Title: The Highwayman Came Riding
Author: Qeturah Edeli
Publisher: Loose Id
Release Date: June 6th, 2017
Page Count: 288
Reviewed by: Lenalena
Heat Level: 4 flames out of 5
Rating: 3 stars out of 5
Sassy Elias Burgess is the darling of Kitwick, a humdrum Georgian era village. Bored with his pedestrian life as the innkeeper’s son and village post boy, Elias dreams of escaping to London, the city where dreams come true. Only Elias’s bohemian twin sister, Bess, can match his acerbic wit and keep him sane. Together, they bewitch Kitwick with their beauty and intrigue, though no one, not even their father, understands them.
When he is stripped of his parcels (and clothes) by a smooth-talking highwayman, Elias is forced to walk home naked. Never one to let another man have the last word, Elias recruits the velvet-voiced redcoat, Mr. Sweeton, to help save his job by tracking down the missing post. However, the chivalrous Mr. Sweeton might have motivations for helping other than a desire to maintain order and uphold the law, and the highwayman might not be the villain he seems…
The Highwayman is a historical romance that doesn’t read like a historical romance at all. I picked it up mostly because the protagonist is blind and there is quite a shortage of differently abled characters in m/m. Sometimes it seems like they’re all healthy handsome white middle class dudes, and I think that is a problem. Elias is blind, and has been blind since birth, and doesn’t need a lover to convince him he is still worthy of love. He only has one little ‘you deserve someone better’ episode, and it’s over before you know it, so it isn’t treated as an unending source of angst either. That’s a good thing.
The story is lighthearted and mostly fun and entertaining. There are just some some discrepancies that I found jarring. One is the general lack of issues that the people close to Elias have with his homosexuality. Usually in historicals it is the unlawfulness of being gay that plays a prominent role in the conflict. Here, his immediate family are just fine and dandy with it and that’s just a little weird to me. I guess it’s good for readers who don’t like the drama that comes with that particular theme, though. This is on top of language and other attitudes that are decidedly modern, so I have to say it’s not a book for historical purists.
Another one is the disconnect between Elias’s verbal prowess and his complete (and I mean complete) inexperience. He doesn’t know what he is talking about, not even on a theoretical level, yet he’s acting like he’s proud to be the town whore, in a sense. It didn’t work for me, but I’m sure there is an audience for mouthy virgins, and if that is you, you’ll be delighted with this book!
I’m not even going to bother with some of the minor WTF moments. Because if you’re just looking for a lighthearted book about sassy virgins in a regency-ish setting, you won’t care about those. And if the historical impurities I’ve mentioned so far have already put you off, then there’s no point even starting this book.