Title: Mask of the Highwaywoman
Author: Niamh Murphy
Genre: LGBT, romance, historical, adventure
My first book review, and I’m starting with lesbian romance. Seems about right. Mask of the Highwaywoman by Niamh Murphy is about a young woman named Evelyn, who is traveling to Cambridge to visit with an old friend. Taking a stage-coach, she is stopped by a masked highwaywoman and her gang, and this initial encounter sets the stage for a life-changing adventure and the chance for romance. This quick read turned out to be one of the best lesbian romances I’ve read in a while.
First off, I loved the characters. Evelyn is very much the type of female character that I adore, bold and questions things around her. I love that she isn’t content with the high society life she was born into, but shows genuine fear when she’s taken out of it. I find it very realistic. Then, with Bess the Highwaywoman, I loved that she seems like this fierce outlaw, but turns out to have a soft core. I liked her back story, and the small twists and turns regarding her. And of course, I loved these two as a couple. Sometimes, the one problem I run into when reading lesbian romance, is that the couples have no chemistry and I feel absolutely nothing for them. It’s a downer when it comes to reading a genre you love, but here, I felt it. Bess and Evelyn have plenty of chemistry and I loved the little ups and downs regarding their relationship. The scene in the barn was perfect.
I also loved the fact that this was historical. I love historical fiction, and I loved the setting for this one. This portrayal of rural England during the seventeen hundreds had a lot of charm and character, everything green and an apparent love of nature shined through. I wanted to walk around and see every little detail. Then another good aspect of the book is the fact that while indeed it is a romance, it also had a good adventure plot, with a good mixture of crime to it, I loved it. I’ve read too many times in lesbian romance novels where the couple gets together quite easily, and it becomes nothing but a series of repetitious scenes of the couple canoodling. It’s cute for a while, but it becomes like gum once you’ve chewed it for a long time, lacking of flavor and dull. I like a little more substance. The adventure aspect was fun to read, and the chase scenes within the book has a lot of tension to them. The ending was perfectly paced as well.
As for any negatives, I would have liked for this book to be a bit longer. True, with the nature of the story, it would have to be fast paced, but I wanted to read more. Other than that, I would say I enjoyed myself and it’s just a fun little read. I can’t wait to read more from this author.
Buy Mask of the Highwaywoman at Amazon.