8 April 2014

Review: Circle of Spies by Roseanna M White


It is 1865, and young widow Marietta Arnaud Hughes will shortly come out of mourning, and it is expected she will then marry her brother-in-law, Deveraux, who has been in love with her since they first met. Marietta is an odd combination of believable and fantastic. Her foibles and weaknesses are both familiar and relatable, but she has a gift, a photographic memory, and can remember every conversation she has ever had and every page of every book she has ever read.

A visit from her grandfather reveals a long-standing secret: that the family is a network of spies, and they need her help, both because of her special gift, and because they believe Deveraux is a leader in a secret organisation trying to undermine the government. But help is at hand, in the form of Slade Osbourne, a Pinkerton agent working for the family rail business. Unfortunately, he’s also too attractive for his own good, and Deveraux is a jealous suitor …

I really enjoyed Circle of Spies. The one fault is I thought there was too much male point of view—we got scenes from the viewpoints of Deveraux, Slade and Walker. While each character and scene did add to the overall plot, it just felt a little male-dominated at times (although that was probably a fair representation of the times!).

This is the fifth book in the Culper Ring series, following two novels and two free novellas, all following the Lane family and the activities of the Culpers at different times in American history. All have been good, but this was excellent. The research is excellent (but doesn’t overpower the characters and the story), the story is well-plotted with plenty of twists and turns, the characters are strong yet fallible, and there is a solid Christian message without being preachy. Recommended.

Thanks to Harvest House and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review. You can find out more about Roseanna M White at her website.

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