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Alice Payne Arrives

(Alice Payne #1)

3.64  ·  Rating details ·  757 ratings  ·  186 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
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Average rating 3.64  · 
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Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
More time travel fun! Or maybe "woes" would be a better adjective? Or both. :) Full review, first posted on Fantasy Literature:

Alice Payne arrives on the scene in this 2018 Nebula-nominated novella, and it looks like she’s setting up for a longer but welcome stay. Alice Payne is a half-black, thirty-two-year-old woman living in 1788 England in a mansion called Fleance Hall, with her father and a handful of servants; she’s also a closeted queer woman in a secret relationship with her companion,
Richard Derus
Mar 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindled, quiltbag
Real Rating: 4.5* of five, rounded up because damn!

I love writing about an excellent alt-hist novella by a woman, about women acting to improve/change the timeline, in women's history month.

Why does there need to be a women's history month? Same reason there needs to be a Black Lives Matter movement, an LGBT Pride month, any number of other celebrations of not-white not-straight not-male not-US-centric etc etc history/achievement/identity. Y'all've had the megaphone long enough. Hand it over.

Caidyn (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.
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
Richard Derus
Sep 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: kindled, quiltbag
Real Rating: 4.5* of five

I love writing about an excellent alt-hist novella by a woman, about women acting to improve/change the timeline, in women's history month.

Why does there need to be a women's history month? Same reason there needs to be a Black Lives Matter movement, an LGBT Pride month, any number of other celebrations of not-white not-straight not-male not-US-centric etc etc history/achievement/identity. Y'all've had the megaphone long enough. Hand it over.

Kate Heartfield earned my del
anna (½ of readsrainbow)
Feb 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: scifi, r2019, stars-4-0
What an interesting take on time travel!

I’ve read quite a few and this novella is one of the better ones. Heartfield juggles all the strands with prowess, doing some very compelling moves with the narrative. At first, I connected more with Alice and Jane, while Prudence was more of a cipher, but by the end, I was totally engrossed. The only bad thing is having to wait for the next instalment.
Kate Heartfield is fast becoming an author I’m paying close attention to. I first encountered her work in “Armed in Her Fashion”, a medieval monster story peopled with a band of interesting women. “Alice Payne Arrives”, a time travel novella, has a credible future engaged in a time war, with two great characters, Alice Payne in 1788, and Major Prudence Zuniga, fighting in the time war. The dialogue and action are tight, with both women being well-defined. I will admit, I particularly loved Alice ...more
Elle (ellexamines)
Jun 25, 2018 marked it as tbz
Shelves: x-tbr-lgbtq
I think I might have sold my soul to Tor and I just don't remember doing it ...more
Feb 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars

This is an interesting and tightly written time travel story that ended just as I was really getting into it! I'm up for the next installment at least, if not more.
Jun 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
In the midst of a time war, a time traveler from the 22nd century encounters two brilliant women from the 18th.

Major Prudence Zuniga is a warrior for one side of the time war, where two groups of travelers with different philosophies of timeline alteration battle to improve or preserve history. Disillusioned, she has a plan to end the war completely, but she doesn't expect the involvement of Alice Payne, an extremely unconventional woman of 1788, and her lover, the brilliant inventor Jane Hodgso
Newly Wardell
Oct 28, 2019 rated it liked it
This is the beginning of a great thing! Time travelling biracial gay highwayman (woman). Are you kidding me! It's really 4 stars but I'm wanna wait till I finish the sequel before I rated it as such. In the words of Miranda's fictionsl mum, SUCH FUN! ...more
AnnMaree Of Oz
Apr 12, 2021 rated it really liked it
A truly riveting time-travelling read! If you're into timeline travel, and conspiracy around it - plus strong powerful women of colour - I think you'll be impressed!

There are so many layers to the story, from different timelines to various characters and trying to understand what is going on - yet it was never too overwhelming or complicated for me to understand.

I thoroughly enjoyed learning about our MC Alice Payne living in 1788. She was born to a black Caribbean mother she never knew and a w
rachel ☾
#2) Alice Payne Rides ★★★★☆

Trigger warnings for (view spoiler).

