I am always excited when Roseanna M. White has a new release . . . and this time was no different. I have reviewed the entire Codebreaker series on my blog (click to see my reviews for The Number of Love and On Wings of Devotion), and I think A Portrait of Loyalty might have been my favorite of the three. I mean, it’s hard to pick one. But if I had to, the final story in the Codebreaker series might take the cake. See how hard it is for me to commit to having a favorite? Maybe . . . possibly . . . well, one thing is for sure. You need to read this entire series.
Back to A Portrait of Loyalty. Let’s take a look at the back cover, and my review will follow:
From the Back Cover
He sees patterns in what she deems chaos.
She sees beauty in a world he thought destroyed.
Zivon Marin was one of Russia’s top cryptographers until the October Revolution tore apart his world. Forced to flee to England after speaking out against Lenin, Zivon is driven by a growing anger and determined to offer his services to the Brits. But never far from his mind is his brother, whom Zivon fears died in the train crash that separated them.
Lily Blackwell sees the world best through the lens of a camera and possesses unsurpassed skill when it comes to retouching and re-creating photographs. With her father’s connections in propaganda, she’s recruited to the intelligence division, even though her mother would disapprove if she ever found out.
After Captain Blackwell invites Zivon to dinner one evening, a friendship blooms between him and Lily that soon takes over their hearts. But both have secrets they’re unwilling to share, and neither is entirely sure they can trust the other. When Zivon’s loyalties are called into question, proving him honest is about more than one couple’s future dreams–it becomes a matter of ending the war.
“The deeply spiritual third installment of White’s The Codebreakers series features a romance between a Russian cryptographer and an English photographer amid the destruction of WWI. . . . White’s smooth flowing narrative and resonant themes of misinformation and social upheaval will draw readers in to this glowing love story.”–Publishers Weekly –This text refers to the paperback edition.
This World War 1 story had love, tragedy, mystery, redemption, reconciliation, action and spiritual depth. In a very natural way, White brought in some very powerful faith elements. For example, forgiving when you have been totally wronged. When the offense has been so incredibly wretched and tragic . . . but God. Zivon had no idea how he could possibly deal with the hate in his heart. But God. It was very powerful, very well done.
The love story was sweet and innocent. I really didn’t know what would happen in the end, however. When their relationship was forbidden, when Zivon’s character and motives were in question, when he was suspected of being a possible spy . . . yet, Lily believed in him. And with her day job as a photographer within the intelligence division, she sees things no one else sees. And I feel I must stop there before I give away too much.
There was devastation and tragedy in this story, of the 1918 variety. The Spanish flu aspect was extremely well done, and a bit unexpected even though I for sure should have been expecting it. I won’t say more on this, because, spoilers, but White shocked me with the story line here. Well done. And I’m still a little upset about it. But it was real, and I think White did justice to the era. Even though I wasn’t happy about about tragic events. You’ll have to read the story to find out what I mean.
Can we just talk for a moment about how amazing White’s style of writing is? And her writer’s voice? How distinct each character’s points-of-view are? And her research? Her ability to weave history, faith, love so seamlessly? And the layers in this story! So many layers. I cheered for so many characters. The mother-daughter relationship. The father-daughter relationship. The sisters. The courtships. Yes, plural. Then I found myself cheering for people I never thought I could possibly be convinced to care about. But she humanized even the seemingly heartless in this story.
I give this novel 5 stars. I’d give more if I could.
Okay, I’m done. But only because I fear of telling too many spoilers. ‘Cause I could talk about this story all day.
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.
I received a complimentary copy of this novel from the publisher for my honest review . . . I also used one of my audible credits so I could have the option of listening or reading. I do that sometimes. But I preferred reading this one, not sure why. I’ll enjoy listening to this one through again soon. Laundry/dishes/mopping/driving . . . I love me some audiobooks. Especially of the Roseanna M. White variety.