Tuesday, May 3, 2011
Review: The Landlord’s Black-Eyed Daughter by Mary Ellen Dennis
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Pages: 512 pgs
Genre: Historical Romance/Georgian
Challenges-100+ Reading Challenge, Outdo Yourself Reading Challenge
Buy this Book: Amazon, Powell's, Indiebound
Summary from publisher:
A fast-paced and passionate retelling of the story of two timeless lovers who would die for each other. If only they didn't have to. This gorgeous romance by author Mary Ellen Dennis gives the poem a whole new depth and a happy ending.
I was excited about this one. I love The Highwayman and was curious about a book based upon it. And I’m not the biggest poetry fan on the planet so that’s saying something. However, I did find myself getting a bit frustrated with this one. Not throw across the room frustrated but definitely an angsty shake of the head frustrated.
One of the major reasons I found myself frustrated with this book was the characters and the blockheaded decisions they make over and over again. I did like Elizabeth. She was smart, capable and intelligent. She was also a novelist which made her even more interesting. But she started out so independent in every way possible and she ended up being a bit weak. If she was so independent why couldn’t she tell her gambler father, her biatch of a step-mother and Stafford, the man she is supposed to marry to secure her family’s finances, to go to shove it up an orifice. She is financially independent so why not? Maybe I’m missing something aside from her father’s gambling debt. I liked Rand as well. He was every bit the dashing highwayman. He was heroic and mysterious and all that good stuff. He was, however, the source of my frustration most of the time. How many times did he have to leave Elizabeth alone and defenseless only to have something terrible happen to her and for them to be separated? And then when she begs him not to leave her alone because bad things would happen---of course he does---and guess what?---bad things happen. He’s a dunderhead who manages to have heroic moments.
I did like so much about this book. The writing is excellent and the storytelling is spot on. I loved how the story related both to The Highwayman and Robin Hood though not strictly sticking to those classics—if you know what I mean. Dennis made those plotlines her own and weaved her own characters into them. I also loved the soul mates and past lives aspects. I was expecting neither plotline but I found they both really worked here. I was not expecting them in this book but was happy when I found them and I loved how they were interwoven into the highwayman plot. I do recommend this book in spite of my quibbles with the characters because it is so unique and I don't think I will ever read another romance quite like it.
*A copy of this book was provided to me by the publisher for review. My opinion is my own and has not been influenced in any way and any monies made from associate or affiliate accounts are recycled back into the blog.