A Book Unread (And a Giveaway!)

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.

An Hour UnspentOne 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.

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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 2018Roseanna 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!

Giveaway

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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

Blog Stops

The Avid Reader, October 30

The Power of Words, October 30

Back Porch Reads, October 30

Kat’s Corner Books, October 30

Janice’s Book Reviews, October 30

Where Faith and Books Meet, October 31

Reading Is My SuperPower, October 31

Faithfully Bookish, October 31

Genesis 5020, October 31

Fiction Aficionado, November 1

Among the Reads, November 1

The Lit Addict, November 1

Just the Write Escape, November 1

Multifarious, November 2

Godly Book Reviews, November 2

Real World Bible Study, November 2

Madeline Clark, November 2

Reflections From My Bookshelves, November 3

Christian Bookaholic, November 3

Inspirationally Ever After, November 3

Bookworm Mama, November 3

Bigreadersite, November 3

Blogging With Carol , November 4

D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, November 4

Life with the Tribe, November 4

The Becca Files, November 4

Kathleen Denly, November 5

Cordially Barbara, November 5

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, November 5

Simple Harvest Reads, November 5 (Guest Post from Mindy Houng)

God’s Little Bookworm, November 6

All-of-a-kind Mom, November 6

Faery Tales Are Real, November 6

Christian Chick’s Thoughts, November 6

Carpe Diem, November 6

Margaret Kazmierczak, November 7

Locks, Hooks and Books, November 7

Christian Author, J.E.Grace, November 7

Blossoms and Blessings , November 7

Maureen’s Musings , November 8

Connie’s History Classroom , November 8

Book by Book, November 8

Just Commonly, November 8

cherylbbookblog, November 9

The Christian Fiction Girl, November 9

Have A Wonderful Day , November 9

With a Joyful Noise, November 9

KarenSueHadley , November 10

Tell Tale Book Reviews, November 10

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, November 10

Baker kella, November 10

Bibliophile Reviews, November 10

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, November 11

Inklings and Notions , November 11

Two Points of Interest, November 11

Inspiration Clothesline, November 11

A Baker’s Perspective, November 11

Henry Happens, November 12

Texas Book-aholic, November 12

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, November 12

 

**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.

**This post may contain affiliate links. The affiliate links in this post in no way change your online browsing or shopping experience. I earn a small percentage on any purchases made without any cost to you.

What I Read – February 2018

At first glance, I felt that my February reading was a bit disappointing. Once I really looked back over my list, I realized that I had read really great books!

This list is my personal reads as well as chapter read alouds to my children. Hopefully I can add in picture books for February later.

The Diary of Young Girl – Anne Frank – Surprisingly I do not recall having read this during high school. For the Redeemed Reader 2018 Reading Challenge, I needed to read a few biographies. Since two of my daughters had chosen to read about Anne Frank, I decided to join them. I must confess that I did not really enjoy this selection. World War II fiction is one of my favorite ares of reading. I began this prepared to love it. I’m not sure why it did not resonate with me. Perhaps, when I realized that I was not enjoying it, I should have set it aside for a later read.

However, I reminded myself as I read it that this diary of Anne’s was representative of all of those who were unable to leave anything behind or we never found a trace of them again. So many who are gone; lost forever to us. So many children and families taken during this horrid time. My two daughters did enjoy The Diary of a Young Girl. They can’t all be a good fit, right? (My daughters who read it were 14 and 17. There is a portion in the diary where Anne discusses changes in her body and some thoughts leading from that. This portion may make this selection not suitable for some families. )

Macbeth and The Tempest – William Shakespeare were also completed during February. I read these with my children during our Gathering each day. For the first time in my life, I am truly enjoying Shakespeare. Reading it aloud with everyone taking parts is great fun. Macbeth was a bit heavy but following it up with The Tempest was perfect. I thoroughly enjoyed The Tempest . It is definitely my favorite Shakespeare play so far!

On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness – Andrew Peterson  This is book one of the Wingfeather Saga. My older children read this series years ago and I never made it a priority to do the same. I finally decided that I wanted to read them. The best way to make sure I finish a book in a timely manner is to make it a read aloud. My children are great motivators for “one more chapter”!

