The Toughest Puzzle She’ll Have to Solve
May Be the Wishes of Her Own Heart
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 German telegrams for hints of the enemy’s plans. 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, she discovers for the first time in her life that 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 quick and brainy Margot, but soon the dangers of the war draw ever closer. Margot and Drake will have to team up to save themselves from the very secrets that brought them together.
Having been introduced to Margot in A Song Unheard, I already knew I loved the heroine and was excited to read her story. I love Margot’s quick wit, sarcasm, and her no-nonsense-cut-to-the-heart-of-it attitude towards life. I love the way she sees glimpses of God in the order and precision of mathematics and numbers. She prays using numbers and God speaks to her in numbers. I love the idea that God speaks to us all in ways we are most likely to hear him. For some that may be stories and literature, for others, it may be science and mathematics.
Margot’s mathematical intelligence and strictly logical way of looking at things make her good at her job of codebreaking, and provide a different perspective to her friends and family. However, they also limit her worldview because she puts up barriers to anything she determines as sentimental and feelings-oriented.
Margot doesn’t do feelings, she does numbers. She prays in numbers, she makes decisions based on their probability and logic. Feelings are messy and unpredictable. Numbers are orderly and consistent. Everything has to make sense. So when the rug gets pulled out from under her with an unexpected death, she finds herself scrambling to make sense of her world, and trying to keep those messy unpredictable and unfathomable feelings at bay.
The romance in this book was very slow moving. I was honestly a little worried for Drake, because Margot was a tough nut to crack. As adamant as she was against relationships and love, I wasn’t sure how he was going to crack her shell in a way that would be satisfactory for the reader AND believable for her character. But of course, this is a historical romance, so you KNOW he eventually succeeds, and how he does it is so, so sweet. I enjoyed the unique approach to their relationship. The two of them made a fantastic team.
In spite of the fact that she claims to eschew feelings, she has a very loving heart which is revealed in her relationships with her friends and family as well as her enemies. Her detail-oriented mind picks up on things most others would overlook, including pieces of someone’s heart and character. Once she sees something of value in a person, she does her best to bring it out, even if they hide behind a mask.
Readers who have read the Ladies of the Manor series they will have a nice surprise as they revisit some old friends, and also enjoy a fantastic cast of new supporting characters, my favorite of which is Camden. I enjoyed the scenes where his surly attitude met with Margot’s sharp wit and list of threats. I look forward to reading his story in book two.
Favorite Quotes and Thoughts:
“She hadn’t been able to pray since…(edited to avoid spoilers)…Not really. She hadn’t really tried. Because before, she’d never had to try. God had always been there, waiting, directing. She’d never had to do more than reach out to Him, and there He was. Filling her mind with numbers. With the assurance that He’d set the world in order and so it wasn’t chaotic. There were equations. There were formulas. There were reasons. She didn’t know how to reach Him now, when it wasn’t easy anymore. She didn’t know how to find Him when He wasn’t just right there.”
“Sometimes God let people die. Let His children break. And then pieced them back together into something new. Something that He could use for His glory instead of theirs.”
“ ‘How am I to know what to do? Whether I’m making a wreck of everything?’
‘The way the rest of us do, I suppose. You choose what seems best and trust.’
‘But that’s stupid. Life isn’t just guesswork.’
‘And faith isn’t just feeling. We have to know He’s still there, unchanged, even when we can’t feel Him. When the grief’s too loud to let us hear His voice.’”
— Margot goes through a faith crisis in this book. I like these quotes because I’ve been there. I’ve had my heart broken by an event that challenged my faith and found it hard to pray. We can find God easily when things make sense. It is easy to claim faith when it hasn’t been challenged. Much harder when those supports are taken away from you. Like Margot, I had to learn what it really means to trust God, and have faith. Knowing He was there when my grief held me back from praying. I appreciated the raw truth of these moments and the fact that they didn’t try to provide answers to Margot’s questioning of why things happen. Sometimes we can’t know. There are times when life hurts us and there is no explanation. God is still there.
“She was worth waiting for. Worth seeking hour by hour, day by day, month by month. Year by year. Even if it took him a decade to convince her to be his, it would be worth it. And the wait would only make him appreciate her all the more.”
“She managed to lift a hand, to rest it against his arm. The movement hurt, deep inside. Stillness was her natural state in moments like this. But Lukas needed a touch, so she dug down, despite the pain, and forced one.”
***I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author/publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are mine alone. ***
Author Links and Biography
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.
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