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Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Book Review & Tour Giveaway: Spirit of the Highway by Deborah Swift

01_Spirit of the Highway (1)
Spirit of the Highway by Deborah Swift
Book 2 in The Highway trilogy
ARC, e-book, 181 pages
Endeavor Press
September 24, 2015
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Genre: Historical Fiction, YA
Source: Received for review with HFVBT
England 1651
England has been engaged in a bitter Civil War for nearly ten years. Ralph Chaplin, a farmer’s son, has fallen for beautiful copper-haired Kate. There is only one problem – he is a Roundhead soldier and she is a Royalist lady.
Tired of bloodshed, Ralph volunteers to fight, sensing that the Battle at Worcester will be a chance to finish the fighting for good. He longs for peace, so he can forge a secure future and find a different, more equal way of life for himself and Kate.
But War is not what he imagined, and soon he has made a deadly enemy; one who will pursue Ralph and those he loves, and wreak vengeance. What’s more, Ralph finds he has as many enemies at home, as on the battlefield.
Told by Ralph’s ghost, Spirit of the Highway is the stand-alone second part of the Highway Trilogy based on the real life and legend of Lady Katherine Fanshawe, Highwaywoman

The first thing I have to say about this book was how refreshing it was to have a male protagonist/narrator. Not only is it a little more rare to have a male protagonist in historical fiction, but it is even more refreshing that it is in a young adult directed novel. I think this needs to happen more often. Only a small portion of the novel is set in a warfare setting, which is another rarity in male led novels. I feel that the author handled very well a balance between political, military, and relationship elements in the story that would appeal to both men and women.

Spirit of the Highway is the second book in The Highway trilogy and I feel that it is certainly beneficial to read these books in order, despite it being mentioned in a couple places that it could be a stand-alone novel. Whereas the first book, Shadow on the Highway, is focused on the story from the perspective of Abigail Chaplin, Spirit of the Highway tells the story from the perspective of her brother, Ralph Chaplin. There is an expectation of some knowledge of the characters here, and the reader would not have as deep of an understanding of the choices the characters make without the experience of book 1. You would not be able to understand the love between Lady Katherine and Ralph without having experienced their time with The Diggers in book 1. You would not have the background of how Abigail fits into her position with the Fanshawes. I think another area where the reader would benefit from the experience of the first book is regarding the politics of the time – the English Civil War and who The Diggers were. It is only addressed in a passing in book 2, but very well established in book 1. You could certainly appreciate the story, but I think it is a much deeper understanding with book 1 under your belt.
The story opens with the ghost of Ralph telling the reader what is going on – which was a little of a shock to me. It set me in the mindset that my protagonist was going to die at some point in the book. I also wasn’t really sure how this element would be carried out – overall, I think it worked. It wasn’t long before I forgot about the fact it was the ghost telling the story and it was still surprising when “the event” happened.
I found book 1 to be a little more adventurous and exciting while book 2 to be a little more low key, however the two books work well together.

Reviews of this book by other bloggers:
Buy the Book: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

Also by Deborah Swift:
the lady slipper
The Lady’s Slipper
the gilded lily
The Gilded Lily[My Review]
a divided inheritance
A Divided Inheritance[My Review]
shadow on the highway
Shadow on the Highway (Book 1, Highway Trilogy)
[My Review]

Find Deborah Swift: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Blog | Pinterest | Goodreads | G+

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On Twitter with Hashtags: #SpiritoftheHighwayBlogTour  #HistoricalFiction  #YA  #England

Tour-Wide Giveaway
There is a tour-wide giveaway up for grabs - I am not the coordinator of this giveaway, if you have any questions, please contact the tour coordinator at the HFVBT page.
To win a signed paperback of Spirit of the Highway please enter the giveaway via the GLEAM form below. Three copies up for grabs!
– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on November 6th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open internationally.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion
– Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

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