Novel Review: A Name Unknown by Roseanna M. White

NameUnknown_mck.inddA Name Unknown (Shadows Over England)

Author: Roseanna M. White

Publisher: Bethany House Publishers

Released: July 4, 2017

She’s out to steal his name.
Will he steal her heart instead?

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 are no longer pickpockets—now they focus on high value items and have learned how to blend into upper-class society. Rosemary’s challenge of a lifetime comes when she’s assigned to determine whether a certain wealthy gentleman is loyal to Britain or to Germany. How does one steal a family’s history, their very name?

Rumors swirl around Peter Holstein. Awkward and solitary, but with access to the king, many fear his influence. But Peter can’t help his German last name and wants to prove his loyalty to the crown—so he can go back to anonymously writing a series of popular adventure novels. When Rosemary arrives on his doorstop pretending to be a well- credentialed historian, Peter believes she’s the right person to help him dig through his family’s past.

Anger and danger continue to mount, though, and both realize they’re in a race against time to discover the truth—about Peter’s past and about the undeniable attraction kindling between them.

AMAZON GOODREADS BARNES & NOBLE


REVIEW

A Name Unknown is a book after my own heart for so many reasons. A writer hero; a librarian heroine; an English setting; a cover with books on the front; a wartime background; and two leading characters who are beautifully broken and redeemed by Christ’s love and each other. I could not have asked for a more perfect book, and once again Roseanna White has proven why her stories remain among my favorites.

White’s books are ones I read regardless of whether or not I know what the story will be about, but as I was familiar with the blurb for this story, I was called foremost to it because of its complexity. Each of the three previous stories I’ve read by this author were complex–one of the many reasons I enjoy her books so much–but A Name Unknown upped the ante in how White tied mystery, history, intrigue, romance, and faith into one plot so well. Every piece of backstory, every nuance described in the moment, every thought the characters had to themselves came together to show redemption, solve a mystery, and help the characters grow. I prefer novels that are longer and in-depth, so for A Name Unknown  to be a lengthier story for these reasons pleased me to no end.

My favorite aspect of A Name Unknown is the soft blending of history and romance. I’m an Anglophile, so I was thrilled to come across actual people and historical instances of British history in this book–especially in one scene where the Prince of Wales and hero Peter have a humorous moment with the heroine. I loved being immersed in the fiction world while experiencing through Peter and Rosemary what it must have been like to be in the throes of pre-World War One Britain. As for the romance, I’d yet to read a novel with such a slow burn of attraction and relationship-building until I read A Name Unknown. This romance was beautifully written, and oh how that build up in the scene where the characters experienced their first kiss. That was a perfect example of how a chaste relationship can still be full of attraction and how just a subtle nod to the physical can be satisfactory on the page or screen.

RATING: 4.5 stars


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Roseanna WhiteRoseanna M. White pens her novels beneath her Betsy Ross flag, with her Jane Austen action figure watching over her. When not writing fiction, she’s homeschooling her two children, editing and designing, and pretending her house will clean itself. Roseanna’s fiction ranges from biblical fiction to American-set romances to her new British series. She lives with her family in West Virginia. Learn more at at her website.

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Novel Review: The Lost Heiress by Roseanna M. White

The Lost HeiressThe Lost Heiress by Roseanna M. White (Bethany House, September 2015)

Brook Eden has never known where she truly belongs. Though raised in the palace of Monaco, she’s British by birth and was brought to the Grimaldis under suspicious circumstances as a babe. When Brook’s friend Justin uncovers the fact that Brook is likely a missing heiress from Yorkshire, Brook leaves the sun of the Mediterranean to travel to the moors of the North Sea to the estate of her supposed family.

The mystery of her mother’s death haunts her, and though her father is quick to accept her, the rest of the family and the servants of Whitby Park are not. Only when Brook’s life is threatened do they draw close—but their loyalty may come too late to save Brook from the same threat that led to tragedy for her mother.

