Highwayman: A Boisterous, Bawdy Tale


Geoffrey Hamilton is the grandson of a cruel religious zealot who is spitefully determined to deprive him of his rightful inheritance.  Geoffrey has plans for gaining vengeance and his inheritance—he’ll steal it from his grandfather as Gentleman Jack, a Robin Hood-type highwayman.  An arranged marriage to Anne Claimore throws a slight wrench into his plans, forcing him to play the society fop, but Anne is a very clever, willing bride who instantly sees through his façade. Now Geoffrey is building a family of his own, including two orphaned boys he takes in, showing him he has a lot more to lose than to gain with his dangerous plan of revenge.

“Highwayman” is historical fiction with a generous dose of adventure and romance, with some bawdy humor thrown in. The setting of 1666 London during the Anglo-Dutch wars is vividly realized—the author seems to have done extensive research.  The dialogue and language is characteristic of the time, which may be a handicap to readers who struggle with archaic terms.  London is as much a character of the novel as Geoffrey, Anne and the boys Erasmus and Desiderius, a place full of vivid sights, sounds and smells that cause the readers to feel as though they are experiencing the historical city in real life.  Overall, good writing, but choppy scene transitions leads to confusion as the scenes often end and begin in the middle of the action and with large time jumps.  Geoffrey’s characterization is strong and pivotal, but Anne is underdeveloped. Despite these few shortcomings, this is a book that avid historical fiction fans will find very enjoyable.

Danielle Hill