Book Review: A Name Unknown

NameUnknown_mck.inddI’ve been so excited to bring this one to you all. It has quickly earned a spot among my honorable mentions of historical fiction with its quaint setting, spunky characters and captivating plot.


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?

What you won’t find in the back cover copy, is the hilarious relationship Rosie has with her “adopted” family. When you read about them all together for the first time, they explain a series of dares that has bonded them together – the exposure of a man who keeps a mistress for example. The “siblings” get a good chuckle over the outcome of their success and set up another dare – this one for Rosemary. Steal a manor house. An impossible feat to be sure, except she’s just been commissioned to steal evidence against Peter Holstein who happens to own a manor.

It’s a brilliant, snarky little introduction that absolutely sucked me in. My only disappointment was that I was either too exhausted or interrupted one too many times to finish it in a day.

My absolute favorite aspect of the story was Peter’s character. It’s a bit like story inception. A story within a story. As Peter’s arc unfolds, so does the story he’s writing under the pseudonym Branok Hollow. As a writer myself, it was utterly delightful. I nearly died on the couch as Peter’s “author brain” interrupts his everyday interactions.

I highly suggest you find yourself a copy of White’s A Name Unknown. Set plenty of time aside for binging as you delve into this Edwardian Era romance set on the brink of the Great War. There’s nothing quite like reading an author writing about an author and his less-than-honest so-called librarian.


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I received a free copy from Bethany House in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed here are my own.

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