31 August 2017

Audiobook Review of A Name Unknown by Roseanna M. White

Edwardian romance and history gains a twist of suspense. 
Rosemary Gresham has no family beyond the band of former urchins that helped her survive as a girl in the mean streets of London. Grown now, they concentrate on stealing high-value items and have learned how to blend into upper-class society. But when Rosemary must determine whether a certain wealthy gentleman is loyal to Britain or to Germany, she is in for the challenge of a lifetime. How does one steal a family's history, their very name? 
Peter Holstein, given his family's German blood, writes his popular series of adventure novels under a pen name. With European politics boiling and his own neighbors suspicious of him, Peter debates whether it might be best to change his name for good. When Rosemary shows up at his door pretending to be a historian and offering to help him trace his family history, his question might be answered. 
But as the two work together and Rosemary sees his gracious reaction to his neighbors' scornful attacks, she wonders if her assignment is going down the wrong path. Is it too late to help him prove that he's more than his name?

A Name Unknown
(Shadows over England, # 1)
Audiobook Review
Recorded Books 2017
By Roseanna M. White
Narrated By Liz Pierce

Review by Carrie Fancett Pagels

Book One in a New British Series!
This novel was a Romantic Times Book Reviews Top Pick in July, 2017. I listened to a download of the book on Audible.com. The suspenseful romance and mystery is available in multiple formats at Barnes and Noble,  Amazon, Christian Book Distributors, at your local Christian book store (BTW, Lifeway will price match and they also can get you a book that they don't have in the store), and at other online and brick-and-mortar bookstores.

First of all, this is a very unusual Christian fiction story in that the heroine is an anti-hero. Roseanna will be speaking in Maryland, on September 9th, at the Write To Inspire Workshop in Frederick, on "When to Break the Rules" in writing, so I'm assuming that's what she's trying to do for this novel. When I had the opportunity to have dinner with Roseanna and her family in Williamsburg, Virginia, recently, she also talked a little about this idea. Realize, however, it takes a really talented author to do this.  With 200+ reviews on Amazon with a 4.7 average, readers agree that she's done so.

Be prepared for a long listen. This book is over 400 pages long which translates into many hours of audible listen. If you don't have to do the read by audio, you might want to stick with the paperback, ebook, or hardcover edition. Listening to the narrator stutter (yes, the hero is a stutterer, but if you're reading it with your eyes you don't actually hear it) is painful at times. It does hammer through the reality of the characters situation, though. The narrator is good, with a lovely British accent, but she doesn't quite nail the male character's voices like some other narrators can do. 

Because I'm also an author, the concept of this book (the hero is a secret novelist) caused "author intrusion" for me throughout much of the listen. I don't think this would be a problem for the vast majority of listeners, and indeed by the ratings it obviously didn't. And knowing Roseanna made that intrusion even worse. Big sigh. One of those times I wish I was still a reader only, as this is a nice long lovely listen to savor.

Bibiliotherapy aspects are ripe and rich and make this audiobook a top candidate for my Bibliotherapy Book of the Year. With the first hero with a marked speech impairment and a heroine who is not only an orphan but a thief who has grown up with a family of criminals, albeit her loved ones with reasons why they've turned to this life.

Questions: How often do you listen to a new release on audio? What's your favorite way to read and why?


  1. Thanks for your review of this audio book Carrie. I actually have this on audible, I'm just waiting for a nice long time to listen to it. I have listened to several new releases, most recently Shine Like the Dawn by Carrie Turansky and Becky Wade's True to You.
    I've reached the end of my gift subscription to Audible and now must decide if I want to continue paying for it myself. I'm hoping I can work it out in the budget, otherwise I might not ever cook and do dishes again!

  2. Wonderful review, Carrie! I don't listen to audio books. I have a hard time concentrating.

  3. I have to confess, Carrie,that I have never listened to a book. I am probably one of a very few but I just love to hold a book in my hands. I need to give listening a try.

  4. I actually listened to this story as an audiobook and I loved it! I think it helped that I am not an author so I didn't have those author intrusion issues. I liked hearing the hero stutter because that made it more real and not just words on a page that I could easily skip over. I like listening to books on audio while I'm doing house-stuff so I always look forward to your audiobook reviews, thanks!


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