Book Review: Alice Payne Arrives


A disillusioned major, a highwaywoman, and a war raging across time.

It’s 1788 and Alice Payne is the notorious highway robber, the Holy Ghost. Aided by her trusty automaton, Laverna, the Holy Ghost is feared by all who own a heavy purse.

It’s 1889 and Major Prudence Zuniga is once again attempting to change history―to save history―but seventy attempts later she’s still no closer to her goal.

It’s 2016 and… well, the less said about 2016 the better!

But in 2020 the Farmers and the Guides are locked in battle; time is their battleground, and the world is their prize. Only something new can change the course of the war. Or someone new.

Little did they know, but they’ve all been waiting until Alice Payne arrives.


Alice Payne Arrives

Kate Heartfield

Rating: 4/5 🌈
Published: 6th November 2018
Rep: lesbian mc, lesbian li, black mcs (not ownvoices), possibly autistic li

Kiss me, and then take my hand, because I don’t know what happens next.

Alice Payne Arrives was always going to be high on my list of anticipated books, just by virtue of being about a lesbian highwaywoman, and it definitely did not disappoint. It’s an action-packed, quick read, that will leave you wanting more (now I know how readers in Dickens’ time felt when books were serialised…).

Alice Payne is the mixed-race daughter of an English gentleman, who keeps her father out of debt by stealing from the rich (and misogynistic) lords who travel along the road near her home, with the aid of her scientist girlfriend’s automaton creation. But after one robbing, the entire carriage disappears inexplicably, and Alice is inadvertently introduced to the world of time travel and the struggle between the Farmers and the Misguided.

While I was initially thrown by the present tense in this book – it’s not my favourite thing – but for once it didn’t keep me from getting into the story. That’s probably because the story was fast-paced enough that the present tense actually worked in its favour for once. And it’s only a short book, more like a novella. It will also leave you wanting more because just as it starts to get more intense, the end arrives.

The characters were also really fun. My favourites were definitely Alice and Jane (I didn’t like Prudence at the start, but she definitely grew on me), but I also really liked Captain Auden, although I feel like he won’t be that much of a main character in later books. Even though the book was so short, the characters were still properly developed, too, and I really can’t wait to read more about them.

So, yeah. Read the book.


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