This book was very, very cool. Not perfect, but really enjoyable. I liked basically all the characters (except the bad guys, obviously, cuz I almost never like bad guys) and was really rooting hard for the heroine. I'm glad book 2 is on my bookshelf so I can read it soonish. Before book 3 drops this fall, anyway ;-)
Margot De Wilde was a secondary character in White's earlier book A Song Unheard, and probably my favorite character in that, so I was really excited that she got her own book. This one is set several years after Song, and she's now working as a codebreaker for British Intelligence during WWI.
Of course, there's a love story, with her slowly coming to like and then love a British spy named Drake Elton, who happens to be her best friend's brother. But the story mostly revolves around Margot learning to trust God instead of her own vast intelligence. She has some really hard things happen to her over the course of this book, including one that I don't want to spoil much, but which reminded me of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode "The Body" in many ways.
In fact, this is almost more a coming-of-age story than a romance, which I appreciated. I also loved all the stuff about spies and espionage and a few scenes of derring-do. But Margot herself remains my favorite part of it, the way she thinks and prays in numbers instead of words sometimes, and the way she stalwartly strives to find her place in the world.
I actually identified with Margot in a lot of ways, especially her extreme annoyance with being dismissed by older adults just because she's quite young. I hated that so much as a young adult. SO MUCH. Also, she wonders if there's something wrong with her because she doesn't love babies like other young women, and dude, that's so me. I love MY babies, but not just babies in general. And her skittishness about strong emotions... it took me years to learn how to feel without letting feelings control me. I would just avoid feeling at all, which I eventually realized was simply letting feelings control me in a different way.
So yeah, I dug this book :-)
Particularly Good Bits:
She hated being called young. Hated it. Too long she had been dismissed, her ideas ignored solely because she hadn't been alive as long as others. She'd thought those days were beyond her now that she'd been part of the adult world for so many years. but no, this frumpish lump of a woman would speak down to her simply because her skin was smooth with youth. And impressionable? As if she hadn't mind enough to make it up for herself? (p. 128).
It wasn't wrong to feel emotion. She knew that. Especially in something like this. but it was dangerous. So dangerous. Emotions didn't obey the rules. They existed somewhere outside the set of axioms that governed the rest of her life. They confused her (p. 134).
"And faith isn't just feeling. We have to know He's still there, unchanged, even when we can't feel Him. When the grief's too loud to let us hear His voice" (p. 273).
Not to say that God didn't factor it all into His plan. He would use it. But He didn't cause it. The world caused it, their lives caused it, that inevitable probability caused it. Because He'd set a world of order into motion. a world of cause and effect. Actions and reactions (p. 317).
If This was a Movie, I Would Rate It: PG-13 for war-related violence and scenes of peril/danger.
This is my second book finished for #theunreadshelfproject2020 -- yay!