Review of “A Name Unknown” (Shadows Over England #1) by Roseanna M. White

White, Roseanna. A Name Unknown. Minneapolis: Bethany House, 2017. ISBN-13: 978-0-7642-1926-9. Print List Price: $15.99.

4 stars

Picking up this book made me so happy, for a few different reasons. For one, I loved her previous series, and this one definitely showed that she was going in a different direction in terms of the types of characters she was writing, while still keeping the elements I fell in love with, that being the seamless blend of romance and mystery. And for more superficial reasons, which I expect I will go into in a post sometime in the future, I was delighted to see a book that surpassed 400 pages, when it's rare to see books that make it to the 300 page mark, particularly in the romance genre, without padding with annoying and deceiving excerpts. But I digress.

One of the best features of this book is the main characters. While the leads of her Ladies of the Manor series could be somewhat hit-or-miss, both Rosemary and Peter are likable, but still flawed, characters. Rosemary's upbringing has caused her to be the token character who struggles with her faith, a common feature of many inspirational romances, but I don't begrudge White for using this trope, as she fleshes Rosemary out with traits that make her strong, like her love for her rag-tag family, and the way she is able to stand up for herself and for others when she sees a wrong being done. Peter is also a wonderful character who I gravitated toward instantly, because I love shy, awkward bookworm/secret-author heroes.

The story also has a colorful supporting cast, who I anticipate that I will love to see in the next installment, particularly Willa, Barclay, and the rest. I hope they all get their chances at happiness. And all the insights into what the Royal Family was like at the time provided a way of situating the story within the time period.

But while I enjoyed this book, at points I did find the plot a bit uninteresting, especially towards the end when the mystery is being wrapped up. I don't think it detracts from the benefits of the length of the book, however, as it may be because I was just not that interested in all the political goings-on that led up to World War I. But if that is something you enjoy, then you will enjoy those aspects more than I did.

 

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