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Alice Payne Arrives

(Alice Payne #1)

3.71  ·  Rating details ·  66 ratings  ·  27 reviews
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 c
Kindle Edition, 176 pages
Published November 6th 2018 by (first published 2018)
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Nov 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
Time travel.

Sure, it has been done a lot over the years, but then, so has detective tales, historical novels running over the same old grounds, or vampires. The key to a good tale is in the depth of detail, the strength of the characters, and the piledriver of the plot.

Fortunately, Heartfield rams it home in this novella. Does it feel like the beginning of a serial? Absolutely. Is the novella still fun to read on its own, with lots of time-jumping, future world-building, and conflict between hoa
Caidyn (SEMI-HIATUS; BW Reviews; he/him/his)
This review can also be found on my blog!

ARC provided by Tor in exchange for an honest review! This will be published November 6th!


Honestly, I’m not quite sure how to rate this book, but it was somewhere between me liking it and me finding it okay. At first I liked it, then I thought it was just okay and I didn’t find the ending as interesting as I wanted.

Alice Payne is a half black woman growing up with her white father in England in the late-1700s. She has a girlfriend who is an inventor.
anna (readingpeaches)
Elise (TheBookishActress)
Jun 25, 2018 marked it as releases-2018
I think I might have sold my soul to Tor and I just don't remember doing it
Holly (The Grimdragon)
"Now it is a regular affair, this robbery on the road. There are plenty of villains making their way through Hampshire, ready to be relieved of a purse, a blow struck in secret for womankind. Despite the fact that all the victims are men of suspect character when it comes to women, no one has made that connection, or suspected that the Holy Ghost is a woman, much less that it is Alice. All her skin is covered, lest the colour of it call to any local's mind Colonel Payne's poor daughter."

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

Review also on Reads Rainbow

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
Nov 29, 2018 rated it it was ok
Great concept, messy execution.

A novella about a biracial time-traveling highwaywoman who robs sexual predators with the help of her scientist girlfriend sounded like the best thing ever. In reality, Alice Payne Arrives is so confusing that I didn't enjoy reading it at all.

As usual for novellas, the pacing is terrible, and this story managed to feel both watered down - because the characters didn't have any depth - and too complicated to be crammed in such a short book. This book is about a war
Beth Cato
Nov 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
Heartfield establishes a fascinating, original take on time travel in Alice Payne Arrives. While a bit mind-bendy at times (time travel does that), the intriguing characters and premise kept me glued to the screen as I read this novella. I couldn't help but love Alice Payne, the woman highway robber who craves independence, though the time-wayfaring Major Zuniga was a curiosity to me as well. Ripples across time had inflicted some odd changes within her life. The end is a bit of a cliffhanger, s ...more
Jessica Rentcome
Aug 02, 2018 rated it liked it
I am loving the influx of novellas that Tor is putting out and I was super excited for this one since it seemed like it was going to tick all my boxes. Time travel? Lesbians? Women of color as protagonists? Women kicking ass? STEAMPUNK!? And yet, this first book fell a little flat for me. Time travel is hard to read and consume as media at the best of times, but the overlapping time periods and narratives and multiple points of view left me feeling Dazed and Confused. Add to that a late-in-the-g ...more
Mar 20, 2018 marked it as to-read-so-bad-it-hurts
'about a highway-woman in 1780s England who gets tangled up in a history war'


Barbara Young
Dec 08, 2018 rated it liked it
If I'm this confused by a introductory novella, I'm not sure I want to get further into the series.
Cara M
Sep 23, 2018 rated it liked it
Here is the thing:

I love time travel, and I love chaos and shifting timelines and timewars and all of that. And I loved all of those parts of this book.

I also really liked Prudence. She was a great grouchy, totally done-with-this-shit character.

And if the story had been entirely from Prudence's POV, or, perhaps more Doctor-Who-like, from a character close to her, like Rati or Helmut, who could show her perspective on this situation but not give her the POV that kept secrets from the reader, I wo
Jun 25, 2018 marked it as to-read
Shelves: lgbt
pre-read review

i've been obsessed with the idea of a sapphic highwaywoman story since i was 9 years old and had a massive crush on bess in alfred noyes's 'the highwayman' so i'm currently living the dream
Nov 07, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: arc-paper
3.25 Stars

