"The Landlord's Black-Eyed Daughter" Review

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

Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Release Date: Aug 1, 2011 
Source: ARC sent by publisher

My Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Summary from goodreads.com:  

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 Review:

I was so anxious to read this book because it is based on Alfred Noyes' poem, "The Highwayman." The title is a direct reference to the poem, and drew me in immediately. It is, however, very loosely based on the poem. In a way, I understand, because it's difficult to turn a short poem into a 400 page book, but I guess a piece of me was still disappointed.

I enjoyed this book far more than the last book I read by the author- "The Greatest Love on Earth." Dennis has greatly improved her writing in the ten year span between writing the books. I do still feel that she excels at writing the other parts of the story besides the actual romance though.

My favorite part of the book was the dark, foreboding Gothic setting. It seems like every scene takes place on a dark, menacing night.

I felt like Rand was an old fashioned male chauvinist much of the time. When he stole Elizabeth's money and then 'repaid' her in stolen jewels that she wouldn't be able to sell because, well, they're stolen, I did not think he was someone I would fall in love with. I also took offense that whenever Elizabeth would ask 'when' he would do something, he would respond with 'in my own time.' This is so reminiscent of the old style of historical romance when emotionally controlling men were seen as desirable, so it wasn't really my cup of tea.

Main Characters: 3/5
Supporting Characters: 3/5

Setting: 4/5

Romance: 2/5

Uniqueness: 4/5
Cover: 4/5
Writing: 3/5

Bottom Line: The story is intriguing, with a nice Gothic setting, but the romance is too old fashioned for me.


  1. I was very interested when I saw the title of your post. I love The Highwayman. Are you a fan of Loreena McKennitt? She does an awesome rendition of The Highwayman: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CL_HQR-4VZI

  2. I am not big on those controlling guys either. These days those books just annoy me

  3. I can totally understand your feelings about the romance. Great review :)

  4. I loved the poem when I was a teen and I thought this sounded promising but I definitely won't be reading this book. He sounds like a horrible "hero". Thanks for your honest review :)

  5. Awwww...and it sounded so good too!

    Like you, I love the poem! I might still give this book a try though! :-D

    Lisa @ Once Upon A Chapter


Thanks so much for your lovely comments!