*I decided to have a Shadows Over England week here at Purely by Faith Reviews, which means that I’m reviewing the first two books in the series by Roseanna M. White.*
Edwardian Romance and History Gains a Twist of Suspense
Rosemary Gresham has no family beyond the band of former urchins that helped her survive as a girl in the mean streets of London. Grown now, they concentrate on stealing high-value items and have learned how to blend into upper-class society. But when Rosemary must determine whether a certain wealthy gentleman is loyal to Britain or to Germany, she is in for the challenge of a lifetime. How does one steal a family’s history, their very name?
Peter Holstein, given his family’s German blood, writes his popular series of adventure novels under a pen name. With European politics boiling and his own neighbors suspicious of him, Peter debates whether it might be best to change his name for good. When Rosemary shows up at his door pretending to be a historian and offering to help him trace his family history, his question might be answered.
But as the two work together and Rosemary sees his gracious reaction to his neighbors’ scornful attacks, she wonders if her assignment is going down the wrong path. Is it too late to help him prove that he’s more than his name?
Title: A Name Unknown
Series (if applicable): Shadows Over England
Author: Roseanna M. White
Publisher: Bethany House
Genre(s): Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Fiction, Christian, Romance, Edwardian Romance, Christian Fiction
Recommended Age: 14+, for some romance (see below).
*I TRIED MY HARDEST TO KEEP SPOILERS OUT OF THIS REVIEW, BUT I HAVE A FEELING SOME SNUCK IN. READ AT YOUR OWN RISK 😉
I’ve heard so much about this series, and I was excited to get it from the library. A female character who was a thief? A male character, an author, who’d rather read and write instead of being around people? Sign me up!
I also own the second book in the series, so I figured: why not read the first book in this series first? I’m really glad I did, because it was my first time reading a book by Roseanna and this is probably one of my most favorite books of all time… which says quite a bit. I need to buy this book! 🙂
I was drawn into the story almost right away. It was so different from the other stories I’ve read in set in the 1900s. Don’t get me wrong. I loved most of the ones I read, but this one was just unique to me. I really didn’t expect the twists and turns the story took and was just so wonderfully written.
Rosemary was somewhat likeable, and I did enjoy reading her POVs in the book. I think it’s really neat that she and other street rats banded together. Sort of like a Robin Hood and it gave them a better chance of survival, in my opinion. It really made me sad when most of the rich people portrayed were mean and cruel to the young orphans living on the streets. I can totally see where Rosemary was coming from, thinking God wouldn’t listen to her since he blessed others and she was left poor with the people she considered family. I’m so glad how everything turned out for her at the end. Her repentance scene was so amazing, and you just don’t see that enough in Christian books.
Peter was someone I related to quite a bit. In the story, he had trouble talking to people. Like, he stuttered. Mostly around people he didn’t know well, but it was just really realistic. That kind of annoyed me at first, when he stuttered, then I was okay with it. Peter was the type of person that would rather be around books and his typewriter instead of real people. That’s just totally me, and I really connected with him easily. I really loved how he showed his faith in God and tried to show Rosemary the Lord’s love after he discovered how her thoughts on the Lord favoring the rich, leading her to become a Christian towards the end. My only disappointment is that a Brannock Hollow novel does not exist. Please, please write one Roseanna! 😀
The action at the end was really exciting, and I just found it really sad that people will use your blood against you. Like, just because you have some German in you doesn’t mean you were loyal to Germany. I totally did not expect things to happen in this book, like I said earlier.
The romance content was pretty clean. There was pretty much nothing related to that until towards the end of the book, which makes this a worthwhile read. There were a few kisses between Rosemary and Peter, a bit descriptive but not horrible. Even though there is a bit of romance, this would be a 1900s story I’d recommend to anyone who is fond of stories set in that era. Totally pick this wonderful read up, and don’t forget A Song Unheard (the second book in the series) afterwards!
Content Warnings: Obviously romance, some violence, scary moments.
This review was written in my own words and opinions.