byrne goes back in time to set the stage and then brings her readers along as Dorian becomes Ash and then becomes The Rook. Lorelei as a young girl, trapped in a household with a psychopath for a sibling, then fast forwards to twenty years later when her first love comes back to claim her. Lorelei and her pirate captain are amazing together. Forging a unique, lovely connection as teenagers and then carrying those memories through the years in order to keep themselves sane during dark times. When The Rook comes for Lorelei twenty years later, he’s a much more violent, haunted person than she remembers. But all he still needs or wants his her and her acceptance. Even if he doesn’t quite know how to communicate that with her. How do you not fall in love with a heroine who takes the cruelty aimed at her and turns it into a desire to fix and nurture broken things? She is such a strong, kind woman and just what a man as damaged as The Rook needs to find a path to happiness.
Several characters make appearances, Farah and Dougan (the original Dorian) being the most important. You’ll see why. Several new characters are introduced, mainly Lorelei’s sister-in-law and The Rook’s second in command, who I have this strong feeling will show up in a future book as unwilling love interests. There is also a huge revelation regarding a pesky, enemy/ally, Scotland yard inspector that is sure to have fans of this series all excited and on the edge of their seats for what comes next. I know I am.
All in all, this series remains on my all time favorite list. If you love a darker historical romance and can’t get enough of a broody, damaged anti-hero, then this is absolutely for you. Highly recommend.