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Monday, September 1, 2014

Book Review: Shadow on the Highway by Deborah Swift

Shadow on the Highway

Shadow on the Highway by Deborah Swift
Book 1 in The Highway Trilogy
PDF, ARC, 192 pages
Endeavor Press
July 15, 2014
★★★★ ½☆

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Genre: Historical fiction, YA

Source: Received from publisher for HFVBT tour

“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 deaf 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 Silent Highwayman?

‘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’.”

I have been a fan of Deborah Swift’s books and have read all but The Lady’s Slipper so far. Her book tend to be lengthy, full of atmospheric detail, and full of wonderfully developed characters and plots. Seeing that this book is only 192 pages, I wondered if it would be possible to have that same level of writing in these few pages. I assure you, my concerns turned out to be unfounded and Shadow on the Highway is a wonderful short novel and beginning to a trilogy that I look forward to reading more of.

I was amazed by the depth of character that was able to be forged within these few pages. Even the more periphery characters were fleshed out. The character’s motivations were present and compelling. I felt for Abi, as well as Lady Katherine Fanshawe (you may not at the beginning, but she will grow on you!). There is a little sense of mystery that compels you forward through the pages to learn what happens next.

I was surprised to learn that this book is somewhat directed at younger readers, but would also be appropriate for adults too. I guess that this would be because the main character is a young girl, but I never once felt like I was reading anything directed particularly at a younger audience. It felt simply like a shorter version of Swifts other novels. Actually, it didn’t really feel shorter at all – which is amazing considering it is at least 50% shorter than her other novels, but that just attests to how well written this book is, that it can evoke the same feel as reading a full length novel.

Here is a little something that the author had to say about this book and the trilogy: “This is a shorter, more lightweight novel than my other books, which sometimes run to more than 400 pages. The story itself naturally fell into three parts and so it made sense to divide the narrative into three books of about 200 pages each, and form a trilogy. Each book is a stand-alone story with a different main character, but each book features Abi, Katherine and Ralph. I hope the subject matter will appeal to younger readers of historical fiction - but that is not to say adults won't enjoy it too!”

Author Deborah Swift also has written: The Lady’s Slipper, The Gilded Lily, and A Divided Inheritance. You can visit Deborah’s website or blog for additional information about the book.

My reviews of other books by this author:

Reviews of this book by other bloggers:

Here are some choices for purchasing the book: Amazon, B&N, RJ Julia (my fav indie bookstore).

03_Shadow on the Highway_Blog Tour Banner_FINAL

You can follow along with the rest of the tour by visiting the HFVBT site or on Twitter with the following hashtag: #ShadowontheHighwayBlogTour

There is also a tour wide giveaway opportunity - it is not being run by The Maiden's Court.

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.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Copyright © 2014 by The Maiden’s Court


  1. I don't know how or where I entered this giveaway. I read this book just this last week and found it very good. Apart from Abigail there was so much of interest.

  2. Thank you for the lovely review, and for your comments too, Mystica. I loved writing it and am looking forward to writing the next two!

    1. Thanks for dropping by!!! I can't wait to read the next two!


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