I love these dark men that Byrne presents to us. So much so that I've just reread them all. In fact I foresee that this series will be a regular re-read for me I enjoy them so much. Men who have been to hell and back--and survived, and the gutsy women who love them and believe in them despite their pasts.This is a gritty and poignant story. We first met Mena (Philomena St. Vincent) briefly in The Hunter. Millicent LeCour's son Jakob worried even then, “I think Lord Benchley hurt Lady Philomena, Mama.”
And hurt Mena is. When the story opens she is incarcerated in a mental institution left to be a plaything for unscrupulous staff by her sadistic husband, Lord Gordon St. Vincent, the Viscount Benchley.
Farah Leigh Blackwell, Countess Northwalk, (from The Highwayman) and Millicent LeCour (from The Hunter) take action to rescue Mena. She must escape from her brutal husband who's even now searching for her. The problem is where can Mena go? The where becomes the Scottish Highlands, as governess to the children of Lieutenant Colonel Liam MacKenzie, the MacKenzie Laird and the Marquess of Ravencroft, and brother to Farah's husband the notorious Blackheart of Ben More.
Almost a berserker in battle, Liam is known as the Demon Highlander.
But “Sometimes", as Millie explains, "when in a predicament like (Mena's), the safest place to be is at the side of a violent man.” And the story of Mena and Liam grows from here.
Once more Byrne treats us with a startling and resonant view on life. Mena and Liam's story follows the patterns set before, of people abused and holding terrible secrets and of how love can break into those darkest reaches and bring life and forgiveness. I loved it when Mena says to Liam, “ I believe there is a tenuous balance between redemption and damnation. You cannot have one without testing the limits of the other. No light, without first conquering darkness. No courage, without battling your fear. No mercy, unless you experience suffering.”
So engaging! An unabashed page flipper!
A NetGalley ARC