The original plan was to read this to my younger ones. My husband just happened to hear me read a chapter and we switched to it being our evening family read aloud. The Dark Sea of Darkness really makes an excellent book across the ages. It is adventurous, witty, humorous, and has most excellent footnotes throughout the book. I’d love to go and visit Oskar’s book shop!  I highly recommend this book. I am so glad that I decided to share it with my children! Book Two, North! or be Eaten, is on its way.

The Grave’s a Fine and Perfect Place – A Flavia de Luce novel – Alan Bradley This is the latest release in the Flavia de Luce series. I knew it was set to be released so I was diligently stalking my library to see when it was on order. As soon as I saw it, I put it on hold. I am always a bit fearful of series; especially when you get several books into the series. There is always that possibility that the author carries the characters for too long. But oh, sweet Flavia, I have loved each and every one in this series. The Grave’s a Fine and Perfect Place did not disappoint! At all!

I enjoy a mystery now and then but the mystery aspect of Flavia is not the draw for me. The characters, especially Flavia and Dogger, and how they personally and their relationships have grown and changed in this series is the real hook for me. Bradley has done amazingly well at capturing young Flavia’s personality. So witty, humorous, and heart wrenching at times. Love it! Mr. Bradley, please, please, tell me there is more Flavia de Luce in the future!

Before We Were Yours – Lisa Wingate. I can’t recall where I first saw this book mentioned. When I saw my library had it, I immediately put it on hold. I was like number 368 in line. Then when it finally arrived at my local branch, I couldn’t get there in time to get it! After four days, it went to the next person in line. I put it back on hold. And yes, I was again like 300 and something. It took me months to get this book in hand. It was so worth the wait!

This story, while fiction, is based on real life events. It tells the story of the Memphis Tennessee Children’s Home run by Geogia Tann and the devastation and heart break that she brought on so many families. Children were literally stolen from their families and sold to families of wealth and high society. Tann ran this “orphanage” from the 1920s to 1950s. So many children were lost to their parents forever.

Before We Were Yours tells the fictitious story of a group of five siblings and how they were ripped apart after being taken from their home. In the orphanage, children were starved, abused, and neglected; many of them died. This was a deeply moving and powerful story. It made me smile and it definitely made me cry. So thankful for those who were able to be reunited with their families; heartbroken for those who were lost forever. I highly recommend this one.

I’d love to hear about what you read in February and definitely what you are reading now! You can check out my GoodReads to see what I am currently reading.

 

 

**Disclaimer – This post contains affiliate links. If you click on one of my links and make a purchase, I receive a small percentage. Your shopping experience is no way changed by using affiliate links. Thank you!

 

What I Read – January 2018

Looking back over the month of January, despite how it felt, I think I have a respectable list of books read! I’m going to share my personal reading and then in a separate post share our read alouds and picture books.

Children’s Fiction/Young Adult

The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street (Karina Yan Glaser) This was a delightful read! It truly was. If you enjoy books such as The Saturdays, The Moffats, Treasure Seekers, or The Penderwicks, you will likely feel right at home with The Vanderbeekers. A fun, loving, lively family that receives heartbreaking news. They are faced with having to move out of their beloved brownstone in New York! But the Vanderbeekers kids are determined to stay in the home that is full of so many memories.

A couple of my children finished this before me and they kept encouraging me to make time to finish it. I’m glad that I did. A really fun read was just what I needed at the beginning of January. It would make a great read aloud! Keep an eye out! There is a second Vanderbeeker book that may be out in late September, 2018!

The Boy on the Porch (Sharon Creech) This one made its way into my January stack based solely on the author. A young boy with a simple, vague note is left on a porch. A couple steps outside in the morning and discover a sleeping boy. They soon find that while the boy does not speak, he has a unique way of expressing himself especially through art. While the couple seek to find the boy’s family, their hearts long for him to stay. Then the boy’s father arrives and their lives are never the same.

