I’ve done it all my life—wondered. About books. Wondered about authors and how their thought processes worked. Did they know they had a great character when she appeared on the page, or did the character surprise them?
Was it both? Neither?
Once I began writing, I knew the answer.
For myself, anyway. Both—neither. Each book came along, did its own thing, and there were times I felt as though I was just the transcriptionist of fictional lives.
Yeah, that’s kind of silly, when you think of it. And I’m okay with that. Why stop being silly now? I’ve perfected it all my life.
But all of that never stops me from wondering.
A while back I encountered a character so endearing and fresh that I wanted more. Actually, I think I can honestly say I needed more. (I can tell I’m writing a character who has an affinity for speaking in italics because this post is already peppered with them!)
In A Song Unheard, by Roseanna M. White, a very young teen appeared on the page and stole the show as far as I was concerned. I fell in love with her and I knew… I just knew that someone else would, too.
This time I wanted that romance. I wanted to see who she’d be, how she’d be different, and what it would do to change and grow her. Okay, maybe knowing her as I did, I also knew it wouldn’t be sappy. How could it be with such a girl?
A few months later, a call went out for a launch team for the book. I signed up—joined. And I’ve been hounding the world to check out the book ever since.
Because it’s that good.
Note: links may be affiliate links that provide me with a small commission. Additionally, I was given a review copy of this book, but I purchased a Kindle copy as well, so no one can say I was bribed. Just sayin’.
Can You Think, Pray, and Love in Numbers?
Sometimes you read a book that instantly climbs its way to the top of your favorite books of the year. The Number of Love is that book for this year.
To be fair, I expected it. When you have a young woman with a unique perspective on life, a war that needs to be won, and characters weaving in and out of those two facts, you have a winner of a book idea.
Add to that a writer who knows how to pull you into a story and hold you as a prisoner of the war for your time—it just doesn’t get any better than that.
I’ve not yet read a book by Roseanna M. White that I didn’t love. Part of me thinks (not just hopes) that this will never happen. I think it’s because Ms. White knows that beautiful, delicate balance of all the elements of a book. She has scales with multiple pans and manages to keep each element—description, faith, character, plot, twists, herrings (all of it)—in perfect balance.
In The Number of Love, that balance shows even stronger than ever, because of how carefully Ms. White layers her elements. With each peel of the page, we uncover the beautiful story until it it unfolds before us—a perfect rose in bloom.
My two favorite elements?
Faith. In this book, the characters are Catholic—but not stereotypical “book Catholics” as you often see in fiction. There aren’t a few nods to what people think of as Catholic and then prescripted prayer bytes dumped here and there. These Catholics show the deep faith in Jesus that the Catholics in my world exhibit. No, I am not a Catholic. Just had to drop that there.
I don’t remember once a reference to Mary—only to the Lord. And you know what? Very rarely do my Catholic friends reference Mary in their discussions of faith. What may seem “off” to non-Catholics who are accustomed to the stereotypical is actually very accurate in current-day reality.
Is it historically accurate? I have no idea. What it is, however, is encouraging, Scriptural, and beautiful. Roseanna M. White dug deep into the heart and the soul of the young woman “the Lord created” (work with me here) and sought how He would encourage her. He “spoke” her language—nudged her in ways that He does every one of us… but translated to be how she could “hear” Him.
All without me feeling like she added to Scripture. Brilliantly done.
Each character in this book stands strong—even in weakness. Margot is herself. Always. Even when things go wrong and unsettle and dismay her, she’s strong and consistent. Her uncertainties appear where they should. The same goes for her strengths.
Drake brings stability into an unstable world and then has to provide that without his usual physical strength. As a result, we see vulnerabilities that might otherwise have gone unnoticed. Additionally, his sister and her personal issues prepared him for dealing with Margot’s peculiarities.
The villain, Drake’s and Margot’s friends… even the neighbors and coworkers all add to the plot rather than take up space in it. This is brilliant writing. I’m taking notes.
And one final bonus coolness.
Not until I went to write this review did I realize that Drake has what is almost “insta-love.” It isn’t. Not really. But he’s immediately attracted, and his mind goes to “happily-ever-after” much sooner than most might expect.
