Book Summary:

Captain Ethan Evans has been running from his for two years. Europe is a big place. He and his outlaw army of ex-soldiers are good at surviving, but commandeering a crumbling Dutch fort in the Netherlands might be just another mistake. Hidden by a mask and robe, his scorched, scarred body is a constant reminder of what he did…and of what he deserves. Maybe 2066 will be the year his enemies catch up and put his head on a pike. Because vengeance is a ruthless hunter.

Home is full of painful memories for Vanessa Brouwer. She yearns for a change and a chance to find a soul mate. But who knew some freaky Phantom of the Opera wannabe and his band of marauders would take over the fort she’s trying to escape? His attitude is icier than a North Holland winter, but something fierce burns beneath that mysterious exterior. And the more he melts, the more she wants to see what’s behind his dark disguise and even darker mood swings.

Now, despite the deadly threat drawing closer, the one thing they can’t seem to escape is each other.


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Seattle Book Review


Karen Yakey’s Home Beyond Hell takes place in a futuristic dystopian world ravaged by war. Vanessa Brouwer is a young twenty-two-year-old green-eyed blonde who yearns to see the world outside her castle community. A gardener by trade, this plucky heroine and her community are taken hostage by a passing gang of soldiers captained by a mysterious masked man. Although he seems cold and ruthless, Vanessa discovers that while his exterior is tough, there is much more than what meets the eye.

Captain Ethan Evans is a man running from his past. Struggling with losing his own home, Ethan has found Vanessa’s and is uncomfortable with how much he longs to stay, but fear of destroying her home keeps him ready to run. His mask hides more than his disfigurements, and Vanessa soon learns that the reason he and his soldiers move so often is darker than she first anticipated.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The point of view switches in-between Vanessa and Ethan giving the novel a well-rounded perspective. The characters are likable even in their woes, and the story seems promising. Every character is fleshed out, and Yakey does a great job exploring their histories. Vanessa is not a one-stop heroine, she’s invested in the characters around her, and through her, the reader becomes involved with them as well. For example, Morgan, Ethan’s right-hand man, has an interesting storyline verging in a possible love interest with Vanessa, but Yakey keeps it from becoming too much of a clichéd love triangle.

Yakey’s storytelling takes the classic romance tropes and makes them interesting. She doesn’t rely on lazy cliches but instead takes what’s typical and twists it into something new. I found myself rooting for all the characters even when they were at odds with each other. Yakey has taken the anti-hero ideology and created something new and shiny with it. The only thing I didn’t care for because this is the first in a series was that it felt disappointingly unfulfilled. This novel read more like a long prologue that never really went anywhere plot-wise. It felt like it stopped at the beginning of the real story instead of ending at a point that made sense. However, it is quite a long novel, clocking in at about 373 pages and 44 chapters. Perhaps that is a testament to the quality of writing that I found myself frustrated by the end and wanting more. This is a series worth following, and I personally will be on the lookout for the next chapter. 

~ Jenna Swartz, Seattle Book Review


About the Author:

Karen Yakey writes novels for adult readers who enjoy a cocktail of romance, humor, and action with a dark-drama chaser. Though her literary leanings harken back to a Master’s degree in literature, linguistics, and communications, she has spent twenty-three years in global corporations within the tech world and financial services, which helps feed an appetite for diverse experiences. A self-professed queen of beer-brewing and brisket-smoking, she has pulled up her Texas roots to plant them in Florida. Owing to a love of traveling throughout Europe, she has sought to imbue this story with an honest sense of how a simple human connection can bridge any border or culture.

The blog on her website at is where her introspective, often hyperbolic, humor goes to play, and pessimism has no place there. Please reach out anytime, sign up for her newsletter, and feel free to follow her on Twitter & Instagram (@KarenYakey) and Facebook (