Saturday, October 17, 2020

PORTRAIT OF LOYALTY by Roseanna M. White, Reviewed by Paula Shreckhise


With all the polish of a John Le Carre novel, Roseanna White concludes her Codebreakers series.

Although this story depicts a different era, it reminded me of Tinker, Taylor, Soldier, Spy. From the nesting Russian dolls to the altering of photographs, this story is full of interesting references to the spy game.

Characters patterned after real people are fascinating and Ms. White crafts them well. Zivon Marin had to flee Russia and now seeks to help his homeland by being of service to British Intelligence. Lilly Blackwell, whose father works for the government, is a photographic expert for the war effort.

I love learning from history and this story proves that old ideas are new again. The old Bolshevik agenda seems to be rearing its ugly head today. But one character says: "I just find it sad that so many people think they can find true happiness by taking. They cannot. We can only ever find it by giving."

Ms. White does a great job of showing us how Lily views the world through a photography artist’s eyes. As her mama says: "The camera cannot capture what you do not first see. You always see the beauty. And you have taught me to find it too. God is there. His promises have not changed just because my circumstances have. He is still good."

This story is rich in human emotion. Zivon struggles with how to forgive and how to be still and wait on God. Lily wants to be a loyal subject but also seeks to please her mother. The manipulations of war and the heartache of the Spanish Flu become real in this book. Ms. White takes the events of 1918 and personalizes them through her very relatable characters.

I am sorry to bud farewell to the Codebreakers but I am oh so glad I met them in these pages.

*I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers on behalf of the author. I was not required to give a favorable review. All opinions are my own.*How could I not give this book 5 stars? It is beyond excellent.  A strong faith thread. 

See Rebecca's and Winnie's Reviews

See Kim's Review

BackCover Blurb:
Zivon Marin was one of Russia's top cryptographers until the October Revolution tore apart his world. Forced to flee to England after speaking out against Lenin, Zivon is driven by a growing anger and determined to offer his services to the Brits. But never far from his mind is his brother, whom Zivon fears died in the train crash that separated them.

Lily Blackwell sees the world best through the lens of a camera and possesses unsurpassed skill when it comes to retouching and re-creating photographs. With her father's connections in propaganda, she's recruited to the intelligence division, even though her mother would disapprove if she ever found out.

After Captain Blackwell invites Zivon to dinner one evening, a friendship blooms between him and Lily that soon takes over their hearts. But both have secrets they're unwilling to share, and neither is entirely sure they can trust the other. When Zivon's loyalties are called into question, proving him honest is about more than one couple's future dreams--it becomes a matter of ending the war

Bethany House Publishers, Sept. 2020
Available in digital ebook, paperback, hardcover and audiobook:


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