A Name Unknown, by Roseanna M. White

book coverPublisher’s Overview:

She’s Out to Steal His Name. Will He Steal Her Heart Instead?

Rosemary Gresham has no family beyond the band of former urchins who helped her survive as a girl in the mean streets of London. Grown now, they are no longer pickpockets–instead they focus on high value items and have learned how to blend into upper-class society. Rosemary is beginning to question whether she can continue in this life when she’s offered the challenge of a lifetime–determine whether a certain wealthy gentleman is loyal to Britain or to Germany. After all how does one steal a family’s history, their very name?

As Europe moves ever closer to World War I, rumors swirl around Peter Holstein. Awkward and solitary, but with access to the king, many fear his influence. But Peter can’t help his German last name and wants to prove his loyalty to the Crown–so he can go back to anonymously writing a series of popular adventure novels. When Rosemary arrives on his doorstep pretending to be a well-credentialed historian, Peter believes she’s the right person to help him dig through his family’s past.

When danger and suspicion continue to mount, both realize they’re in a race against time to discover the truth–about Peter’s past and about the undeniable attraction kindling between them.

First Thoughts:

This is the first in a new series by Roseanna M. White. I presume, from the series title, that it will all be set in the lead up to World War One.

My Take:

It’s May 1914, and Rosemary is waiting to meet a contact regarding a job. In the next couple of pages, the reader is given plenty of information leading to questions such as: Who is Mr. V? How did Rosemary manage to steal a document from the British Museum of all places? What is her history anyway? During the course of the book, some answers will be revealed while others remain mysteries.

It’s difficult to have sympathy for a criminal. White does her best to make Rosemary and her ‘family’ likeable people. They justify what they do and claim to only steal from those who can “afford to lose a bit.” A gang of child thieves is reminiscent of the group from Oliver Twist, although their leader is a sharp contrast to the notorious Fagin. I didn’t think much of Rosemary’s skills either as it seemed she made a number of rookie mistakes, such as revealing contradictions in her backstory. I definitely couldn’t see how the required happy ending would arrive: She’d either be successful and ruin Peter, or she’d fail and probably sent to jail. The resolution is somewhat mind-boggling, and changes what I thought was the premise of the series.

So, what works in A Name Unknown to make it a worthwhile read? Take away the thievery aspect, and there’s a very good tale of suspense. I was fascinated by Peter’s story. Who were his father and grandfather? How did the family have a royal connection? Why is Peter now being targeted with a series of suspicious events? Is it due to anti-German sentiment or something else? Who’s behind the maliciousness? The story builds slowly but the tension, when I experienced it towards the end, was unexpected. Once I felt that, I knew there was no putting down this book until I’d read the very last page.

Thank you to Bethany House and Litfuse for my complimentary copy of A Name Unknown, which I received in exchange for my honest review.

This review is part of a Litfuse Publicity Book Tour

Have you read A Name Unknown? Do you plan to read it? Let me know your thoughts.

Excerpt

Author Q & A

Publisher: Bethany House (a division of Baker Publishing)

Publication Date: 04 July 2017

Page Count: 432

Read more on:   Roseanna M. White’s Website   Bethany House’s Website

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The Captivating Lady Charlotte, by Carolyn Miller

book coverPublisher’s Overview:

Her heart is her own–but her hand in marriage is another matter

Lady Charlotte Featherington is destined for great things on the marriage market. After all, as the beautiful daughter of a marquess, she should have her pick of the eligible nobility when she debuts. She, however, has love at the top of her list of marriageable attributes. And her romantic heart falls hard for one particularly dashing, attentive suitor. Sadly for Charlotte, her noble father intends her betrothed to be someone far more dull.

William Hartwell may be a duke, but he knows he was Charlotte’s father’s pick, not the young lady’s own choice. And the captivating Lady Charlotte does not strike him as a woman who will be wooed by his wealth or title. While she has captured his heart, he has no idea how to win hers in return–and the betrayal and scandal his first wife put him through makes it difficult for him to believe that love can ever be trusted. His only hope is that Charlotte’s sense of responsibility will win out over her romantic notions.

Can a widowed duke and a romantically inclined lady negotiate a future and discover love beyond duty? Will they be able to find healing and hope from the legacy of grace? Poignant and charming, this is another beautifully written, clean, and wholesome Regency romance from Carolyn Miller.

First Thoughts:

Having previously read The Elusive Miss Ellison, I’m guessing the Charlotte of the title is Lavinia’s cousin from that book.

My Take:

Having read The Elusive Miss Ellison just a few short months ago, it’s delightful to once again meet that book’s namesake on the opening page of Carolyn Miller’s newest Regency romance. The venue is St James’ Palace no less, and the occasion is Lavinia’s cousin’s court debut. And although this novel is centered on Charlotte and William, Lavinia and her husband appear frequently and have a major storyline.

