It’s Throwback Thursday! Today I’m sharing my review of A Song Unheard, the second book in Roseanna M White’s brilliant Shadows Over England series. It follows A Name Unknown, and An Hour Unspent, the third book in the series, releases in September (and I’ll review it then).
Violin virtuoso Lukas De Wilde has escaped war-torn Belgium with his life and his Stradivarius, but without his family. He has to find Mamman and Margot and get them safely to England before the Germans find them … and the valuable cypher key.
Willa Forsythe is one of London’s best thieves, and her latest assignment from the mysterious Mr V is to befriend Lukas De Wilde and find the cypher key. Which means a trip to Wales and playing best friends with the wealthy Davies sisters, benefactors to De Wilde and his fellow musicians.
It soon becomes apparent that Willa and V aren’t the only people interested in the cypher key … and that finding it isn’t going to be as easy as Willa first thought. Especially when Lukas begins to express his interest in her as a fellow musician, and romantically.
A Song Unheard is a brilliant combination of romance and suspense in a unique historical setting.
It is set in London and Aberystwyth. I lived in London for ten years, so I love reading books set there (perhaps this is why I like Regency romance, because most are set in and around central London). I haven’t read any other books set in Aberystwyth, which is where I was born (although I’ve never lived there). It was great to see the city through the eyes of Willa and Lukas.
I was especially impressed by the research. I’d never heard of the Davies sisters and their World War One Belgian orchestra, so this was a fascinating plot device (yes, they were a real thing. I wonder if any of my Welsh relatives attended their concerts?). I’ve always been fascinated by codes and cyphers, so this element intrigued me, especially the connection with mathematics. And who knew that Mozart encoded messages into his music with cyphers?
Overall, A Song Unheard was brilliant—Roseanna M White’s best book yet.
That’s saying something, because A Name Unknown, the first book in this Shadows Over England series, was excellent, as were her earlier books (especially The Culper Ring series). Recommended for fans of Edwardian romance, and romantic suspense.
Thanks to Bethany House and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review.
About Roseanna M White
Roseanna M. White pens her novels beneath her Betsy Ross flag, with her Jane Austen action figure watching over her. When not writing fiction, she’s homeschooling her two children, editing and designing, and pretending her house will clean itself. Roseanna has a slew of historical novels available, ranging from biblical fiction to American-set romances to her new British series. She lives with her family in West Virginia.
Find Roseanna M White online at:
About A Song Unheard
Willa Forsythe is both a violin prodigy and top-notch thief, which makes her the perfect choice for a crucial task at the outset of World War I—to steal a cypher from a famous violinist currently in Wales.
Lukas De Wilde has enjoyed the life of fame he’s won–until now, when being recognized nearly gets him killed. Everyone wants the key to his father’s work as a cryptologist. And Lukas fears that his mother and sister, who have vanished in the wake of the German invasion of Belgium, will pay the price. The only light he finds is meeting the intriguing Willa Forsythe.
But danger presses in from every side, and Willa knows what Lukas doesn’t–that she must betray him and find that cypher, or her own family will pay the price as surely as his has.
Find A Song Unheard online at:
You can read the introduction to A Song Unheard below:
And here’s the description of An Hour Unspent:
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.