A book unread? Well, yes, more than one book has left my home unread. There are too many worthy books in this world and I have high standards for what I read! However, An Hour Unspent by Roseanna White was not a book unread.
One of my greatest delights is to discover an author that I can trust to take me on a journey. Sometimes those journeys are fun or adventurous. Many are bittersweet and lovely. Often a journey is painful and heart-wrenching. Roseanna White has taken me on a delightful journey in her Shadows Over England series. The latest in this series is An Hour Unspent where we (finally!) learn Barclay’s story. My friends, I have been dying to hear his story since I read the first book.
Once London’s top thief, Barclay Pearce has turned his back on his life of crime and now uses his skills for a nation at war. But not until he rescues a clockmaker’s daughter from a mugging does he begin to wonder what his future might hold.
Evelina Manning has constantly fought for independence but she certainly never meant for it to inspire her fiancé to end the engagement and enlist in the army. When the intriguing man who saved her returns to the Manning residence to study clockwork repair with her father, she can’t help being interested. But she soon learns that nothing with Barclay Pearce is as simple as it seems.
As 1915 England plunges ever deeper into war, the work of an ingenious clockmaker may give England an unbeatable military edge—and Germany realizes it as well. Evelina’s father soon finds his whole family in danger—and it may just take a reformed thief to steal the time they need to escape it.
My Journey with Barclay:
When I finished the second book in the Shadows Over England series, my first thought was “I hope she tells Barclay’s story.” How could his story be left untold? We see glimpses of him moving in the background in these earlier books. He is always there looking after his siblings; making sure they are safe and well. You can almost sense his heart, his character. Someone who is faithful and loyal, who will do whatever it takes to care for his family, and someone who is searching and longing.
With An Hour Unspent we find ourselves with a Barclay who has turned away from a life of thievery. Well, illegal thievery. Now his skills and talents are being used for his country and to fight a war. Barclay’s change has been full and complete. Even when faced with an assignment, he seeks to handle it with integrity. This is a key point for me. An Hour Unspent is Christian Fiction. How an author uses a character’s story to share the gospel can be a quick turnoff. There is a delicate balance at times in showing how a character has been transformed. Barclay’s story was believable and trustworthy because of how White portrayed those moments of decision. How he would handle his assignment to steal if necessary? How would he handle when the past slammed into his future? How would he respond when rejected?
“Barclay Pearce. He’d always thought it his invisibility that made him successful. But she was right. It wasn’t the invisibility at all – it was that he knew who he was under it.”
You take Barclay and place him in England with the backdrop of a World War…well, how could you go wrong? Such a time of hardship, loss, and heartbreak. A time where the world as it was known would make a shift that would change the lives of so many. I have a love of books set during World War II but the Shadows over England series has drawn me quickly into the time period of World War I. An Hour Unspent not only gives you a glimpse of the progress of the war but you see also into the lives of those working in factories and service.
It takes a talented author to not only write one excellent book but to produce a series that never loses it momentum. Being the third book in a series, An Hour Unspent could have fizzled out. As a reader who was highly anticipating Barclay’s story, I began it cautiously. I was prepared to be disappointed. Needless to say, Barclay’s story did not disappoint!
“When it came down to it, all you ever had forever was what you carried inside. Memories. Faith. Love. “
Should you rush right over to your local Christian book story and grab a copy of An Hour Unspent? Yes, you should! But you need to grab the first two in the series if you haven’t read them. You need to let Barclay’s story build up in the background first. Trust me! You won’t regret it!
Roseanna M. White is a bestselling, Christy Award nominated author who has long claimed that words are the air she breathes. When not writing fiction, she’s homeschooling her two kids, editing, designing book covers, and pretending her house will clean itself. Roseanna is the author of a slew of historical novels that span several continents and thousands of years. Spies and war and mayhem always seem to find their way into her books…to offset her real life, which is blessedly ordinary. You can learn more about her and her stories at www.RoseannaMWhite.com.
Want to know more about Roseanna White? Read this Guest Post from Roseanna:
Last year, as I finished up the writing of An Hour Unspent, my great-grandmother passed away at the age of 103. As I sat at her funeral service and listened to the heartfelt memorial raised up to her by her kids and grandkids, I realized anew that this woman had been a matriarch in the truest sense of the word. She’d taught my family for generations how to love the Lord and each other, how to serve the Lord and each other, and how to trust the Lord and each other. Grandma Seward was, in so many ways, the one who instilled in me my idea of what family really is.
That idea—that it’s those knit together by love more than blood, and that faith is the strongest foundation—is what I built my unusual family of thieves upon in the Shadows Over England series. And strange as it is to liken my twenty-something reformed-thief hero to my 103-year-old-grandmother, Barclay Pearce is very much to his family what Maxine Seward was to mine.
The founder. The caregiver. The leader.
I knew as I began the series that I would write about Barclay in book three, and as I got to know him better throughout the series, I grew so excited to share his story! This is a man who led his family first into and then out of a life a crime, always for the right reasons—so he could provide for the children under his care. All he ever wanted to do was give them what he himself had lost. To show them love. To prove to them that they were worth any sacrifice.
It was truly a blessing for me to get to write the story in which Barclay found someone to come alongside him, to appreciate and learn to understand him. To finally share what started him down this path. I loved the idea that only a reformed thief could steal the time another family needed to overcome their own trials.
There are many historical items in the book that were such fun to explore—watchmaking of the era, the suffrage movement in England, technological advancements of the war—but at the heart, this isn’t a story about any of those.
It’s a story about how far people should go for love. I hope you enjoy Barclay’s story as much as I did!
To celebrate her tour, Roseanna is giving away a grand prize of a signed book, a London mug, and a 48-pack Twinings tea sampler!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter. https://promosimple.com/ps/d570/an-hour-unspent-celebration-tour-giveaway
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**Disclaimer – I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review with Celebrate Lit. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this post are my own. No compensation was made for this review.
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