Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Book Review: Not By Sight


From the jacket:  With Britain caught up in WWI, Jack Benningham, heir to the Earl of Stonebrooke, has declared himself a conscientious objector. Instead, he secretly works for the Crown by tracking down German spies on British soil, his wild reputation and society status serving as a foolproof cover.

Blinded by patriotism and concern for her brother on the front lines, wealthy suffragette Grace Mabry will do whatever it takes to assist her country's cause. When she sneaks into a posh London masquerade ball to hand out white feathers of cowardice, she never imagines the chain of events she'll set off when she hands a feather to Jack.

And neither of them could anticipate the extent of the danger and betrayal that follows them--or the faith they'll need to maintain hope.

My ReviewNot By Sight is more than just a novel, it's a beautiful period piece.  "For King, For Country, For Freedom" become the mantra of this faith-based novel and projects us readers forward into the life-life of WWI movements. Set in the early 1900's, with it's captivating characters and lush descriptions, this historical romance will sweep you off your feet.  It's a breathtaking journey into an era that author Kate Breslin allows us to visit through her sweeping tale. 

Opening with an opulent display of costumes and masks during a posh, polite society ball, Grace Mabry is determined to find out what happened to her missing brother, Colin.  With a mane of fiery red hair and emerald green eyes, dressed as the mythical Pandora, she gains entrance into the ball to hand out
white feathers, the sign of cowardice and disgrace.  And she hands one to Jack Benningham, the dashing heir to the Earl of Stonebrooke, of all people!   He's working undercover as a spy catcher for the British Crown.  He flees the party in search of the spy and is horribly disfigured and blinded and retreats to his country estate for refuge and healing.

When Grace is admonished for actions at the ball, her mission to find her brother goes awry when she stumbles, by fate, into the employ of Jack Benningham.  Through her work with the Woman's Forage Corps, she becomes Jack's 'eyes' as his driver, his companion, and by eventually letting down her guard, his friend.  Her kind nature, strong faith instilled by her mother, coupled with compassion and wit, Jack soon warms to her. He faces disdain from the spoiled brat fiancé who can't bear to look at his disfigurement and blindness and Grace is saddened by her lack of compassion. She's encouraged to help Jack understand God's will and the test is one of faith, not necessarily by sight.   They grow to care for each other with understanding and kindness, their connection through their 'question game', making the utmost of their unusual employment.  Grace becomes the 'eyes' for Jack, painting beautiful words so he may 'see' what she sees, honing in on her desire to one day pen a novel. 

Breslin does a wonderful job with this novel.  From building upon a time period in history that beholds much sorrow and loss, Grace and Jack's patriotism proves loyal and just.  Toss in a warming romance blossoming in the midst of war surely makes the heart swell with the same pride that each felt.  That's not only a leap of faith, but a testimony that two souls entangled in uncertainty can see what's right in front of them if they look hard enough. 

As per the FTC declaration requirements, I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for my review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are purely my own.

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