Rating: 3.5/4ish stars
Every book in this trilogy is delightful - unique and engaging and suspenseful. This family of thieves-turned-government agents (of a sort) is pure gold. I just can't get over what a fantastic idea it was to create a series around a family of orphans, bound together by choice, who suddenly find their lives changed! And then you add World War I. England. Refugees. Government spies. Did I already say it was delightful? (I ended up getting all three signed from Roseanna’s website, and now they’re sitting on my shelf and it makes me smile.)
Things I liked:
BARCLAY. Of course. Everyone wanted his story, right?! I was intrigued when I found out that An Hour Unspent would unravel his lovely character for us. And I loved him! He's like the perfect older brother. He was so well-rounded. And his heart for others...adorable. Seriously. The way he takes care of his entire family and then wants to reach out to others as well is what made him such a cool fictional hero. But he was realistic, too, not without flaws and doubt, but with a bravery that is so admirable! The whole family just GETS ME in the heart. ;)
THE SETTING. I mean, everything. It’s fantastic. I haven’t read many books set in the first World War, but Roseanna ties history into her novels without it becoming dry and stodgy (now that I used that word I’m thinking about The Great British Baking Show. Not joking.) The setting and time period came alive - they’re so vivid! The stories have pieces of actual history interwoven and that just makes me enjoy them all the more. They feel real and intricately done.
SUSPENSE. Um, yes, please! I ADORE the fact that Roseanna writes these stories with heart and romance and faith but then adds a big dash of suspense - and not just romantic tension. The spies and the street thugs and the government agencies… It adds such great depth to the novel.
Things I didn’t like as much:
THE ROMANCE. So before I start, I want to say that I definitely liked the romance throughout this series. Barclay and Evelina's relationship progressed in a pretty realistic way. The depth was present. And the start to their unlikely duo? *laughs* So unexpected! I was just sitting there grinning and had to reread it. Just… *laughs again* Delightful. However, what I didn’t enjoy was the drama. I KNOW, I KNOW. Every romance has to have drama. But for some reason I was getting a bit frustrated with the drama in here? Mostly concerning Evelina. I loved the way Barclay thought about their relationship though. “I play for keeps.” HOW ADORABLE. That scene. <33 But yeah, back to my point… I totally, totally understood where Evelina was coming from, and yet I was slightly like “Get over yourself, girl!” (This is partially because she was so brutal to Barclay in that one scene… O.O) It might have even been my frame of mind whilst reading, but sometimes the drama made me like: -_- It also slightly irks me when characters kiss before they have any real attachment… Of course, I adored some of the quirky loveliness in this, but part of me felt frustrated that they - well, Evelina, really - was partially just spending time with Barclay for fun. Which she consciously decided to do. I hate to complain! I don’t want to sound like I didn’t enjoy it, but it just...it bothered me. A bit. And it was basically just Evelina. Barclay’s take on things was fabulous. *ahem* And basically all three of the novels in this series had the guys taking the relationships very seriously and the girls not so much. It just felt more pronounced in this.
UM, I can’t really think of anything else?! Except that the writing style tends to feel a bit “tell-y” at times. I think it’s just the way the authoress writes, and it doesn’t bother me too much, but I thought it worth mentioning. It’s just not quite the style I usually really enjoy!
Overall, I liked this! I didn’t love it - A Song Unheard holds the favorite spot in my heart - so I was slightly disappointed after loving the second one so much. But there were many pluses to this series! I’m SO looking forward to reading The Number of Love when it comes out next year! I was stoked when I found out it tied into Shadows Over England.
I received a free review copy from Netgalley in exchange for my honest opinion. The views expressed above are my own.