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?
First, can we talk just a second about this cover? I am not usually one to gush over book covers, but I can’t stop looking at this one. It fits the story so well and it’s different than the typical cover. I love the focus on Rosemary and the viewpoint from which the photo is taken as well as the colors and that dress! It catches my eye, my attention, and my curiosity. It’s amazing!
Okay, now that I’ve gotten my cover gushing out of the way, let’s move on to the the story behind the cover. The first book I read by Roseanna M. White was Giver of Wonders and I knew then that I’d be picking up more of her books in the future. Once again, Ms. White has written a story that captured me. A Name Unknown is only the second of her books that I’ve read, but it has cemented her position on my list of “Must Read” authors.
There is so much to love about this book (besides the cover, of course) and yet, I didn’t even realize just how much I loved it all until the end.
At the beginning of the book, as I was being let in on Rosemary’s inner thoughts about what “gentleman” Peter Holstein must be like, I couldn’t help but rub my hands together in anticipation of those moments coming where Peter would prove her wrong. Though I knew times were coming during which her assumptions about Peter would prove to be untrue, those situations did not always unfold the way I thought they would. Nor did I foresee just how much there was to Rosemary and how much she would help Peter.
While Peter almost immediately owned a place in my heart as I read, my affection for Rosemary took a little longer in coming. I thought she was interesting, but her high level of prickliness made it a little harder for me to like her to at the beginning. By the time I finished the book though, I was surprised to realize that I could look back on her character even as she was at the beginning of the book with a great deal of affection. She grew on me slowly and unexpectedly and caught me a bit unaware of just how much she had done so at the end. Kind of like her relationship with Peter. Their romance was so subtly grown throughout the book. It’s hard to explain how it was done, but I loved it. It’s probably one of the best books I’ve seen where two strangers meet and their relationship so quietly and realistically segues from strangers to acquaintances to friendship to best friend quality friendship and then on to love. There were not lots of moments of blazing “chemistry” so to speak, but rather a quiet, steady growth and change from dislike to a selfless, sacrificial love that abides and endures. Don’t get me wrong, there was chemistry between the two and there was passion (in a clean, Christian romance sort of way) as they came together later in the book; however that aspect of the relationship wasn’t the focus. It was a simply a bonus to the steadfast love that had slowly built from a small flicker to a great, beautiful, long lasting flame unlikely to be put out.
I loved that their relationship was not built on something physical or even overly emotional that might change from one moment to the next, but rather something steady, something enduring. I loved that you could see their assumptions about situations and people began to change as they listened and learned from one another. And I loved that right there—that they learned from one another and were changed for the better by each other.
There was so much more to this book that I loved even beyond Peter and Rosemary and the development of their relationship. The friendship and love between Peter and Gryff made for a wonderful addition to the story. I loved their banter, their teasing, and their obviously deep affection for each other. Gryff’s family, Peter’s staff, the townspeople, Rosemary’s “family” all made for a rich dynamic in the book and completed the tapestry of the book. I felt the tension and concern surrounding these characters and their struggles as the world prepared to enter war. I loved hearing their hearts as they changed and grew and as they saw truths from God. I saw so many things played out in the story—reminders of what it means to live a life that truly reflects Christ, of where our true identity should come from as Christians, of what it means to love your enemy, to show Christ’s love in the midst of hate, chaos, and the beginnings of war, and what it means to do what God has called you to do no matter what those around you think.
I obviously LOVED the book (I might have said love/loved a few times above), but as mentioned before, I didn’t even know how much I loved it until I reached the end and began to reflect on it all. I must admit that there was a point in the book toward the end where I got a little squirmy, wondering how she was going to wrap everything up satisfactorily when there seemed to be too few pages left to do so. I am NOT a cliffhanger person and I was worried I’d be left hanging. I needn’t have worried. The ending was perfect and left me with a huge smile as well as great anticipation for the next books!
Y’all, I think we’re in for a great ride with this series and I’m looking forward to more! Can’t wait to see where it all goes.
**I received a copy of this book from the publisher and have chosen to review it. My opinions are my own.