Alice Payne Arrives is the first book in a new science fiction adventure series of novellas. The titular character Alice is a colorful character. She is a biracial young woman from a good family who has a side gig of being a highwayman (called the Holy Ghost) robbing men who are abusive of women. She also has (rather on the down-low) an engineer girlfriend named Jane who helps her cover her tracks. She uses an automaton, the creation of her girlfriend, named Laverna to assist her in he
Dec 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This lady just keeps writing books I have always wanted to read. It is quite the feat to juggle time travel with consequences from opposing ideologies that are neither simple nor clear-cut, throwing various characters into the mix, and making it exciting while still clear enough to follow. Kate Heartfield has a style that does not shy away from challenging the readers, both in eloquence and in logic, and I find that challenge refreshing and satisfying. She also does not stick to everyone's "favo ...more
Andy Taylor
Nov 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I listened to this on Audible the other day in practically one sitting and was blown away not only by Kate Heartfield's prose, but by the sheer amount of story she packs into such a small space. Alice Payne is a 18th century black woman born to an English father and a mother of Caribbean descent. Living in England Alice leads a secret double life a highway robber known as the Holy Ghost as well as being the daughter of Colonel Payne a veteran of the American Revolution. She comes into contact wi ...more
Liz Westbrook-Trenholm
Nov 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Kate Heartfield, as always, shows her versatile talent in this entertaining steam punk time travel novella. Impetuous Alice Payne, ladylike and larcenous, is aided, sometimes reluctantly, by her wiser, science-minded side-kick and lover, Prudence, as they struggle to survive financially in the 18th century. Enter a combatant from future time wars who corners them into taking a last-ditch, drastic action that will save the world and humanity, or will it?
Kate Heartfield’s sensitive portrayals of
Nov 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: e-book
I didn't completely follow all the alternate timeline stuff, but that may have been because I read it while in hospital for day surgery so I wasn't completely with it. But I did enjoy it a lot, and look forward to the second book. Alice completely rocks (I basically never buy e-books from an unknown author but I read the words 'highwaywoman' and 'time travel' and immediately bought it, all free will suddenly gone), and Jane is in some ways more interesting if not as entertaining. I mean, Prudenc ...more
Wayne Santos
Nov 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
Alice Payne Arrives takes two wildly different voices and moves along at a rapid pace. The titular Alice Payne fights with the odds stacked against her, being gay, of mixed race and heavily in debt in 18th century England, while Prudence Zuniga wages a running battle through time to avoid a gigantic historical mess.

This novella clearly sets the stage for a much larger story, of which the continuation is coming, and there are a lot of moving parts. But if you're looking for a time travel story ta
Dec 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: scifi
This was really fun! Eighteenth-century British lesbian biracial highway robber gets messed up in time travel wars between groups trying to change the timeline in their favor--what's not to like? Fast read, and looks like more are coming! Yay! The time travel stuff was pretty fun and intricate. I'm a fan. More, please.
Marco Cultrera
Dec 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Very enjoyable time-travelling story. I struggle with the ending a bit, but after rereading the last 40 pages three times, I think I understood it all. And the logic holds up.

I haven't had so much fun with time-travel in a while, so I highly recommend it!
Nov 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: novella
An enjoyable little novella (c28,000 words), but very much half of an unfinished story - the sequel is coming next year - that means I'm not really sure whether or not the story really stands up to the interesting premise.
Galen Strickland
Nov 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
Part steampunk, part SF adventure. Great characters, intriguing premise. Recommended.
Dec 08, 2018 rated it liked it
Thoroughly enjoyable. I need. to. know. more. about this world!
Catherine Schaff-Stump
Aug 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
Today is the book birthday of Alice Payne Arrives, which I've been holding onto my opinions about for a while now, except for the 5-star rating I left of it over on Goodreads. I do like Kate Heartfield's work, and she had been a frequent contributor here at Fantastic History.

Let me just put this out there for the purists on the blog; this is not only history, okay? There is a fair amount of science fiction in the mode of time travel, so if you're coming to this book looking solely for the ramb
rated it it was amazing
Nov 27, 2018
really wanted to like based on premise
could not get past the first few minutes
(audio version)
Maybe will try again in a different mood
rated it liked it
Nov 16, 2018
Vanessa Armstrong
rated it liked it
Dec 04, 2018
Henk Koetzier
rated it liked it
Dec 13, 2018
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Kate Heartfield's first novel, a dark historical fantasy called Armed in Her Fashion, is out now from ChiZine Publications. CZP will also publish The Humours of Grub Street, set in 18th century London, in 2019 or 2020.
Her time-travel novella, Alice Payne Arrives, was published by Publishing in November 2018. The sequel, Alice Payne Rides, is releasing on March 5 and is available to pre-ord

Other books in the series

Alice Payne (2 books)
  • Alice Payne Rides (Alice Payne, #2)