by Karen Robards

July 1998
ISBN: 0-446-60689-8
Reviewer Graphic Button Warner Books
Mass Market Paperback

In the hot and dangerous penal colony of Australia, Sarah Markham had no idea that an act of kindness would change her life when she stepped in to prevent convict Dominic Gallagher from being whipped to death. Sarah didn’t really expect never-ending gratitude for her deed, but she never anticipated the arrogant convict to treat her with hostility that bordered on hatred when they next met.

Sarah’s father “owned” Dominic, where he was to serve out his 15 year penalty working on a sheep farm, which was something Dominic could not stand and he wasn’t about to heel to Sarah as mistress when he felt that they were equals. Sarah, basically an “old maid” at 22 years old, never had a man treat her like Dominic did. When he called her “Miss Sarah” in his Irish brogue, it was always in a mocking tone and although he obeyed her orders, he definitely wasn’t deferential. However, he was the most handsome man she had ever seen and he made her, called plain and beyond hope by her stepmother, feel desirable and beautiful. And when he touched her… Sarah couldn’t say no, although she knew if it were ever discovered that she had allowed a convict to lay a hand on her, she would be ruined.

When Dominic is punished for what he believes to be Sarah’s second thoughts about their affair, the tables are turned. Dominic escapes the ranch and then returns to abduct Sarah and make her his slave. However, soon they are both slaves to their passion for each other in a world where their love is forbidden!

Karen Robards once again has not disappointed this loyal fan! Dark Torment was full of adventure and passion and impossible to put down. Sarah is a heroine many readers will be able to relate to. She is spunky but still insecure at times, pretty but not drop dead gorgeous. Dominic is all a woman could want wrapped up in one big, tall, dark package! Of course, there is more to him than meets the eye and the story of this Irish earl turned convict is heart wrenching, if not all that original.

The only reason I did not give Dark Torment a full five star rating was because Sarah’s misgivings over her affair with Dominic didn’t completely ring true to me. She was shown to be a kind person to all of the convicts her father had employed, not overly concerned with status, and then she has such a strong reaction immediately after sleeping with Dominic that it seemed to be an about-face. Additionally, I felt as though Dominic should have believed Sarah’s protests sooner that she was not responsible for his punishment since all of her actions towards him showed that she was not the type to seek revenge of that sort. She had, in fact, saved him from being punished several times earlier. But after all, misunderstandings of this sort are often what add tension and a spark to the tale and regardless of any criticisms I may make, the good qualities in Dark Torment far outnumber any negative ones. It is still without a doubt a well-written, page-turner that I would recommend to any fan of romance.

Reviewed in December 2002 by Nicole.

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