Friday Reads: A Name Unknown by Roseanna M. White

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Hello, friends! Thanks for coming over for another Friday Reads! I have a treat of a book for you today!

The Book:
The Back Cover:

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?

My Thoughts:

The first Roseanna M. White book I’ve read, I found myself in for a real treat! 🙂 The author immersed me in the time period immediately with just enough, but not too much, detail ~ I really enjoyed the amount of WWI history – and an “everyday” type of history – that peppered each page. From the way Roseanna described the scenes and characters, I was able to “see” them in my mind, as if a film played – lovely! – which made it hard to set the book aside when reading time was over for the day! 🙂 Though the novel takes place in the 1910s – same as Downton Abbey – the feel of the book is a little more gritty and less escapist… For one, our heroine/villainess is a “street rat” turned thief-for-hire, rather than a lady of noble birth.

Which brings me to an intriguing twist the author chanced – and which, for me at least, as a reader, worked. Rosemary Gresham is not only the heroine; she is also the villainess. Her goal throughout is to take down our hero, Peter, proving him a traitor (whether he is or not)… but not everything works out as planned. 🙂 Actually, Rosemary’s dedication to working against Peter throughout much of the book made it a little difficult to connect with her as a reader at first. (*spoiler!*) However, as her spiritual sensibilities waken, Rosemary becomes a much more sympathetic character, and by the end, I was rooting for her just as much as for Peter. 🙂

For in Peter, Roseanna White has crafted one of the best Christian fiction heroes I have ever met… To put it succinctly, he reminds me of Daniel Deronda ~ who, of course, we all know, is one of the best heroes ever to live within the pages of a book. 🙂  {If you don’t know this, you should grab a copy of Daniel Deronda and devote the next couple of days to finding this out! Haha! 🙂 } I think that what stood out to me most about Peter – though his virtues were many – was the deep integrity that filled his thoughts, actions, and motives. While he was by no means perfect, Peter’s sincerity and dedication to living out Biblical truth was unusual, yet entirely believable, and his discipleship strongly touches the hearts and lives of those around him.

I loved the way that the romance is somewhat restrained throughout much of the novel. This felt very life-like, given the characters and time-period. I also really appreciated the way that the spiritual journeys of the Peter and Rosemary provided the backbone of the novel… This is getting rarer and rarer, and so what a joy to see!

You may want to know that, while Peter doesn’t make a verbal commitment to Rosemary until she has become a Christian (which scene I loved – beautifully written and expressing the heart of the Gospel so well!), he does clearly express romantic feelings toward her and acts on those feelings by kissing her before that time, which I felt a little iffy about (and which actually seemed to be a rare out-of-character moment for him as a committed Christian man). 

On another note, fellow writers are going to love the little story within-the-story that happens, as Peter is writing a novel somewhat inspired by his experiences with Rosemary. His writerly quirks and habits amused me and felt so life-like ~ lots of fun! 🙂

I’m really looking forward to reading the next book in this series, and I recommend A Name Unknown to older teen and adult readers who like historical fiction with suspense and romance.

I received this book from Bethany House Publishers. All thoughts expressed in this review are my own.

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4 Comments, RSS

  1. Patty August 20, 2017 @ 1:03 am

    I have some credit on my Barnes & Noble account, I think I might buy this!

  2. Annie Kate August 25, 2017 @ 12:51 pm

    Beautiful review of a beautiful book. I loved it too and reviewed it too and couldn’t resist clicking on your entry in Booknificent. Thank you.

  3. Tina at Mommynificent August 30, 2017 @ 3:08 am

    I’ve been hearing such good things about this book! I really want to bump it up on my TBR list! Thanks for sharing this at Booknificent Thursday on!

    • alicia grace August 30, 2017 @ 8:16 pm

      It’s a good one, Tina ~ worth letting it “cut in line” :-). Thanks for hosting!

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