Unfortunately, I found The Boy on the Porch awkward? The story never seemed settled in a place or time (and perhaps it wasn’t suppose to) and I struggled with knowing what audience this story was for. It clearly speaks of foster care and the beauty in that but is it for adults? Or older children? Maybe I should have put it down and saved it for a different time.

The Fault in Our Stars (John Green) With all honesty, I began this book totally prepared to dislike it. It made it to my January stacked based solely on a friend’s reading of the book. Hazel is dying. There is no way around the hard truth that she has terminal cancer and eventually the miracle drug that is keeping her alive will at some point fail. It appears that Hazel is waiting for that moment. Then she meets Augustus Waters, falls in love, and finds purpose in living what is left of her life.

Confession: Despite my bias going into The Fault of Our Stars, I found that I did enjoy  the story of Hazel and Augustus. There were aspects that met my expectations for this book such as crude conversation and physical relationships. Those added nothing to the story but I suppose it is expected in young adult fiction? However, it was ultimately two young people facing death with no hope of anything beyond that final moment. That, for me, was the most heartbreaking. We are all dying. But do we realize that the story doesn’t end there? None of my teens have read this book. My fourteen year old daughter would be moved by this story but due to some of the content, she will not be reading it.

Adult Fiction

A Name Unknown and A Song Unheard (Roseanna M White) These are the first two books in the Shadows of England series. Christian, historical fiction that takes place during World War I; perfect!. There are times when I need the literature equivalent to a “chick flick”. That was initially the reason I had A Name Unknown. My desire was for a light, easy read before bed. However, these books were not fluff. Mrs. White has successfully taken us back into time to meet a wide cast of characters. I enjoyed A Name Unknown; I enjoyed A Song Unheard even more. I am eagerly awaiting An Hour Unspent (hopefully released this year).

The Lake House (Kate Morton) Last year I read Secret Keeper and wasn’t sure that The Lake House could match it. I was so wrong!  A young boy goes missing and is never found. A mystery over the years…seemingly forgotten. Then a detective stumbles upon an abandoned house and the missing young boy is once again sought after.

After a couple of chapters I was completely hooked on this story and could not wait to finish it. Having to deal with the interruptions of life was quite bothersome! It was such a bittersweet story. I love how Morton flows from the past to the present and seamlessly shifting from various characters. I highly recommend if you enjoy family dynamics and suspense.

The Bookshop on the Corner (Jenny Colgan) Nina, a librarian who loves to match people and books, finds herself unemployed as the library shifts to a more technological focus and audience. This spurs shy, quiet Nina to make drastic changes in her life. She buys a truck and sets up a mobile bookshop in Scotland. Nina embraces the small, Scottish community and discovers who she really is.

I had high hopes for The Bookshop but was a bit disappointed. I was not particularly fond of Nina and that makes it challenging when you don’t care for the main character. When the last section of the book seemed to be highlighting her physical relationship with someone, I resorted to skimming the pages to get to the end.

Maisie Dobbs (Jaqueline Winspear) – My daughter actually selected this book for me to read. I need a few mysteries to check off our our reading challenge this year so I had my daughter pull one from the library shelf that looked interesting. She actually chose a Maisie Dobbs’ book that is later in the series. So we requested the first one and I’m glad that we did. In this first book, we meet Maisie Dobbs, learn about her past, and discover why she is a successful investigator. I’m sure you could read various books in the series without this knowledge but I think the enjoyment would be a bit out of balance.

I found this a great read and perfect for my evening reading. It was interesting and engaging with a nice bit of history to it. (I do love historical literature!) It takes place after World War I and that war directly affects some of the characters and plays a major role in the story line. There were no language concerns or inappropriate behavior so I will be passing this along to my daughter (14) who enjoys a good mystery. If you need a mystery or two, give Maisie a try.

What did you read in January? What is in you current reading pile? Check in with my Instagram or Facebook page to see what I am reading throughout the week.

**Disclosure – This post does use affiliate links. This means that if you follow a link from my page and make a purchase, I earn a very small percentage. This is no way affects your shopping experience. Thanks for stopping by!