Shadow on the Highway (The Highway Trilogy 1) by Deborah Swift
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? (Goodreads)
Abigail “Abi” Chaplin lost her hearing after childhood illness and has had trouble finding job because of that. When she manages to get a job as a maid in Markyate Manor, she’s shocked to find in what state the Manor is. Only 3 servants and the mistress, Lady Katherine Fanshawe, is as young as she is.
Abi is not happy when Katherine decides to pose as another maid called Kate. She is horrified when her brother Ralph falls for Kate and wants Kate to join their Digger movement. It’s a commune type of thing where they think the earth will provide for all.
I’m not that familiar with this era so it was interesting to read about the common people of this time. This was short and quick read but very enjoyable.
I liked Abi but I couldn’t understand why she wanted to help Katherine or what Ralph saw in her. I didn’t like Kate at first but she did grow towards the end and I liked seeing how the relationship between Abi and Kate changed as they get to know each other better.
This was my first Swift book but if her YA book is this good I’m looking forward reading her adult books.
Published: Endeavour Press (July 15, 2014)
Source: kindle freebie