Wednesday, August 17, 2011

'The Landlord's Black-Eyed Daughter' by Mary Ellen Dennis

Teaser Synopsis:
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...

First thoughts after reading the last sentence: "Hmmm......the poem is better."

I listened to Loreena McKennitt's version of The Highwayman (the poem by Alfred Noyes is where the author got the idea for this story) to try to get myself into the mood and right frame of mind before reading. I have loved her rendition for many years and it's because of her song that I wanted to read this novel. I have to tell you that the first 183 pages were really slow for me and I had a hard time staying with the book. I'm glad that I didn't give up because the last part of the book was actually pretty good and in places the poem really started to come to life in my mind. And if I'm being honest I thought Rand sounded pretty hot and dangerous...I'd climb out a window to take a ride with him any day!! So, if you're looking for a fun book that takes on some of the characters from The Highwayman, then you may want to read this one.

Rating: 6.8/10

For kicks and giggles you really need to watch this video.
Loreena rocks (IMHO) and this music is just haunting!!

Author: Mary Ellen Dennis
Published: August 2011
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Genre: Historical romance
Pages: 476
*Uncorrected Advance Copy

Disclaimer:Thank you to  Sourcebooks Casablanca for sending me a review copy. I was not compensated for my review. My thoughts on this book were in no way influenced by the author or publicist.They are my personal reflections based solely on MYexperience while reading this novel.
 © 2011, Staci of Life in the Thumb. All Rights Reserved. If you reading this on a site other than, Life in the Thumb or Staci's feed, be aware that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.


  1. I am not sure if this is my kind of book. But I am going to listen to this poem you blogged about :)

  2. The title alone sounds fun!! Glad the ending turned it around for you! :):):):):):):):):):):)

  3. Great review, Staci. You made me laugh with your climbing out the window comment! Sounds like an interesting idea for a book and you're absolutely right, Loreena does rock!

  4. Interesting post, Staci! When I taught middle school lit, the kids really got into the poem, The Highwayman. I'd like to read this just to see how it was "fleshed out" into a novel-length story. Thanks for the review. :)

  5. Don't think this one is my cup of tea, but I sure do wish they kept his entire head in the cover image!

  6. Thank you for your review. I truly appreciate your time and talent.

    My book was inspired by the poem, rather than based on the poem. Some might think that's semantics, but there's a difference. For example, the hardest part (of writing it) was giving Bess and Rand a happy ending and my favorite chapter was Bess's escape from Newgate prison, which, of course, never happens in the poem.

    Loreena McKennitt is responsible for my happy marriage. My husband, author Gordon Aalborg, aka Victoria Gordon, and I collaborated on a romantic suspense and discovered we had a mutual love for "The Highwayman" and Loreena (Gordon in Australia, I lived in Colorado and he asked me to marry him before we'd even met face-to-face).

    The Landlord's Black-Eyed Daughter is dedicated to Loreena :)

    Mary Ellen

  7. I love love love Loreena's song :D She is the greatest

  8. I've loved the poem since high school and rejoiced when Loreena McKennitt put it to musci, especially after what she did for The Lady of Shalott.

    I'm not sure this is a book for me, but I'm glad it did even a little justice to the poem.

  9. I'm not sure this book is for me but I love Loreena McKennitt! She is one of my favorite artists!

  10. I love me a sexy bad boy!

  11. Loreena McKennitt is so talented. What a great inspiration for an author. I wonder if she listens to her music while writing and what other writing habits she has.

    This sounds like a book that could have been executed better, but the poem sounds cool. I might pick this up just for that reason, though I'd have to check out the poem first.

  12. I was so with you on this one - up to the paranormal part. There must be something wrong with me - I get queasy at the thought of that stuff. But I'm glad you enjoyed it.


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