Saturday, August 12, 2017

Sherlock Holmes Meets Robin Hood: A Name Unknown, by Roseanna M. White

 Genre: Historical Fiction

Rating: Five out of five hearts ❤❤❤❤❤ 

Series: Book one in the Shadows over England series


Rosemary Gresham lives the only way she knows how- by being a professional pickpocket and thief. She's one of the best at this profession, and needs the money she gains from it to help support the only family she's had for years- her "little" family of fellow street thieves. However, the next job her mysterious employer has for her is one of the hardest yet- she must infiltrate the house of a prominent Englishman and discover if his loyalties lie with his country or with his German roots. 
 Everyone in World-War-I-approaching England seems convinced that Peter Holstein is a staunch German, despite his English citizenship. When he hires who he thinks is a (somewhat prickly) lady librarian to organize his library and help him discover documents that would prove his citizenship, he doesn't imagine that he may be harboring the enemy in his very home- and neither could predict the attraction that slowly grows between them. 

My Review

This story starts off in the dark nighttime streets of Sherlock-esque London and and sets off at full steam ahead from there.  A Name Unknown has a different vibe than Roseanna M. White's last series from Bethany House publishers (the Ladies of the Manor series), but that is only a credit to her awesome writing skills, as the series focus is, I think, mainly on professional thieves. So you wanted it to feel different. I loved the Sherlock Holmes-meets-Robin-Hood tone especially, the family of thieves who "steal from the rich to give to the poor" reminding me (happily not in an in-your-face, but instead a rather charming way) of a combination of the famous outlaws of Sherwood forest and the Baker Street Regulars from Sherlock Holmes' old London. This idea of the book is phenomenal, and I absolutely love it- former street orphans who aren't related by blood, but become family (a real loving, teasing, I'd-do-anything-for-you kind of relationship) banding together. They're thieves, yes, but first and foremost, people, with likes and dislikes, hobbies and talents. 
 And Peter and Rosemary are as endearing as any of Mrs. White's previous main characters. They might be my favorite yet, in fact. They fit together perfectly- her with her bold and impulsive, tough and slightly crusty personality, and he with his quiet wit and honesty, steady love,  and true faith in God. As individuals their stories were interesting, but together they were even better, and I think they may be my #1 favorite fictional book couple of the month. 
  Questions rise as you race your way to the sweet, fulfilling and exciting ending- exciting in the fact that the street family's adventures are not over, they've only just begun. The last bits give off the sweet, heart-tugging exciting ending you'd imagine from the end of a TV series pilot episode or at the season 1 finale- you leave touched and smiling, yet invigorated, eager to find out what these beloved characters will do next. And apparently the next book in the series will be about Willa, Rosemary's adopted sister, and is set to release  in January of 2018. 

Note: I got this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Check out the great cover  and book description for Willa's story, A Song Unheard. 

Willa Forsythe is both a violin prodigy and top-notch thief, which makes her the perfect choice for a crucial task at the outset of World War I--to steal a cypher from a famous violinist currently in Wales. 

Lukas De Wilde has enjoyed the life of fame he's won--until now, when being recognized nearly gets him killed. Everyone wants the key to his father's work as a cryptologist. And Lukas fears that his mother and sister, who have vanished in the wake of the German invasion of Belgium, will pay the price. The only light he finds is meeting the intriguing Willa Forsythe.

But danger presses in from every side, and Willa knows what Lukas doesn't--that she must betray him and find that cypher, or her own family will pay the price as surely as his has.

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