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 coeity. 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.
Set in 1914 with the world on the brink of war, A Name Unknown follows recluse, Peter Holstein, and thief for hire, Rosemary Gresham. Peter is a quiet man who simply wants to continue writing his adventure stories in peace. I found it highly amusing how Peter would get so caught up in his characters and the story he was writing that he would blank out in the middle of conversation as a new idea would come to mind - particularly because it was something I could easily relate to! Rosemary is definitely the more exuberant personality, full of grit and determination and finds herself caught between loyalty to her family, employer, and a newfound friendship with Peter. Their differing personalities caused many moments of frustration between the two, but also provided for some entertaining interactions to read that were full of wit and teasing humour!
The World War(s) have provided many a backdrop to historical novels. I recently just read another novel, High as the Heavens, that was also set during the tumultuous times of World War I. Yet even with the high number of novels set in and around WWI, Roseanna White was able to shed light on another angle to British war efforts during WWI that I had never even heard of before. I won't say exactly what angle it is (you have to read the book to find out!), but after finishing the story, be sure to read the "Note from the Author" located at the back of the book for further fascinating historical background on this particular effort.
A Name Unknown is a wonderfully story whereby the author has expertly woven in some favourite genres - history, romance, intrigue - into a tale of faith, redemption, and courage. It is first in a new series (yay!) "Shadows over England", and I will be eagerly awaiting the next novel!
Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.