Publication Date: September 8, 2020
About the Author: 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. She and her family make their home in the beautiful mountains of West Virginia. You can learn more about her and her stories at www.RoseannaMWhite.com.
An observer of life, Lily takes in the activity and artistry of the world around her, both with her eyes and the aperture of her camera. As World War I winds to a close, Lily uses her special talents to assist at OB40, doctoring photos to deceive the Central Powers and protect the Allied armies. But while her father applauds her assistance to the war effort, her mother is firmly set against art being used as propaganda.
When a young officer named Clarke and a Russian codebreaker named Zivon Marin begin to visit, both Lily and her sister Ivy both find unexpected suitors. Like Lily, Zivon is a quiet observer of life, noticing patterns and predicting movements before they happen. Horrified by the actions of the Bolsheviks in his home country, Zivon is determined to assist the Allies with his talents as a codebreaker. He may have something else the Allies want, however–a photo album that belonged to his (possibly) deceased younger brother which contains confusing and (possibly) incriminating photos. As Zivon and Lily’s relationship blossoms, the dangers to both of them and to England intensify, leading to a dramatic finale.
This book was a great finale to White’s Codebreakers series. As Lily uses her skills to alter photographs under the instructions of British intelligence, the story explores what propaganda is–a damnable lie? Or a legitimate weapon to save those we love? True to form, White humanizes the villains of the story, offering them the same chance at redemption that the protagonists receive. She also explores the feminist ideals of the Russian revolution that taught women that marriage is a trap to be avoided at all costs. Those who enjoy World War I history, or just a riveting piece of romantic historical fiction, will enjoy this novel.
Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this title from the publisher via NetGalley. All opinions expressed in this review are my own.