Liquid Silver Books, $4.25, ISBN 978-1-59578-946-4
Historical Romance, 2012
It should be pretty obvious that Angela Plowman’s The Highwayman is a gay historical romance inspired by the poem by Alfred Noyes. Instead of Bess, who is still present here as a waitress, the focus is on the teenage lad Ben, who helps his father in their inn the King’s Head. He meets the highwayman in question, Richard, only of course he doesn’t know what Richard really is when they first meet.
Ben is repeatedly mentioned to be this wide-eyed simpering innocent virgin, so much so that when he pretty much gives up his virginity to Richard the moment they meet, poor Ben comes off a bit like some mentally slow kid manipulated by dastardly fiends into sexual situations. I feel like calling the cops, because there is something… illegal-feeling to the sex scenes here. Anyway, Richard’s past catches up with them quickly, but until then, it’s all about as many awful sex phrases as Ms Plowman can cram into her story.
Ben is a complete blank slate. He has no discernible personality apart from the repeated mentions of his virginity and innocence, both of which didn’t last long as that twit is easily relieved of both without much ado the moment he spots the horny highwayman. There is no big grand romance here, just a twit putting out non-stop to an older man when he’s not blinking at his surroundings like a dazed calf. It’s all sex – bad mechanical sex with awkward and cringe-inducing phraseology at that, most of which revolves around the most tired clichéd adjectives Ms Plowman can peg to the word “cock”.
Meanwhile, we also have evil mean male villains who naturally want to rape Ben because Ben is pretty much a damsel with distress in this story. Really, The Highwayman is more of a bad attempt at mimicking yaoi. Only, with the author writing this story like it’s some kind of crude fanfiction written by some teenage girl who did her research on sodomy and everything nice based on other crude fanfiction by fellow teenage girls, this one has no chance of being anything better than unintentionally laughable drivel.
Next time, keep this kind of embarrassing twaddle in the drawer and give me some real story instead.