4 March 2013

Review: Ring of Secrets by Roseanna M White

Winter Reeves’ pretty smile and vacant expression belie the intelligence she hides as she collects intelligence from her grandparents’ friends in 1779 New York, a British stronghold. As a member of The Cypher Ring, she must hide her true allegiance from everyone except Robbie Townsend, her childhood friend, and Freeman, a loyal family servant who is treated no better than a slave by her Loyalist grandparents.

Bennet Lane is a Yale professor sent to New York to try and find the source of the intelligence leaks. He meets Winter and is immediately attracted to her because he somehow sees that she is more than she appears. He also recognises that a courtship with the beauty will give him a reason for being in the company of New York’s elite, which should aid his quest.

Ring of Secrets is told in the third person from the viewpoints of Winter and Bennet, with occasional scenes from more minor characters (actually, I thought these were probably unnecessary). Both are well-rounded and likeable characters—it is said that any character with an interesting secret has a good chance of coming alive, and this can certainly be said of both Winter and Robbie (her contact in the spy ring).

There is also the added complication of Colonel Fairchild—Winter has cultivated a relationship with him in order to gain intelligence, but he is courting her with a view to a more permanent relationship. Overall, I thought the romance was well-developed and the story excellent, but I found some of Winter’s prayers a bit long-winded (even for Christian fiction), and there were a couple of too-convenient coincidences towards the end.

I really enjoy historical fiction that is actually well-grounded in history, as Ring of Secrets is. Even I, as a non-American, recognised some of the historical figures, and a note at the end of the book enlightened me more about the founders of The Culper Ring, an organisation which the CIA will neither confirm nor deny the ongoing existence of. The Epilogue suggests that more stories about The Culper Ring will be forthcoming, probably each in a different historical period. I will certainly be interested in reading more. Recommended.

Thanks to Harvest House and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review. I was reading an advance copy, and found a handful of typos that will hopefully have been eliminated in the final print edition. You can find out more about Roseanna M White at her website.

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