Review – Alice Payne Arrives by Kate Heartfield

Alice Payne Arrives

Book Title: Alice Payne Arrives

Book Description: 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 closer to her goal. It’s 2016 and…well, the less said about 2016 the better! But in 2020 the Farmers and the Guides are locked in battle; time is their battleground, and the world is their prize. Only something new can change the course of the war. Or someone new. Little did they know, but they’ve all been waiting until Alice Payne arrives.

Book Author: Kate Heartfield

Book Format: EBook

Date published: 2018-11-06

ISBN: 1250313732

Number Of Pages: 172

  • Writing - 9/10
  • Development - 8.5/10
  • Conclusion - 8.75/10
User Review
0 (0 votes)


Alice Payne Arrives by Kate Heartfield


Kate Heartfield takes a new approach to time travel tales in her new novella, Alice Payne Arrives. Yes, I know, time travel has been done a million times, and will likely be done a million more times. But that won’t stop me from trying new books and series. In this particular case – I’m glad that I gave it a chance. 

Alice Payne Arrives is the first novella in the series, and if the rest are anything like this one, it is going to be a whirlwind of a series. There’s time travel, obviously, danger and thievery attempt to save the world, overly complex plans, automatons, and even an endearing relationship to follow. In short, it’s got a little bit of everything.


True to its novella form, Alice Payne Arrives is fast-paced. It doesn’t waste any time bringing the reader into the thick of things. We’re quickly introduced to all of the main characters involved, their motivations, and how they’re connected to the main plot. 

There are a lot of time jumps in the story, understandably. Thankfully they’re all clearly delineated, stating the timeline at the beginning of each chapter. For a series that spends a lot of time bouncing around between centuries, this is a vital trick to use.

Even with its shorter length, there is an astounding number of details included inside. It’s clear that Kate Heartfield spent time researching the individual periods she was basing or throwing her characters into. The details led us to imagine a rich environment, while not lending to an overly verbose description.

There are a lot of strong moments in Alice Payne Arrives. Each of the characters is incredibly driven, and better yet, none of them is ashamed of who they are. It’s such a rare trait and not something to be ignored. Most of the characters are presented bluntly, but it makes them all the more endearing.


Alice Payne Arrives by Kate Heartfield
Alice Payne Arrives by Kate Heartfield

It becomes fairly clear early on that Alice Payne Arrives is the introduction to a new series. Yet it was a complete story in itself, even while opening the door for something larger. In fact, knowing that the novella was going to turn into a series allowed me to feel more comfortable becoming attached to the characters.

Speaking of, it did take a little bit of time for Alice Payne to grow on me. The character, that is. She’s bold and brazen and full of drive, but sometimes that means it can take just a bit longer to get to know a person fully. Once I understood her past and her motivations, I was more inclined to be fond of her, and support her success.

Likewise for Prudence. She’s one of those characters with a heavy burden – the type of burden that weighs you down, and alters what you consider to be ethical and correct. I’m not saying her perspective was incorrect, just that I can see how the years wore her down. I loved how determined she was, even if I was at times not sure if I agreed with the actions or directions she was taking.

Meanwhile, I was immediately fond of Jane. She’s clever, witty, and I could tell right away that there was more to her than meets the eye. I didn’t get to know her quite as well as I would have liked, but I have a feeling that we’ll be seeing more of her in the next novella.

Following multiple characters at once allowed us to get to know them individually, while also showing us different plots in time simultaneously. Alice is more grounded in the past (well, to the past to both us and Prudence, at least) where Prudence was born in the future, but spends most of her time…well everywhere and everywhen.

The plot progressed quickly and smoothly, yet it wasn’t boring or predictable. I found myself reading the whole thing in just one sitting – simply because I was so curious about what was going to happen next.

Heartfield truly explored the complexity of time travel here. The entire basis of the plot is based on the Butterfly Effect. It explores how changes can cascade beyond prediction or control. Is there a right way to alter time? We know there’s bound to be a wrong way. Is any alteration too much, or would some alterations be for the greater good? These questions and so many more are raised throughout the course of the book.


Alice Payne Arrives was a fast-paced and enjoyable novella. I loved the different perspectives and twist that Kate Heartfield managed to wrangle out of it. At many points I found myself drawn into the debates of the series – about the ethicalities of time travel. That alone made this series worthwhile to read in my book. 

The characters were charming, especially once you got to know them. Without them the plot wouldn’t have been nearly so compelling, nor would the stakes have felt so important. And even though it was clear that this novella was setting up for a larger series, it didn’t read like it was incomplete in any way. Though there’s no doubt in my mind that we’ll be seeing the three main characters again in following books. 


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About the author

Cat Wyatt

Cat Wyatt is an avid comic book reader, as well as a reader of novels. Her favorite genres are science fiction and fantasy, though she's usually willing to try other genres as well. Cat collects Funko Pop figures, Harry Potter books (different editions), and has more bookshelves than she's willing to admit.

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