If you love a good page-turning fiction but don’t always love the content in many secular books, I have the perfect series for you. That series is the Shadows Over England series by Roseanna M. White, and as much as I loved the first book, A Name Unknown, I loved book #2, A Song Unheard, even more. This is my honest review.
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My story of finding one of my new favorite authors starts the way any good book obsession begins — with a single recommendation from a friend.
Last September, as my family was preparing for a four-day mini-vacation, I spent a good deal of time thinking about one particular aspect of my packing list (one might argue the most important part): my book selection. I had gotten all the work I needed to do done before we left, so I was planning to do a LOT of reading on this trip. And not just any kind of reading. Fun reading. And this time was too precious to waste, so I wanted to make just the right selections for the trip.
Weeks earlier, I had seen one of my blogging friends write a review of a new Christian fiction book from an author I had never heard of before. She wrote such a glowing review, I thought it was worth a try. So I ordered the book and got it in time for our trip.
And I read it in three days. I read it every single second I could, and it still wasn’t enough. I was literally sad when I finished it and there was no more book to read.
The book was A Name Unknown (Shadows Over England #1), and the unfamiliar author was Roseanna M. White. I enjoyed the book so much, I quickly visited our local library after our return to see what they had in their collection. They had her Ladies of the Manor series, and I read the first two books in that series over the next couple months. I was hooked.
I felt like I hit the jackpot when, in November, I landed a chance to be on the book launch team for the second book in the Shadows Over England series. A free copy of a book from one of my new favorite authors? Let me think … yes, please!
The second book is called A Song Unheard, and though my expectations were high after the previous book, it did not disappoint. It was engaging and well-written, with complex character developments and an uplifting message. And it was pure and wholesome to boot.
But before I gush any further, let me tell you more about it …
SUMMARY OF A Song Unheard
From the back cover:
“Willa Forsythe is both a violin prodigy and top-notch thief, which makes her the perfect choice for a critical task at the outset of World War I–to secure a crucial cypher key 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 distraction he finds from his worry is in meeting the intriguing and talented Willa Forsythe.
But danger presses in from every side, and Willa knows what Lukas doesn’t–that she must betray him and find that key, or her own family will pay the price his surely has.”
I have read a lot of books in my 30 years of living. A LOT of books. Many of those books have been Christian fiction. Many have been secular fiction. I read both, and I enjoy both.
I do try to avoid books that have an abundance of swearing or that have graphic sex. I try to be careful about what I feed my mind on a regular basis. But I’m not going to pretend that all of my book choices are completely innocent. I definitely have read my fair share of PG-13 books. And many of them have been excellent books that I loved.
Sometimes, though, it’s nice to read a book that doesn’t have any of that. That’s full of Biblical messages and absent of any kind of vulgarity. A book that isn’t going to give me unpleasant surprises halfway through the book.
Sadly, though, a lot of Christian fiction is … well … not that great. I hate to say it, but it’s true. I’ve read many that, while adequately enjoyable, were a bit lame or lacked that special writing flair that I look for in a really great book.
I say all that because, friends, I found the sweet spot! I found one of those rare authors who has both the skill and the Christian values that I long to find. And I am excited to share her with those of you who may be looking for that yourself.
I was pleasantly surprised by the first Roseanna book I read – A Name Unknown – and my hunch that I found a new favorite was solidified after reading her Ladies of the Manor series. By the time I got to A Song Unheard, I had some pretty high expectations.
And this one did not disappoint. While A Name Unknown was a bit slower-paced through a lot of the book (in a way that many first books in a series are), book #2 engages readers with a quick pace from the get-go. This story left me searching for stolen moments to read and caused a few late bedtimes and groggy mornings.
The plot had just the right amount of twists and turns without being confusing, and the storyline was creative and unique. I can’t say that I know much about Belgium during WWI, so I enjoyed the introduction to that portion of history. And the math nerd in me totally loved all the cryptology stuff. I now want to read more about both of those things.
One of my favorite things about Roseanna’s books, though, is how beautifully written they are. She is someone who obviously puts a lot of time and effort into crafting her words, and the result is nothing short of a piece of art. Her writing flows so naturally that you can actually forget that you’re reading, which draws you into the story even more.
WOULD I RECOMMEND IT?
If you love a good page-turner, but you’d also like to avoid the language and racy content of secular fiction, then it thrills me to introduce you to Roseanna M. White. I’m confident you will enjoy the flawed-but-lovable characters, the on-the-edge-of-your-seat plots, and the artfully-crafted writing in her books. She is a true gem in the world of Christian fiction.
Thank you, Roseanna and Bethany Publishing House, for the opportunity to be on this book launch team and for the free copy of the book. I loved it!
About the Author:
Roseanna M. White is a bestselling, Christy Award-nominated author who has long claimed that words are the air she breathes. When not writing fiction, she’s homeschooling her two kids, editing, designing book covers, and pretending her house will clean itself. Roseanna is the author of a slew of historical novels that span several continents and thousands of years. Spies and war and mayhem always seem to find their way into her books…to offset her real life, which is blessedly ordinary.
Being educated at St. John’s College (the Great Books School) taught Roseanna to ask questions, to value conversation, and to never accept the simple answer without exploring it for herself. She and her family make their home in the mountains of West Virginia where she and her husband both grew up. Roseanna is a member of ACFW, a frequent speaker at writers events and small groups of readers, and an unabashed email addict.
Other Recent Reviews:
- Do You Want to Raise Heroes? A Review of Brave Moms, Brave Kids
- Are You Letting Lies Hold You Back? A Review of Girl, Wash Your Face
- 3 Books All Moms of Boys Should Read
- My Top 10 Favorite Books of 2017