Book Review: A Name Unknown, Book 1 of Shadows Over England by Roseanna M. White

"Peter . . . tried not to be so impressed by a too-thin woman with a manner as inviting as a steel trap." (108)

Title:  A Name Unknown
Series: Shadows Over England, Book 1
Author: Roseanna White
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers
Release Date:  July 7, 2017
Genre: Inspirational Historical Fiction

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.

"Peter . . . tried not to be so impressed by a too-thin woman with a manner as inviting as a steel trap." (108) And how could one not be impressed? Not only with our main heroine, Rosemary, but the novel, A Name Unknown by Roseanna M. White as a whole. This is the first of the Shadows Over England series, and I just can't wait for the rest! Be still my heart is right. A Name Unknown has everything a booknerd like myself want in a story. 

"Rosemary Gresham may have been a thief. . .." (7)

Yes, even first lines that makes you go "hmmm." Who would've thought our heroine is a thief? The intrigue continues. Rosemary is resourceful, but it's Peter that captured my heart. 

"You're a blighted genius with brilliant ideas that people can't help but find intriguing and a gracious heart that presents them in a way that make you endearing rather than off-putting. You are a picture-perfect friend. "(185)

And his friend I want to be. Once you meet him in A Name Unknown, trust me when I say you want to be his friend too. Why? Because of his complete goodness. It radiates out of him, and not just to those around him in the story, but right off the pages and straight into our hearts. The characters are just splendid and I look forward to meeting them again in the next novels. 

Then there's a matter of this:
". . .the room behind it (the door) bore a name he loved above most others - library. (28) The chamber stretched the whole width of the house. Shelves lined the walls, floor to towering ceiling. Lined with books, all of them. Then with books tacked in front of them. Books stacked on the floor. Books stacked on the chairs, the tables, lining the windowsills. Boxes of them. . ."(42)

How could we just not fall in love with this book. I'm sure the gorgeous cover gave it a way a bit, but the words in this book utterly took my breath away and had me glued to it until the very end. Speaking of the cover, the books yes, but it was the model's expression that was simply perfect in catching a reader's eye. You'll want to read this book from the cover itself, but it's the story that confirms that you haven't made a mistake. A Name Unknown, hit all the right marks, including the beautiful message of self discovery, not based on gender, past, occupation or whatever, but just your heart. It was not preachy at all. It's a dose of revelation, as well as a nudge of guidance that  we all need from time to time.

"God will hear. He does not always answer in the way we want, but He always hears - and not just me. He hears anyone who comes to Him in humility. Anyone who is willing to let go the idea that they can fix it all on their own and instead submit to His will. That is when people see Him work. That is when miracles can happen. That is when lives are forever changed by His touch." (155)

In all, A Name Unknown has it all. It's perfect with a little mystery going on, great characters to fall in love with, a romance that is so unlikely that it's so worth it, humor (check out that scene when Rosemary put Mrs. Gladstone "in her place"), and a message that shines beyond. Be still my heart it is.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the author/publisher. I was not required to write a positive review, and have not been compensated for this. This is my honest opinion.

For my review policy, please see my Disclosure page.



CHECK OUT MY INTERVIEW WITH ROSEANNA WITH MORE INFO ON A NAME UNKNOWN. (Click on the image below to take you there.)

BOOKS IN SHADOWS OVER ENGLAND (Click to take you to Goodreads)


Roseanna M. White pens her novels beneath her Betsy Ross flag, with her Jane Austen action figure watching over her. When not writing fiction, she’s homeschooling her two children, editing and designing, and pretending her house will clean itself. Roseanna is the author of over a dozen historical novels and novellas, ranging from biblical fiction to American-set romances to her British series. Spies and war and mayhem always seem to make their way into her novels…to offset her real life, which is blessedly boring. She passes said boring life with her husband and kids in the beautiful mountains of eastern West Virginia. You can learn more about her and her stories at

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  1. Such a fabulous book!!!! And a wonderful review :). I'm still trying to gather my thoughts in a coherent review. This book is THAT good! And Peter is a fantastic (in the most refreshing way) hero!

    1. I know!! COURTNEY!! TOTALLY. Peter.. honestly, REALLY.. I'm incoherent right now when I think how different he is from the typical heroes I love, but Peter. O, Peter is just as awesome!! And you know what? I think he GETS us booknerds! Don't you think?!


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