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Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Kate Breslin: Not by Sight

By Kelly Bridgewater

From Amazon
Back Cover Copy:

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 Thoughts:

Kate Breslin and I met last September at the 2014 ACFW conference. After spending time with Jewess aka Stella and Aric in For Such a Time, I couldn’t wait to read more of Breslin’s writing. When I found out she was writing another book, I jumped at the chance and contacted her, asking to read an ARC copy of Not by Sight. She agreed.  Not by Sight is an impressive historical romance by one of my favorite writers. I think it is because I connect instantly with the characters.

I really enjoyed getting to know Jack Benningham, a wealthy man who first comes onto the scene as a playboy and a gambler. But three months later, I met a totally different guy. He was humbled with less hubris leading his choices. Now Jack was blind with scars on his face. Throughout the book, I watched Jack change and transform, not only physically, but also spiritually.

As for Grace Mabry, when we first encounter her, she was a woman who wants to shame the men who weren’t fighting. Three months later, she was a very strong heroine who I related to instantly and liked. She fought for women who worked with the Women’s Forage Corps (WFC) and wanted more with their lives.

Breslin’s use of imagery and descriptive language welcomed me into Jack and Grace’s world. I smelt the roses in Jack’s garden. I imagined the hay, laying down waiting to be picked. I imagined the dirt and sweat rolling across Grace’s body after she spent a day unsuccessfully digging a trench. Jack’s estate came alive in my imagination. I felt like I have left the twentieth-century and moved into the conflict of the early nineteenth century.

The historical detail is top-notch and really brought the historical period to life in my imagination. I learned a lot about the treason that went on behind the line during the 1917’s and the fight for women’s equal rights. I enjoyed how Breslin included a mystery surrounding Grace’s father who was accused of being a traitor. This captured my attention, and I couldn’t wait to see the resolution.

The romance was sizzling. Beauty and the Beast is my all-time favorite Disney movie because of Belle’s ability to look past Beast’s outer appearance and discover his true personality. Breslin fashioned a classic romance with Grace and Jack, tugging at my heart along the way. Every time Grace would drive Jack around town, Grace would find another reason to fall a little more in love with this scarred and damaged man beside her. Likewise, Jack learned that someone could love him, no matter what his scars looked like. Their romance was sigh-worthy, and I prayed for their happily-ever-after together.

At times, I had a hard time believing that Grace could be so perfect and polite to everyone, even Clare who treated her badly at their first encounter. But her personality did not stop me from loving Breslin’s heroine.

In literary fashion, Kate Breslin’s Not by Sight gave me a glimpse into the world of World War I with treason and women suffrage, while creating a romance that reminded me a lot of classic literature’s Beauty and the Beast and Phantom of the Opera. I will definitely recommending Not by Sight to fans of classic romance novels and good literature.

My Rating:  5 out of 5 stars

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