Just as promised in last week's post, I am reviewing another book today! It's that gorgeous book with the library on the cover...and trust me, the inside is just as good as the outside of the book.
Allow me to present A Name Unknown by Roseanna M. White!
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?
/ / /
This book is a winner, friends. Even by looking at the cover, I had the feeling this book was going to be good (because duh, any book with books on the cover HAS to be good).
But the cover was just the beginning...
/ / Lovely Things / /
Do you even want to get into the infinite reasons why I love this book?
- Rosemary. First off, you know a book is good when you have to devote separate categories for each character. I haven't done this in a while, BUT THESE CHARACTERS ARE SO WONDERFUL THAT I HAVE TO.
Rosemary is a complex character with intricate motivations. She's a thief, and she's been charged with the job of a lifetime: to steal someone's very name. She heads out to Peter's estate with the intent of proving him a traitor to Germany. Of course, Interesting Things happen when she has to put on the facade of being a librarian in order to work there. *winks*
Rosie's just one of those characters you have to love. Sure, she has her rough edges--boy, does she--but that's what makes her so real. She's spunky, witty, opinionated, often blunt. But also soft-hearted, compassionate, and loyal. As one character so perfectly puts it, "Delicate when it suits you. Strong always." (TRUTH)
Not to mention she's just hilarious all around and lands a pretty solid punch. ;)
- Peter. *cue the flailing* If ever there was a character I would marry...it's Peter Holstein. NOT EVEN KIDDING.
(Now if only he were a little younger. *grumbles because he's thirty* XD)
Peter is so. darn. nice. Don't get me wrong, I looooooove me some snarky antiheroes...but there's a part of my heart that will forever adore the sweet, gentlemanly type. And Peter perfectly fits that role. He has a stutter (which, frankly, is really endearing); he has a MASSIVE, SWOONWORTHY LIBRARY; and he writes. HE WRITES. *cue more flailing*
He's considered by most to be a recluse, and the popular opinion is that he's a German sympathizer. (Ughh. Really, people? Just because of his name?) Due to the imminent threat of war, he realizes that his heritage could cause quite a few problems for him if he doesn't find a way to prove his loyalty to Britain. Not only that, but if anyone finds out he's the famous adventure novelist, it may tarnish his reputation as a writer. Allllll the complex motivations, folks. *rubs hands together*
Over the course of the book, my heart just is completely lost to Peter. What with his teasing banter with his friends Gryff and Rosemary, his sweet interactions with sweet Elowyn, his caring concern for...well, everyone, and his wonderful faith in God, he's just THE BEST.
Of course, he has his flaws--namely never paying attention to people when he's writing (#relatable) and getting a little irritable at times. Haha! But he really is one of my new favorite characters. HE'S JUST A PRECIOUS LITTLE HUMAN BEAN AND I LOVES HIM.
- The people. Yes, I know I just talked about two people very in-depth. But this deserves being mentioned separately. The people that populate this novel are so alive. Roseanna White certainly does an incredible job with breathing life into this novel. Rosemary's family. The villagers. The household staff. The royal family. They're all so real and marvelously done!
- THE BOOKS. YES, PRECIOUS. ALL THE BOOKS. I about died of happiness with the library stuff, all the writers mentioned, and the bookish discussions. It was bookdragon heaven.
- The plot. *points up to blurb* Need I say more?
- The themes. This is really important to me as a reader, to have books that stick with me after I read them. WELL. A Name Unknown certainly does just that. Rosemary's journey to faith is incredibly poignant, and it brought me to tears at a couple points. This is probably one of the best-handled faith arcs I've read. Ever.
- The rich detail. The author obviously did her research! I loved all the British dialogue (er, most of it), the beautiful descriptions, the entire feel of this book. It legitimately FELT like I was in early-20th century Britain. ME LOVES IT.
- The writing style. Yeah, while we're at it, let's just mention that Roseanna's writing style is perfect. Because it is, people. It is. She somehow manages to write a story that doesn't get you lost in the details yet still paints gorgeous pictures. I will admit, I'm a wee bit jealous of Roseanna's mastery of showing vs. telling. This is a book I will undoubtedly reread just to get a glimpse of perfectly engaging writing.
- The romance. OH MY GOODNESS. These two = the most darling couple. I know, I know...I say this quite a lot. ;) But I love Peter and Rosemary together so much! They complement each other perfectly, offsetting each other's qualities and helping each other see/correct their weaknesses. Not only that, but their romance is NOT based off externals.Something which I always find extraordinarily refreshing. They don't have an insta-love story either. They start off a little rockily, but slowly become friends over the months they know each other.
(The short version: they are precious.)
/ / Not So Lovely Things / /
- You thought you were actually going to see something in this section? WELL, THINK AGAIN.
- (Okay, I lied. :P) Some of the British terminology got a little old, and I felt that the plot wound down a bit too quickly. BUT that honestly didn't detract much at all from my enjoyment of the book! Just a few personal preferences.
/ / /
CONTENT: Lots of British "cursing." (Blazes, blighted, blasted, dratted, etc.) I don't personally consider it swearing, but it might bother some people. Characters share one semi-detailed kiss and three or four undetailed ones near the end. There are two kisses on the cheek, one kiss on the hand. Also brief mentions of mistresses a couple times, though nothing is gotten into. I would probably recommend it those 14 or 15+, mostly just because of the depth of writing/little bit of romance.
I think it's safe to say that I love this book. AND I CAN'T WAIT FOR THE SEQUEL. *glitter explosion* This author has made an impression on me, and it's a good one.
I received a free copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.