Historical Fiction

Book Review » A Name Unknown by Roseanna M. White

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“He had never doubted God heard him. The rest of the world—they were the ones who couldn’t make out his intent through his stammering tongue. But what must it feel like to doubt the basic truth? That God heard. God answered. God could be trusted.”
—Peter Holstein, A Name Unknown

My Thoughts

A Name Unknown opens with England poised on the brink of World War I. Roseanna M. White aptly seizes upon the pre-war tension to set up her male protagonist, Peter Holstein. He is the target of anti-German sentiment and suspicion, creating an urgent need for Peter to locate documents which will prove his family’s loyalty to the crown. Unfortunately, the proof he needs is buried somewhere amid stacks of books and documents of his long neglected library. Furthermore, the woman he has employed to aid in the search is not exactly a librarian, but a thief.

White has long been an author I’ve desired to read, and this first book of her new Shadows Over England series left me with a remarkable first impression. Afterall, what book lover wouldn’t fawn over a story in which the main characters consist of an author and a librarian? Looking beyond the dream library, I was bowled over by White’s storytelling. The way Rosemary served unwittingly as Peter’s muse and how his manuscript mirrored their budding relationship made for a delightful story within a story. If I were to compare White’s style with that of her contemporaries, I’d say it’s reminiscent of Sarah Ladd or Elizabeth Camden. They all share a disposition for strong, often strong-willed, female protagonists and leading fellows who are the quintessential gentlemen.

At the outset, Rosemary’s intentions towards Peter were devious—motivated by greed and her brother’s outlandish challenge. However, in time the reclusive and often times scatterbrained author thwarts her resolve through his tender kindness and benevolence. Surprisingly, I found his speech impediment to be an asset rather than a detractor primarily due to the intimacy they forge through the passing of letters. All around, A Name Unknown is a story for fans of the Edwardian period, romantics, and literary enthusiasts.
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**I received this book free as a member of the Litfuse Blogger program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Synopsis

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 on 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 doorstep 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.

Roseanna 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 is the author of over a dozen historical novels and novellas, ranging from biblical fiction to American-set romances to her British series. Spies and war and mayhem always seem to make their way into her novels . . . to offset her real life, which is blessedly boring. She passes said boring life with her husband and kids in the beautiful mountains of eastern West Virginia.

 

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