This works within the story because of how Ms. White addresses it. She uses the war, characters’ personalities, circumstance, and the careful, brilliant use of words to craft a scenario so plausible that it would have seemed less real if she hadn’t done as she did.
The Number of Love is a perfect blend of everything that a historical novel should be and written with a delicate hand so that even contemporary lovers couldn’t help but be drawn in and held captive among the beautiful world White created among the horrors of London in 1917.
Recommended for anyone who loves good writing, great storytelling, and characters who will never leave your heart.
Oh, and can you eat, think, and pray in numbers? Well, I don’t know about you, and I do know I can’t, but Margot? Definitely.
Check out the next book in the series. Isn’t it COOL?
The Number of Love is on tour with Celebrate Lit
Title: The Number of Love
Author: Roseanna M. White
Synopsis: The Toughest Puzzle She’ll Have to Solve Might 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 every German telegram. 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 intelligent Margot, but soon the dangers of the war draw ever closer. Margot and Drake will have to work together to save themselves from the very secrets that brought them together.
About the Author
More from Roseanna
When I told my best friend and critique partner what book I was pitching next to my publisher, her response was something along the lines of, “That sounds awesome. Also, you’re crazy, and I do not envy you writing that one.”
I laughed…and knew exactly what she meant. Because I was setting out to write a heroine who was a mathematician—which I am definitely not. A heroine who was utterly indifferent to love and marriage—which makes for a difficult story when one writes romance. A character who had an unshakeable faith—which has to be shaken at least a bit in order to make for growth throughout the story. And more, a character who has “issues,” let’s call it, that those familiar with such things will recognize…and which those who aren’t will probably think are quirks.
I was setting out to write a story that would be challenging for me, every step of the way.
And the result is a book I’m incredibly in love with and so happy to share with the world.
The Number of Love is all about Margot, who thinks and even prays in numbers.
Born and raised in Belgium, she and her family fled to England in 1914 when the Germans invaded her homeland. Thanks to her remarkable abilities with numbers and patterns, she’s now employed at Room 40, the Admiralty’s secret codebreaking branch. But as I was contemplating what sort of man could ever win Margot’s heart, I knew he had to be very different… someone active where she’s still. Someone outgoing where she turns inward. Someone who sees in her what she never can, and who believes she can grasp the dreams that society tells her are unbefitting a woman.
This is how Drake was born—a field agent employed by Room 40.
I can honestly say this is the only book I’ve ever written that required me to borrow my daughter’s algebra book while I was writing it, LOL. And though every single scene was a challenge, it was one I thoroughly enjoyed. I hope you’ll join me on the journey that Margot and Drake are on, which answer the question my husband cheekily asked more than once as I was writing it: what is the number of love?
Among the Reads, June 17
Moments, June 17
Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, June 17
Girls Living For God’s Glory, June 17
Back Porch Reads, June 18
The Avid Reader, June 18
Stories By Gina, June 18
janicesbookreviews, June 18
Reflections From My Bookshelves, June 19
Inspired by Fiction, June 19
Worthy2Read, June 19
Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, June 19
As He Leads is Joy, June 20
Christian Chick’s Thoughts, June 20
Blossoms and Blessings, June 20
Real World Bible Study, June 21
Multifarious, June 21
Emily Yager, June 21
A Reader’s Brain, June 21
Bigreadersite, June 22
For the Love of Literature, June 22
Simple Harvest Reads, June 22 (Guest post from Mindy Houng)
She Lives to Read, June 23
The Christian Fiction Girl, June 23
Just the Write Escape, June 23
Genesis 5020, June 24
For Him and My Family, June 24
Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, June 24
Inklings and notions, June 24
Life of Literature, June 25
D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, June 25
Stephanie’s Life of Determination, June 25
Texas Book-aholic, June 25
Just Your Average reviews, June 26
Blogging With Carol, June 26
The Becca Files, June 26
Splashes of Joy, June 26
To celebrate her tour, Roseanna is giving away a grand prize of winner’s choice of TWO signed books, Fruit and Floral Flavors Sugar Shapes, and some Roseanna M. White swag!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter. https://promosimple.com/ps/de86/the-number-of-love-celebration-tour-giveaway