Firstly many thanks to the publisher for sending me this and to Katherine who wrote such a vibrant book! :-)
The legendary figure of Kate Ferrars, the infamous highwaywoman, is brought gloriously to life in this gripping tale of infatuation, betrayal and survival.
1648: Civil war is devastating England. The privileged world Katherine Ferrars knows is crumbling under Cromwell's army, and as an orphaned heiress, she has no choice but to do her duty and marry for the sake of family.
But as her marriage turns into a prison, and her fortune is decimated by the war, Kate becomes increasingly desperate. So when she meets the enigmatic Ralph Chaplin, she seizes the chance he offers. Their plan is daring and brutal, but it's an escape from poverty and the shackles of convention. They both know if they're caught, there's only one way it can end...
I'm a great fan of historical fiction but I've never come across a historical novel surrounding the time of Charles Stuart, a king I'm embarrassingly not that familiar with. I know the basics of his reign but I was immediately eager to pick up this book to get more of an outline of how life was under his reign and exile.
This isn't a book surrounding King Charles but those of his loyal and unloyal subjects, to decipher who belongs on which is rather a complex one. Here in this novel we enter the life of Katherine Ferrars a fairly well off lady who marries Thomas, a not so loveable husband who is away and with little to provide for Katherine. From here on Katherine is faced with a number of choices on how to provide for her household as well as herself and faithful friend Rachel, but things become desperate and more hopeful for Katherine as she encounters Rafe Chaplin- a highwayman.
Learning the ways of being a thief on the road, takes its toll on Katherine filling her with a sense of freedom and adventure, with a hint of adrenaline she becomes infatuated with Rafe's way of life and soon she falls for him and vice versa. Through struggles, deceit and heartbreak their lives intertwine with others and soon a spiral of lies and corruption evoke amongst their happiness.
Never mind King Charles knowing who to trust, who can Katherine trust? Not many that's for sure.
I was totally captivated by Katherine's life, she's a powerful, strong willed woman who is prepared to stand up for what is her's by right and unafraid of being who she is. She presents the woman who can look after herself, not needing a man to provide for her. I loved how gutsy she was, but admittedly she was brave in going against her husband and lying to her closest friends.
At times it did seem that she only cared for herself but I believe deep down and from how the book concluded she only ever wanted a simple and happily life for herself and loved one's where she felt she could provide rather than relying on those who were unreliable and untrustworthy.
The plot was gripping and the characters were so well developed, a nasty character called Willis although a bit of a horrible man was quite charming at times and devious which added to his great appearance. I think anyone who has read this will agree he is the bad guy that you kind of like- oops!
I think anyone who loves historical fiction should give this book a go, I really loved it and it's made me want more historical fiction books set in the 17th century! Katherine Clements for me is a brilliant writer, this book is so exciting and a complete page turner and I'm excited to read more of her novels!