About the Book
Once London’s top thief, Barclay Pearce has turned his back on his life of crime and now uses his skills for a nation at war. But not until he rescues a clockmaker’s daughter from a mugging does he begin to wonder what his future might hold.
Evelina Manning has constantly fought for independence but she certainly never meant for it to inspire her fiancé to end the engagement and enlist in the army. When the intriguing man who saved her returns to the Manning residence to study clockwork repair with her father, she can’t help being interested. But she soon learns that nothing with Barclay Pearce is as simple as it seems.
As 1915 England plunges ever deeper into war, the work of an ingenious clockmaker may give England an unbeatable military edge—and Germany realizes it as well. Evelina’s father soon finds his whole family in danger—and it may just take a reformed thief to steal the time they need to escape it.
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About the Author
Guest Post from Roseanna
Last year, as I finished up the writing of An Hour Unspent, my great-grandmother passed away at the age of 103. As I sat at her funeral service and listened to the heartfelt memorial raised up to her by her kids and grandkids, I realized anew that this woman had been a matriarch in the truest sense of the word. She’d taught my family for generations how to love the Lord and each other, how to serve the Lord and each other, and how to trust the Lord and each other. Grandma Seward was, in so many ways, the one who instilled in me my idea of what family really is.
That idea—that it’s those knit together by love more than blood, and that faith is the strongest foundation—is what I built my unusual family of thieves upon in the Shadows Over England series. And strange as it is to liken my twenty-something reformed-thief hero to my 103-year-old-grandmother, Barclay Pearce is very much to his family what Maxine Seward was to mine.
The founder. The caregiver. The leader.
I knew as I began the series that I would write about Barclay in book three, and as I got to know him better throughout the series, I grew so excited to share his story! This is a man who led his family first into and then out of a life a crime, always for the right reasons—so he could provide for the children under his care. All he ever wanted to do was give them what he himself had lost. To show them love. To prove to them that they were worth any sacrifice.
It was truly a blessing for me to get to write the story in which Barclay found someone to come alongside him, to appreciate and learn to understand him. To finally share what started him down this path. I loved the idea that only a reformed thief could steal the time another family needed to overcome their own trials.
There are many historical items in the book that were such fun to explore—watchmaking of the era, the suffrage movement in England, technological advancements of the war—but at the heart, this isn’t a story about any of those.
It’s a story about how far people should go for love. I hope you enjoy Barclay’s story as much as I did!
There is something about orphans who have risen above that intrigues me. From Oliver Twist to little orphan Annie, the hand they were dealt in life didn’t determine their outcome. This is Barclay Pierce. What I love is that he not only found a way to survive on his own in the world, but he took in others and adopted them as his own as well. Even though money was tight, he couldn’t turned an abandoned youngster away.
Throughout the story Barclay wrestles with guilt over the thieving he did in his past, but as a reader you can also see that the Lord has certainly done a work in his heart and that he has worked hard to turn his life around. What’s interesting is that he still does some of what he used to, but the difference is that he is now doing it to help the war effort. I appreciate how the author approached Barclay’s attitude towards this. Think of it this way: we all know that lying is a sin. But think back to WWII for example, when people would hide Jews in their homes to save them from the Nazis. If a soldier came to their home and asked if they were harboring Jews– the truth would be yes, but to save the people’s lives they would deny it. Is a lie to save another’s life truly a sin? Although not as extreme of an example, this is essentially the same type of question the author is posing for this story–if Barclay is stealing for “the good guys” now, is it still sinning? What I like about this is that the author presents the issue in a way that makes the reader think about it.
Another piece I really liked about the story is that no family is painted as perfect–they all have a level of brokenness. Wealth nor poverty determine if a family will be happy or not. Biology or circumstance are both able to create family. Not only do spouses enter a marriage with baggage of their own, but as a family the traumas in this life can leave permanent scars. I don’t want to say too much about this so that I don’t spoil anything in the story, but I’ll simply admit that my perception of certain characters changed the more I learned about them and the obstacles they faced in their lives.
Overall I really enjoyed this story and would recommend to fans of historical fiction. This is the 3rd book in the series but it was the first I’ve read. While I was easily able to read it as a stand-alone, I also believe I would have enjoyed the first two books and wish I read them first. I would have liked to read more about Barclay’s backstory along with the other orphans who’d adopted each other. It’s certainly an intriguing series.
*I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author through Celebrate Lit Tours and NetGalley. Thoughts and opinions expressed are mine alone.
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To celebrate her tour, Roseanna is giving away a grand prize of a signed book, a London mug, and a 48-pack Twinings tea sampler!!
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/d570/an-hour-unspent-celebration-tour-giveaway