Title: On Wings of Devotion
Author: Roseanna M. White
Series: The Codebreakers, book 2
Major Themes: Code, Cyphers, England, Mystery, Spy Novels, World War I
Synopsis: After all the men in his squadron spiraled into the channel in flames, Camden took the brunt of the blame—but will he ever truly be free of the guilt and grief he’s carried with him ever since?
After thoroughly enjoying Margot’s story in The Number of Love, I couldn’t wait for the next book to come out—On Wings of Devotion. I saw it pop up, over and over, on the suggested list of books on Amazon (it’s not fair that they know me so well!), and each time I’d hop over to NetGalley to see if it was available there yet. And finally, finally, weeks after I first started looking, it was there. And I couldn’t wait to dive in!
What a story! Out of all of White’s books, I think this one made me laugh the most. We meet Camden in this story, a surly young man with a broken past and guilt weighing him down like a ball and chain. He can’t understand why he was spared when his men weren’t, and feels like he should have crashed into the channel along with them. He didn’t, however, and his life just gets more complicated when his sister reveals that she’s pregnant, yet unmarried. Will this split the family apart?
Arabelle Denler hasn’t had a particularly easy life, either. After years with an absentee father, she’s had to learn to fend for herself to some extent—so she became a nurse at the beginning of the war. That work is going well now, but she still longs to have her father stay close and not go off on his wild adventures all the time. How can she convey to him the fear she’s had all her life that he will leave—and disappear, never to come back again—and her need to have him stay safe? Will she ever know true stability? She knows the Lord is with her, yes, but after her mother’s and aunt’s deaths, she has no relations to cling to. Will her work and the Lord be enough?
As someone who has been interested in medical work since I was quite young, I loved that a nurse featured prominently in On Wings of Devotion. The work was so demanding—yet so fulfilling, too. I also appreciated the fact that code-cracking came up in here again. It had to, due to the series, and though I was disappointed that there wasn’t as much of it here as there was in the previous book, I did enjoy the little snapshots of that side-interest of mine.
One of my favorite elements of this book, and probably the one that struck the deepest chord with me, was the whole “learning to turn things over to Christ” lesson. It didn’t come through in so many words—at least, not most of the time—but it was definitely there, and of the five books I’ve read by White now, I think the gospel message was the clearest in here. Turning from self-hatred and extreme guilt to letting Jesus’ love and grace pour over the situation is so necessary, even if you’re only looking at the emotional level. And it was so beautifully shown in here—the faith triumphing over grief, the brokenness being replaced by His wholeness.
In all, On Wings of Devotion was a great continuation to the series. Though some elements were slightly different than the other books, it was still a solid story. And there were some wonderfully funny parts, too, several of which I read aloud for the enjoyment of the family! Recommended if you enjoy mysteries, or World War I fiction, or a sweet romance with a lot more on the side than just the romance.
I requested a free review copy of this book from NetGalley, and this is my honest opinion of it.
WARNING: There were quite a few words I didn’t appreciate, and they occurred repeatedly throughout the book—too many to count for here. “Blasted”, “blighted”, “blamed”, etc. and variants are most commonly used, often more than one per chapter. Swearing (just the word “swear” or “swore”) is mentioned in ch. 2, 3, 4, 5, 16, 19 (twice), 27, 28, and 31. Cursing (just the word “curse”) is mentioned in ch. 4, 8 (twice), 10, 12, 13, 16 (twice), 20, 21 (twice), 26 (twice), 30, and 31. I noticed the word “gracious” used in ch. 1 and 9, and “dratted” is used in ch. 3 and 14. Words used when calling people devils or variants occur in ch. 4, 9, 11, 15, 18, 19, 20, and 30. “Heavens” or a variant is used in ch. 8 and 24. There is lying in ch. 7, 17, 20, 24, 30, and 32.
Injuries due to the war (mostly with soldiers, but some civilians) are mentioned frequently. The worst are ch. 9, 14 (aftermath of a bombing raid), 15, 19, and 31. A man remembers fighting in ch. 2, 8, 14 (also, this chapter includes a pretty bad flash-back to the war). There is fighting or shooting in ch. 6, 20, and 31. People’s lives are threatened, or they are killed, in ch. 8 and 15. People see or hear of a bomb exploding in ch. 13, 15, and 16, and they also help with rescuing people after a bombing. People are attempting an assassination in ch. 30 and 31, and a man dies in ch. 31.
A girl is pregnant out of wedlock in ch. 2 and 5. Throughout the book, there is some talk about a woman who worked in dance halls, wanted to retire with a man as his mistress, and lots of hints at her immorality. Specific instances mentioning or hinting at it are in ch. 3, 7, 10, 12, 17, and 20. Flirting, or trying to be suggestive with clothing or movements, happens in ch. 12, 19, and 20. Otherwise, immorality is mentioned in ch. 9, 10, 12, 14, 17, 18, 19, 20 (fairly explicit), 26, 28, 29, and 30. Drinking is also mentioned in ch. 10 and 14. There is mention of a man who committed suicide in ch. 26 and 30.
There is touching between unmarried people in ch. 3, 6, 8-12, 14 (somewhat sensual), 15, 17, 19, 20, 21 (pretty descriptive), 24, 26, 28, and 32. Kissing happens in ch. 3, 10, 12, 14, 15, 17, 18, 21 (pretty descriptive), 24, 25, 26, and 32.
Reading Independently—Ages 15 and Above, Adults