Tuesday, 15 March 2016

Book Review: Shadow on the Highway by Deborah Swift

Title: Shadow on the Highway
Author: Deborah Swift
Publisher: Endeavour Press
Publication Date: 2014 
Pages: 192 

Format: eBook - EPUB
Genre: Historical Fiction
Source: Review Copy from Publisher

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May 1651. England has been in the midst of a civil war for nearly ten years. The country has been torn in two, and the King is getting ready to make his last stand against Cromwell’s New Model Army.

Abigail Chaplin, a young mute girl, has lost her father to the parliamentarian cause. But with her family now in reduced circumstances, she is forced to work as a servant at a royalist household - the estate of Lady Katherine Fanshawe.

Abi is soon caught up in a web of sinister secrets which surround the Fanshawe estate. The most curious of which is the disappearance of Lady Katherine late at night.

Why are her husband’s clothes worn and muddy even though he hasn’t been home for weeks? How is she stealing out of the house late at night when her room is being guarded? And what is her involvement with the robberies being committed by the mysterious Shadow on the Highway?

Shadow On The Highway is based on the life and legend of Lady Katherine Fanshawe, the highwaywoman, sometimes known as ‘The Wicked Lady’. It is the first book in The Highway Trilogy. (Goodreads Synopsis)

Shadow on the Highway is a book about which I am in two minds. On the one hand, I liked the characters and was interested to learn what would happen to them; on the other hand, I expected much more to be made of the highwaywoman story line, which was a fairly minor part of the tale. The prose was, on the whole, very readable; however, several comma splices caught my eye, and they are one of my editing pet peeves. I understand this is the first of a planned trilogy and I would consider coming back to read book two, in the hope the highwaywoman plot becomes more prominent then. In any case, this is a good light read for historical fiction fans.

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