Monday, August 25, 2014

Shadow on the Highway by Deborah Swift

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
Obtained from: Endeavour Press/Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours
Read:  August 3, 2014

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’.

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Shadow on the Highway marks my second encounter with author Deborah Swift. I read A Divided Inheritance last year and really enjoyed it so I was pretty excited about taking on her latest release when it was offered by both Endeavour Press and Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours.

I've never been one to shy away from giving my honest opinion and I'm not about to start now, so I have no trouble admitting it took me a few chapters to get into this one. Swift lays a lot of groundwork early in the novel which is probably why I had trouble losing myself in the story, but once it takes off, the book proved quite interesting. 

I can't believe I'm writing this, because I rarely find authors who can pull it off, but Swift's handling of the political situation in England was my favorite aspect of the novel. She explores the subject matter naturally, explaining the essentials without bombarding the reader with excessive exposition. 

There is nice contrast between Abigail and Lady Katherine which I really liked. I wasn't sold on the romantic elements of the piece, but that's just me. It isn't bad or poorly executed by any means, I just don't think it added a whole lot to the piece. Still, it's its early in the series and Swift might turn it into something really interesting moving forward. 

Shadow on the Highway is young adult lit, but I found it worthwhile. Definitely something I'd recommend to younger fans of historic fiction or even those interested lighter fact-based narratives. 

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I sighed, and wished life was not so complicated. All I wanted was a simple maidservant’s position with a decent wage. And so far, the whole household was mad as bedlam, and nobody had paid me so much as a bean.
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Check Out All the Stops on Deborah Swift's Shadow on the Highway Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, August 25
Review at Flashlight Commentary
Tuesday, August 26
Interview at Flashlight Commentary
Book Blast at Princess of Eboli
Wednesday, August 27
Guest Post at Reading the Past
Book Blast at Broken Teepee
Thursday, August 28
Review at WTF Are You Reading?
Book Blast at Peeking Between the Pages
Friday, August 29
Book Blast at Passages to the Past
Book Blast at What Is That Book About
Monday, September 1
Review at The Maiden’s Court
Book Blast at Reading Lark
Tuesday, September 2
Guest Post at Let Them Read Books
Wednesday, September 3
Review at A Bookish Affair
Friday, September 5
Book Blast at Curling Up By the Fire
Saturday, September 6
Book Blast at A Book Geek
Monday, September 8
Review at Oh, for the Hook of a Book
Review at Historical Fiction Obsession
Tuesday, September 9
Review at Brooke Blogs
Book Blast at CelticLady’s Reviews
Wednesday, September 10
Review at Unabridged Chick
Review at So Many Books, So Little Time
Thursday, September 11
Review & Guest Post at Just One More Chapter
Interview & Giveaway at Unabridged Chick
Book Blast at Luxury Reading
Friday, September 12
Review at The Musings of ALMYBNENR
Review at Ageless Pages Reviews
Monday, September 15
Review at Historical Tapestry
Book Blast at A Bibliophile’s Reverie

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Shadow on the Highway Giveaway

To win a Paperback or eBook of Shadow on the Highway please complete the Rafflecopter giveaway form below. Five copies of each are up for grabs. Giveaway is open internationally.

Giveaway ends at 11:59pm on September 15th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
Winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter on September 16th and notified via email.
Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

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