TITLE: The Landlord's Black-Eyed Daughter
AUTHOR: Mary Ellen Dennis
INFO: Paperback, Fiction, 474 pages
PUBLISHED: Sourcebooks, 2011
SOURCE: Received from Publisher for Review
FROM GOODREADS: 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.
"Take one highly successful Gothic romance writer who just happens to be an innkeeper's daughter; add one disillusioned, devil-may-care highwayman who robs only the rich on principle; set them down in the turbulent, hypocritical times of late 18th-century England; season with a dash of humor, a splash of the paranormal, and a dollop of danger; and let the adventures begin... A fast pace, fluid writing, and an exceptionally well-crafted plot..." - Library Journal
MY TAKE: Loreena McKennitt's haunting musical version of "The Highwayman" by poet Alfred Noyes is what drew me immediately to this book. I have always loved that poem and then Ms. McKennitt's lovely voice brought life to the words for me. It is one of my favorite CDs and gets plenty of play at our house.
So, on to the book by Mary Ellen Dennis. I had high hopes that the story would basically be a fleshed out version of the original. While the poem did provide a slight backbone for the book, it was more of a suggestion than a foundation. I do realize that trying to create an entire full fledged tale out of a poem of 1000 or so words would be tough, but I really did expect a bit more resemblance to the original.
That being said, I did enjoy the story. Elizabeth is a fun heroine. She is strong and opinionated and her being an accomplished writer drew me to her. I loved that she wrote Gothic Romance novels. The fact that her book is what finally connects her and Rand is a lovely touch.
Rand is a perfect "Robin Hood" character. He is suave and swashbuckling while still having what counts - a heart. He and his "Bess" really do make a great couple and drive the story. The supporting cast weren't especially helpful and I didn't care for most of them.
While I did say I'd have liked it to follow the poem a bit more, I really am glad that the ending for The Landlord's Black-Eyed Daughter is more upbeat than the tragic ending of the original Highwayman and his Bess.
Elements of adventure, romance, historical fiction and a bit of paranormal activity make for a fun read.
~~~~~ Disclaimer: All opinions expressed on this blog are 100% my own. I do not receive monetary compensation for my reviews but do utilize affiliate links. I may receive books in order to facilitate a review, but this does not guarantee a good review - only a completely honest one. Each review post denotes how I obtained the book.