Relationships are a major element in The Captivating Lady Charlotte. We see how Charlotte is treated by a mother who doesn’t believe in love but does believe in outside appearances. We note how William is reluctant to trust any woman after a disastrous first marriage. We observe how Lavinia’s mother despises her son’s wife because of past events. One of my favorite moments is when it becomes Charlotte and William versus the world, or at least against her mother! Early on, Charlotte comes across as a spoiled brat, acting in a manner more suitable of a child. I didn’t think she was good marriage material at all. Thankfully, time spent in Lavinia’s company makes her realize that she does need to grow up and, in particular, stop acting on her emotions. As for her brother’s present behavior, however, I would be concerned for any woman who becomes his wife. Hopefully, he’ll also mature in short order.

The Captivating Lady Charlotte is the second in the series Regency Brides: A Legacy of Grace. Each book in the series focuses on a particular romantic pairing, but the three leading ladies were all introduced in book one. It’s certainly worth reading The Elusive Miss Ellison to understand their backstory although, technically, I suppose each book could be read on its own as they are compartmentalized tales. After learning why Miss Ellison was so elusive and what made Lady Charlotte so captivating, I’m looking forward to learning the reason for Miss DeLancey’s dishonor this coming October.

Thank you to Kregel for my complimentary copy of The Captivating Lady Charlotte, which I received in exchange for my honest review.

Have you read The Captivating Lady Charlotte? Do you plan to read it? Let me know your thoughts.

Excerpt

Publisher: Kregel Publications

Publication Date: 27 June 2017

Page Count: 312

Read more on:   Carolyn Miller’s Website   Kregel’s Website

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A Stranger at Fellsworth, by Sarah E. Ladd

book coverPublisher’s Overview:

Could losing everything be the best thing to happen to Annabelle Thorley?

In the fallout of her deceased father’s financial ruin, Annabelle’s prospects are looking bleak. Her fiancé has called off their betrothal, and now she remains at the mercy of her controlling and often cruel brother. Annabelle soon faces the fact that her only hope for a better life is to do the unthinkable and run away to Fellsworth, where her estranged uncle serves as the school’s superintendent. Upon arrival, Annabelle learns that she must shed her life of high society and work for her wages for the first time in her life.

Owen Locke is unswerving in his commitments. As a widower and father, he is fiercely protective of his only daughter. As an industrious gamekeeper, he is intent on keeping poachers at bay even though his ambition has always been to purchase land he can call his own. When a chance encounter introduces him to Annabelle Thorley, his steady life is shaken. For the first time since his wife’s death, Owen begins to consider a second chance at love.

As Owen and Annabelle grow closer, ominous forces threaten the peace they thought they’d found. Poachers, mysterious strangers, and murderers converge at Fellsworth, forcing Annabelle and Owen to a test of fortitude and bravery to stop the shadow of the past from ruining their hopes for the future.

First Thoughts:

This is the third in the Treasures of Surrey series. But why does the character’s background sound familiar?

My Take:

I feel that, lately, I’ve come across a couple of books where the female lead character has been abandoned after by her fiancé after her family has lost its fortune. Before starting A Stranger at Fellsworth I was certain I’d read about Annabelle before in one of Sarah Ladd’s novels. A quick search revealed that it was similar to what happened to minor character Penelope Gilchrist in The Curiosity Keeper, book one of Ladd’s current series. In this third novel, we also get a glimpse of a more desperate existence when Annabelle discovers a former family friend in similar financial difficulties.

Determined to avoid an unenviable fate, Annabelle schemes with a stranger to get away from London to start a new life at her uncle’s school. Her maid accompanies her, but she soon learns she will need to do without the girl who is given a new position. Annabelle must now fend for herself, which she seems to do very easily. But throughout the pages, it’s apparent that she feels inadequate to her assignment. How can she teach the practical skills her students need when she doesn’t herself possess them?

Much of the novel portrays Annabelle’s adjustment to her new role and her budding relationship with Owen. But you know something is building, especially when all the main characters come together in one place. The great thing was not knowing or expecting how Annabelle’s situation would ultimately be resolved. While there is a happy ending for our lovebirds, however, I did wonder what would happen to the book’s ‘bad guys.’

A Stranger at Fellsworth concludes Sarah Ladd’s second trilogy. While the series is called Treasures of Surrey, the only connection between the three books is Fellsworth School. As a result, the Superintendent of the school, Annabelle’s uncle, is the only common character. Each book in this enjoyable series, therefore, can be enjoyed without having to read the other two.

Thank you to Thomas Nelson and BookLook Bloggers for my complimentary copy of A Stranger at Fellsworth, which I received in exchange for my honest review.

Have you read A Stranger at Fellsworth? Do you plan to read it? Let me know your thoughts.

Excerpt

Publisher: Thomas Nelson (a division of HarperCollins Christian)

Publication Date: 16 May 2017

Page Count: 336

Read more on:   Sarah Ladd’s Website   Thomas Nelson’s Website

Purchase on:   Amazon   Barnes & Noble   Books-a-million   Christianbook.com