Set in 1787 in England, Elizabeth Wyndham is a beautiful successful author of Gothic Romances, an inn-keeper's daughter, being courted by Lord Stafford, but attracted to a mysterious highwayman. John Randolph "Rand" Remington steals from the rich and gives to the poor. He's had dark moods since he'd seen men die for little purpose as a soldier in the American Revolutionary War, during which his young relative was accused unjustly of a crime and hanged back in England--something for which he has sworn vengeance.
Rand also seems very like the Knight, Ralf Darkstarre, in Elizabeth's Gothic Medieval Romance trilogy, CASTLES OF DOOM... Doing a bit of research, both Elizabeth and Rand discover that there was an actual historical figure named Ranulf Navarre who resembles the character in her books. Meanwhile, both Rand and Elizabeth have strange dreams showing flashes of a time back in the middle ages. Elizabeth and Rand have to deal with Rand and his partner evading authorities, Lord Stafford's unwelcome attentions to Elizabeth, Elizabeth's father's gambling, a loose-mouthed maid, a mean mother-in-law, discovering what the dreams of the past mean, and lots of suspense and action.
I thought all the elements were somewhat overwhelming and didn't quite mesh well together, distracting from the characters and the main romantic plot-line. Alfred Noyes' poem THE HIGHWAYMAN is incredibly romantic, but because of all the things going on in this story, it almost seems an after-thought, definitely a minor theme, even though the story is built upon its elements--and it is stated on the back flap about the author that she intends to changing the ending. It also strained my credulity a bit that an innkeeper's daughter would be a famous writer, attending an elegant party in her honor in London, and having her hand sought in marriage by a Lord. There were some period details, but Elizabeth's actions and attitude and speech were all very modern: she's intent on earning her own living and remaining single and free to do what she wants. Because of these problems and other things, I found that I couldn't enjoy the story or love the characters as much as I wished.