Title: An Hour Unspent
Author: Roseanna M. White
Series: Shadows Over England, book 3
Major Themes: Faith, History, Mysteries, Romance, World War I
Synopsis: When Barclay is enlisted to help with the war effort, he never imagined how much personal sacrifice and effort it could take to protect and help those he loved.
Having read the other two books in the Shadows Over England series, I knew I couldn’t miss An Hour Unspent—even though the plot may have gotten fairly predictable by now. And I wasn’t disappointed, either! Even though it’s been only a year since I read the first one, it was a delight to get to reconnect with characters from the other two stories and find out what everyone was doing.
Sent to discover a secret mechanism for the British army that would give them an advantage over the Germans, Barclay Pearce has more to worry about than just one watchmaker’s feelings about whether he wants to help the war effort or not. Somehow, he must feed and clothe his ever-expanding family, and for some reason a strange man has been haunting an effluent neighborhood—yet no one in his vast assortment of connections seems to know why he would be there.
Can he keep his family safe through the war? Will he be able to get the Admiralty the thing they’ve asked for? And will he really be able to hold to the reforms he is determined to make in his life—namely, to stop being a thief once and for all?
While An Hour Unspent and the other two books in this series might not be strongly Christian, there are definitely Christian themes woven throughout them. That’s one thing I really appreciated. I also loved the fact that the historical aspects of the book weren’t overshadowed too much by the romance; yes, that was one of the main focuses of the stories, but I felt like I learned a good amount of history from these as well. For the genre, I felt like it was a very good balance.
One of my most favorite parts of this book—and something I’ve enjoyed about all of the books in this series—is how well World War I came to life here. It never felt like a major part of the story, even though it was—it was always just a fact. And though I’m sure the author spent hours and hours researching for the book, she did an excellent job weaving in the history in such a way that I “got” it without feeling like it was out of place or put in there because it was interesting in and of itself. I think what I’m trying to say is that though the history was there, it always supported the plot—instead of the plot working around it, like I’m all too prone to do in my stories. It was very well done.
Overall, if you’re looking for a sweet romance with some history and a delightful cast of characters, this series might be a great option for you!
I requested a free review copy of this book from NetGalley, and this is my honest opinion of it.
WARNING: One major thing I didn’t appreciate quite so much in this book was the fact that an unmarried man and woman traveled alone together a lot. I can understand why the author put it in there to further the story, but it didn’t set very well with me. As with the other books in the series, the word “blast” or a variant was used very frequently here—almost every chapter had at least one reference. The word “blighted” was used in chapters 3, 8, 11, 22, 24 (twice), 27 (twice), Chapter one has the phrase “how the devil”. The word “blazes” is used in chapter 26. Chapter two has a paragraph with some kissing in it. Chapter five mentions a man admiring a woman’s curves. The end of chapter 10 has a kiss, and the beginning of chapter 11 talks about what a guy thought about holding a woman he wasn’t married to. The first scene of chapter 11 is pretty kiss-heavy, and fairly detailed. Later on in the chapter, the girl is remembering the kiss and what she felt like during it. Chapter 13 mentions a woman who committed suicide, and perhaps a sentence about how (cutting)—no detail, to speak of. The incident is mentioned again briefly in chapter 14. The end of chapter 14 has a kiss. Two unmarried people go outside in the dark by themselves in chapter 17, and they witness the first night bombing in London, and the building they are next to gets hit—slightly intense. There is a mention of a man threatening to kill another man in chapter 22. Another kiss at the end of chapter 22. A man is distracted by the look of a woman’s cheek in chapter 27. A kiss in chapter 32 because “he couldn’t help himself”. A man is shot in chapter 32 as he’s trying to escape an enemy army, and there is a fight. The scene is continued in chapter 33, and several men are hurt or killed. A kiss in chapter 33, near the end, and feelings are mentioned again.
Reading Independently—Ages 15 and Above, Adults