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There are not enough words to describe my enjoyment of this book! Beautiful descriptions of historical events, colorful characters of varying importance, and a unique romance with hidden depths that left me reeling. When I finished this book, I immediately wanted to dive into another book in the same time period, hoping to get more of the same flavor of history and intrigue. If you are a fan of history involving WW1 and England's suffrage movement, you will adore this book.
It is 1915 and World War 1 is still in its infancy. While war rages overseas between the countries, a different war rages in England between the sexes. Evelina Manning is in the thick of it, working hard to create better working conditions for the women left behind in the war. With her father in trade as a clockmaker and a mother determined to see her marry well, she has a foot in both worlds, not quite fitting in with either high society or the working class. When she meets Barclay Pearce, she is not at the highest point in her life. But Barclay's presence allows her more freedom, and as they spend more time together, they develop a strong bond of friendship that is slowly turning into love. However, Evelina doesn't know the true purpose of Barclay's involvement in her life, and when she finds out, her whole world will turn upside down.
Evelina and Barclay were a great representation of the old adage, "opposites attract." Evelina was a strong-willed young woman who felt no qualms about putting herself into dangerous situations to help others. She cared little for what others thought of her, and it showed in her choices of hobby and her interactions with her family. While she got along well with her father, who taught her much about the clockmaking business, she butted heads with her mother constantly on the issue of her marrying well. Barclay grew up on the streets, abandoned by his mother and separated from his younger brother. He eventually found a home with a surrogate father and 11 adopted siblings, but until recently he made his living as a thief on the streets. Once he began working for the government, he was crossing paths a different sort of people entirely. He loved Evelina's passion and kindness, but at the same time, he knew their relationship couldn't last. What frustrated me about their relationship was Evelina's reaction on finding out Barclay's past. Although they did overcome their differences and eventually find love with each other, that was one obstacle that felt exaggerated. Evelina's headstrong attitude affected their love greatly, and I found myself empathizing with Barclay more than her. But as I sad, they showed that opposites do often attract, and their personalities complimented each other well.
This is the first book I have read by Roseanna White, and I am thoroughly pleased with how it turned out! I loved the history, the characters, and the star-crossed romance. Beautifully written.
**I received a free copy via NetGalley and this is my honest review.**