Representation: Alice (mc) Jamacian-English & sapphic; Prudence (mc) Black; Jane (li) lesbian.

BlogTrigger Warning Data
Dec 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018
So much fun! A much needed light-hearted (yet with an interesting premise) novella. Is it ever alright to try to improve history? Can war be avoided?
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
Apr 21, 2019 rated it liked it

This initially started off rather 'messily' for me - too much to take in and too much that was confusing, but by three-quarters of the way through, I felt that it was starting to come together. I found the ending in particular very clever and well thought-through.

I found myself feeling rather irritated by something that seems to be increasingly present in a lot of SF/F and that I'm starting to think of as a kind of anachronistic preachiness (although I admit it does seem odd to use the word '
Apr 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
This novella is somewhere between 3 and 4 stars for me, but unlike most of my recent 3 star reads I didn't finish it feeling vaguely cranky, so I am rounding up. Although the plot and timelines were sometimes a little challenging to follow, I really liked the characters and overall enjoyed this approach to time travel. The story is definitely trying to do a lot in a short space, but for me it mostly succeeded with most of the elements, and I had a good time so that counts as a win. I will certai ...more
Jun 20, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very good book about a war being fought via time travel as two rival factions seek to wipe each other out by changing history. I would've liked a tidier ending, but at least there's another book... ...more
charlotte, (½ of readsrainbow)
Kiss me, and then take my hand, because I don’t know what happens next.

Review also on Reads Rainbow

Rep: black lesbian mc, possibly autistic lesbian li

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 t
Nov 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Lesbian highwayman from 1788 with an automaton caught up in a time war by an agent from 2040/2140 Toronto.

Five stars.
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
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
Alice Payne Arrives combines time travel shenanigans with some very adventurous ladies and a war that's fought across the pages of history. In 1788, Alice Payne is a gentlewoman (not nobility but not dirt poor either) who moonlights as a highwayman, the Holy Ghost, robbing the deserving men who cross her path with the help of an automaton named Laverna. Meanwhile, in 1888, Major Prudence Zuniga is attempting to change history to suit her side of a war which has been waged for decades and through ...more
Sep 09, 2019 rated it liked it
This novella was a fine way to pass a couple of hours, but I kept waiting for it to do more than it did.

I love time travel stories, and love history, so I'm very much the target audience for this book. I enjoyed reading about Alice and her lover Jane. Alice is a highwaywoman when necessary in order to get the money to pay for the home of her father and her, since her father can't seem to take care of business. Jane is a brilliant inventor who has built an automaton to be Alice's assistant in rob
Dec 28, 2018 rated it it was ok
There was too much crammed into too small a space (novella vs book).

It had great promise, but the execution left a lot to be desired. And the ending was incredibly unsatisfying. Yeah, I know, there's another one (novella? book?) coming out. I may give it a go, just to see if it gets any better, but I'm not particularly excited about it.

The primary problem was that I did not feel any connection to any of the characters.
Jan 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
Time travelling bisexual person of color highway robber and her scientist girlfriend
It's fun. I don't know if there's a time travel equivalent term for space opera (vs. science fiction), but this would definitely fall under the space opera side of things
Dropped some interesting hints of things that might happen in future books
It's a first book of a series, and I want to read another to see where this goes

It's short. 169 pages and after every chapter there's a blank page, and there are
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
Alice Payne a 1788 half-black woman acting as a highwayman, falls in with Prudence, a time-traveler trying to change history.

I've become a fan of the novella. When they are self-contained stories, they can be great: bigger punch than short stories without a large commitment in reading time. Sometimes, though, I end up feeling a bit frustrated. This novella fell into that last type. This doesn't seem like a novella. It seems like the first 164 pages of a novel. The characters could be interesting
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Kate Heartfield is the author of Armed in Her Fashion (ChiZine 2018) and the two Alice Payne novellas, published by Publishing.
Armed in Her Fashion won the Aurora Award for Best Novel and was shortlisted for the Crawford, Sunburst and Locus First Novel awards.
She was nominated for a 2018 Nebula Award in the novella category for Alice Payne Arrives, and in game writing for The Road to Cant

Other books in the series

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

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