About the Book
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 ThoughtsIn one word, An Hour Unspent by Roseanna M. White is exquisite. I don’t know when the theme of a series and its characters have more completely captured my heart. These stories – A Name Unknown, A Song Unheard, and An Hour Unspent – are so very well written, rich with interesting historical detail, and filled with memorable characters who tug at the heartstrings. Reading the entire series in order will provide the most fulfilling reading experience, but An Hour Unspent stands alone and should be read, no matter what.
White’s stories feature women who are strong, and the clockmaker’s daughter, Evelina Manning, continues that trend. It took me a while to warm up to her, but that certainly happened as some of her insecurities and family background came to light… “The Manning house…it hadn’t been alive, not really, in fifteen years. It had just kept ticking along, because that was what gears did when set in motion.”
The heart of this story, and one of its strengths, is Barclay Pearce – founder, caregiver, leader. Barclay, who we’ve followed as a background character through the two previous books. Barclay, once a thief, now a moral leader working to assist the government as war deepens. Barclay, father to the most precious group of orphans, who emulate what real family means. Barclay, longing to find his brother who “had vanished into London’s orphanage system as surely as their mother had into its prisons.” And Barclay, a relatively new-to-the-faith Christian who struggles with the same questions that seasoned believers face as he asks, “When one’s government told one to slip back into one’s old habits…was it wrong? Or justified?” I have been hoping for and eagerly anticipating his story, and it is so much more than I could have imagined.
The element of faith is the sustaining thread that flows gently and effectively throughout. As Roseanna said in her guest post below, this is “a story about how far people should go for love.” And really, should there ever be any limit, deadline, or last chance? An Hour Unspent is an incredibly moving story and Barclay one of my favorite characters ever. While this may complete the series, I certainly hope to see this family and the younger siblings in the future.
I can’t resist adding this thought… While the cover perfectly fits the story’s theme, I would love for Barclay to have been featured on it.
An Hour Unspent is an all-time favorite, best of the best, highly recommended.
I received a copy of this book from Bethany House through the author and Celebrate Lit. The opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.
About the AuthorAward 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.
Guest Post from RoseannaLast 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 image above or the link below to enter.
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