Historical Fiction Book Review: A Name Unknown

Publisher's Description

"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?"

My Review

A Name Unknown, by Roseanna M. White, is the first novel in the Shadows over England series. In perfect proportions, Ms. White combines elements of history, mystery, intrigue, faith, and romance that effortlessly meld together to create a uniquely satisfying story that is both enjoyable and thought-provoking. 

With skill and insight reminiscent of Charles Dickens, Ms. White draws characters that are incredibly sympathetic in their frailties and failures. As WWI looms on the horizon, the characters grapple with who they are and who they are meant to be in a society that is on the verge of epic transformation. What they discover about themselves and each other is unexpected and poignant. 

In addition to relatable and complex characters, Ms. White skillfully includes themes that further elevate the novel and enhance the reading experience. The plight of the poor and the decisions and actions that arise from poverty are central themes in this novel, enriching the story and giving the reader plenty of ideas to ponder. Prejudice and judgments made from ignorance and inexperience are also themes that add depth and motivation to events and characters throughout the book.

A Name Unknown is a well-paced, well-researched novel that quickly draws the reader into the story and easily holds the reader’s attention page after page. It is a book well-suited to readers of historical fiction who also enjoy a well-crafted mystery and appreciate a dash of romance as well. Ms. White has certainly created a compelling novel that is well worth the reader’s time and attention. 

It is quite easy for me to recommend this book wholeheartedly, and I eagerly await the release of the next book in this series.

Click here to purchase a copy of this book for yourself.


*I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher. All opinions in this review, whether positive or negative, are entirely my own.


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