Friday, September 8, 2017

Review: A Name Unknown by Roseanna M. White

As World War I is brewing in Europe, the mysterious Mr. V hires London thief, Rosemary Gresham, to prove the reclusive Peter Holstein is loyal to Germany, not England. Peter Holstein is eager to prove he's an English subject and loyal to England. The proof is buried somewhere in the family's disorganized and over-stuffed library, which every librarian or secretary he tries to hire refuses to tackle. Miss Gresham appears uninvited on his doorstep as a supposed answer to prayer. But is she? Or will she prove his enemies right instead?

As I read the first two chapters of this book, I initially thought there were just too many of Rosemary's "family members" to keep track of. The introduction to her adopted family of street urchins and thieves was overwhelming at first. However, the story quickly moved to Cornwall and the Holstein estate of Kensey Manor. Peter Holstein is a secret author, a confidant of the King and Prince of England, and friends with multiple authors across England. He prefers writing, due to a stutter and general social awkwardness. Rosemary has carefully practiced hiding behind a mask and fitting into society's upper levels so she can ploy her trade as a thief. But it's hard to hide her temper and her lack of education in her extended stay at Kensey Manor.

Despite the secrets they each hide, Rosemary and Peter form a friendship and growing attraction, mostly developed through the letters they begin to share each day. Rosemary becomes his advocate as vandalism and threats to Kensey Manor increase.  However, Mr. V brings a harsh reality-check when he arrives and reminds her of the job she was hired to do - threatening her and her adopted family with jail if she doesn't come through.

Will she turn in condemning information about Mr. Holstein? Will he still care for her if he knows she's a thief? How will she say goodbye to Mr. Holstein and her new friends in Cornwall? Does his God care about a street urchin and thief, and will He hear her prayers, too? 

I thoroughly enjoyed A Name Unknown by Roseanna M. White. I had never read any of her books before, but I'm eager to read the rest of the Shadows Over England series. This series will follow Rosemary's family as they are each called on to aid England through their unique skill set as thieves during World War I. It's a perfect blend of historical romance and intrigue.

April E.