As heir to a dukedom, Justin is no stranger to balancing responsibilities. When the matters of his estate force him far from Brook, the distance between them reveals that what began as friendship has grown into something much more. But how can their very different loyalties and responsibilities ever come together?

And then, for a second time, the heiress of Whitby Park is stolen away because of the very rare treasure in her possession—and this time only the servants of Whitby can save her.


REVIEW:

There is a reason Bethany House Publishers has such a positive reputation within the CBA: every year popular authors continue to write superior novels for Bethany House, and every year this house finds new authors whose writing style and voice, and storylines and characters, find their ways into readers’ hearts. It seems almost impossible that Bethany House could continue getting better and better. After all, how does one progress when having already won the highest accolades in the business? But 2015 seems to be Bethany House’s year, with new authors penning stories that readers are clambering to read.

Roseanna M. White is one such author that Bethany House scored big with in 2015. In the two weeks since her newest novel, The Lost Heiress, released from this historical fiction publishing power house, the book has garnered numerous five-star ratings from reviewers and readers alike. As of my completion of this novel, The Lost Heiress can add another high rating to its plethora of stars. I knew this novel would be good—one only has to type in the author’s name to find plenty of praises for Roseanna’s writing—but I did not now how powerful, how beautiful, and how masterful Roseanna’s writing would be. I found her style, voice, and storytelling so magnificent that I would not be surprised to find The Lost Heiress a contender for next year’s ACFW Carol Awards.

The Lost Heiress is a perfect fit for Bethany House for numerous reasons: it’s historical fiction; romance is a primary element in the storyline; and the writing style is distinctly recognizable for readers. From the first page to the last of this novel, the elements of The Lost Heiress belong to Roseanna, lending an air that she not only knows the story, but also the craft of writing. This story is complex—not one to finish quickly, but one to savor as Roseanna blends history, romance, mystery, faith, character development, suspense, and intrigue into every page. Just a few of these elements together would have been enough to make a compelling story; all of them blended seemly make for a book that is both literally and physically hard to stop reading. Not one scene goes by that does not grip the reader deeper and deeper into this story.

Roseanna created two of the most compelling characters I have read in Christian fiction with Brook Eden and Justin Wildon in The Lost Heiress. Completely divergent in their personalities yet unquestionably perfect for each other, Brook and Justin are just as gripping as a couple as they are as individual characters. Their personal stories captivated me as I sped through each scene to learn more about their motivations, desires, and pain. And yet, I eagerly awaited the scenes where Justin and Brook were together because rarely have I found a fictional couple that so belonged together. The romance in The Lost Heiress is one of the best I have come across—tender, passionate, pure, filled with tension and disagreements and love built over time.

Filling in the gaps that help bring those personal stories and romance to life in The Lost Heiress are secondary characters so endearing that I longed to read their stories many pages before this first book in the Ladies of the Manor series ended. Roseanna has also created a world so vivid with historical details that The Lost Heiress easily could compete with popular television show Downton Abbey for entertainment that captivates audiences. The Lost Heiress storyline holds so many elements that it is impossible to classify this book within one genre; a complex storyline that forces readers to fully engage and absorb every aspect of the book. It is a novel that is superior in its author’s writing and one every writer should aspire to emulate.

Rating: 5+ stars


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Roseanna WhiteRoseanna is the author of two biblical novels, A Stray Drop of Blood and Jewel of Persia, the historical romance, Love Finds You in Annapolis, Maryland, and the historical, romantic suspense Culper Ring Series (Ring of Secrets, Whispers from the Shadows, and Circle of Spies). She is also the senior reviewer at the Christian Review of Books, which she and her husband founded, the senior editor at WhiteFire Publishing, and a member of ACFW, HisWriters, and Colonial Christian Fiction Writers.

Her latest novel, The Lost Heiress, was published in September 2015 by Bethany House Publishers. Two other books in the Ladies of the Manor series will be published in 2016: The Reluctant Duchess (April) and The Waiting Lady (working title, fall).

Connect with Roseanna on Twitter, Facebook, and her blog.