Margot De Wilde escaped the German occupation in Belgium, and now she and her mother are living in London where Margot works in Room 40 of the Old Admiralty Building. She’s a codebreaker—one of the stars of the department, despite being the youngest cryptographer and the only female.
She has a unique brain, in that numbers seem to rearrange themselves into words and messages.
Drake Elton is a British spy disguised as a Lieutenant in the Royal Navy. He is half-Spanish so is the obvious choice to work as an undercover agent in neutral Spain. He finds himself back in London after a mission goes wrong. But the mission follows him to London and is now targeting him and those around him …
The whole concept of coding has always fascinated me, as I suspect it has fascinated Roseanna M White. I understand the basic principles of cyphers and codes, but I am clueless when it comes to the maths behind creating and (especially) cracking codes. That’s why I find a heroine like Margot De Wilde fascinating. She might be only a teenager, but she’s cleverer than most of the men working in her department and has gained their respect because of her skill.
While the research was generally excellent and well-integrated into the plot, there were a couple of anachronisms that threw me out of the story. Yes, rulers have used humans to provide intelligence on the opposing forces ever since Moses sent the twelve spies into Israel after the Hebrews escaped from Egypt. But that’s only been called HUMINT recently—it may have been human intelligence in 1917, but it certainly wasn’t HUMINT. SIGINT is equally problematic, as is hun (which should be capitalised, in the same way as american or canadian should be capitalised).
If you read Roseanna M White’s excellent Shadows Over England series, then you’ll recognise Margot De Wilde and her family from A Song Unheard. And if you’ve read The Cypher Ring series, then you’ll know Roseanna M White has a longstanding fascination with codes and codebreakers.
But don’t worry if you haven’t read them: The Number of Love is an excellent standalone novel that combines White’s love of codes with an excellent romantic suspense story set against the backdrop of World War I London.
The characters are fascinating, the writing is excellent, and the result is a unique page-turner.
Recommended for fans of historical fiction, and for those intrigued by movies such as Enigma or Hidden Figures. I’m looking forward to reading the next in the series.
Thanks to Bethany House and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review.The Numbers of Love by @RoseannaMWhite is excellent. The characters are fascinating, the writing is excellent, and the result is a unique page-turner. #BookReview #ChristianFiction Click To Tweet
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.
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About The Number of Love
Three years into the Great War, England’s greatest asset is their intelligence network–field agents risking their lives to gather information, and codebreakers able to crack every German telegram. Margot De Wilde thrives in the environment of the secretive Room 40, where she spends her days deciphering intercepted messages. But when her world is turned upside down by an unexpected loss, for the first time in her life numbers aren’t enough.
Drake Elton returns wounded from the field, followed by an enemy who just won’t give up. He’s smitten quickly by the intelligent Margot, but how can he convince a girl who lives entirely in her mind that sometimes life’s answers lie in the heart?
Amid biological warfare, encrypted letters, and a German spy who wants to destroy not just them but others they love, Margot and Drake will have to work together to save themselves from the very secrets that brought them together.