Grace A. Johnson
On Wings of Devotion: Review
#1 This is a long review, so pull up a chair and grab a bowl of popcorn. You'll be here awhile. #2 When I read a review, I want substantial information. So I will not skimp on the details. Which will mean some spoilers, so watch out.
Wow. I am not in the right condition to be writing a review right now--especially this one. I got little sleep last night, consumed by this book. I'll try to make sense, be legible, convey what I want conveyed...but I doubt I can. I'm still in my "Camden" funk.
Firstly, I just want to say that if that gorgeous cover doesn't hook you, then this should...
Against Every Warning, She's Drawn Ever Closer to the Man Known as "Black Heart"
All of England thinks Major Phillip Camden a monster—a man who deliberately caused the deaths of his squadron. But he would have preferred to die that day with his men rather than be recruited to the Admiralty's codebreaking division. The threats he receives daily are no great surprise and, in his opinion, well deserved.
As nurse Arabelle Denler observes the so-dubbed "Black Heart," she sees something far different: a hurting man desperate for mercy. And when their families and paths twist together unexpectedly, she realizes she has a role to play in his healing—and some of her own to do as well.
With Camden's court-martial looming, an old acquaintance shows up, intent on using him in a plot that sends the codebreakers of Room 40 into a frenzy. With their fragile hopes for the future in the cross hairs, Arabelle and Camden must hold on to hope—and to each other—if they want to survive.
And if that doesn't make you want to pick up this beautiful book, then what about this quote that just tugs at my heartstrings?
"He'd already bled out. Everything red and pulsing and alive long since gone. He hadn't a heart anymore, just a slab of rock. Black and hard and lifeless."
That's Phillip Camden--or Cam.
And this...this is Arabelle.
"You are everything. Everything. Everything good, everything bright. Everything worthwhile."
"He opened his eyes so he could look into hers. Golden. Specks of green, specks of brown. All light. He craved it. Wanted to pull her closer until that light had a hope of reaching him, edging out the black."
This is NOT a "Christian Historical Romance." This is a soul-deep spiritual love story that reaches into the depths of one's heart and extracts every long-buried feeling and brings it to the light of Christ. This is the romance of a man and his Creator, his Friend, his Savior, his Lover. And how one woman laid down all her dreams to show that man the light.
This story touched me...whew, did it touch me! One thing's for sure, I'll never be the same after reading On Wings of Devotion
Roseanna M. White is one of my favorite authors--has been for years. Maybe I'm biased. But after reading The Number of Love earlier this year, I was kind of like...eh. Maybe she's lost her touch, right?
I think she got better, because this book far surpasses anything she's ever written.
I could nitpick. Lord knows I want to--I like to criticize. But I can't. The only thing I didn't like is that this book ended. And the villain of the story, of course. I didn't like that particular person, but that's expected, yes?
Firstly, I'll give a quick compare/contrast between The Number of Love and this beautiful story. The former precedes On Wings of Devotion, connected by entwining timelines, characters, events, etc. That's when we met Camden, the best part of both books.
I liked The Number of Love. But that's just it. I didn't love it. The suspense/action/mystery was good. So was the historic detail. The characters, the romance, and the spiritual fell short for me. Drake and Margot had more a friendship than anything else--there was no spark. And both characters make better secondary than primary. Drake was flat--Margot's faith in God made me screw my mouth up in a frown. The only reason I kept going was because I couldn't put it down--I was hoping it would get better. I was falling in love with Camden. And I needed to know how it ended, of course.
Not so with On Wings of Devotion. I could've put it down--I did for a minute, too. But I picked it back up, because this story wrapped around me, these characters stole my heart, and my mind wouldn't stop pounding with the words I'd read for me to sleep.
I don't think I could survive without this story.
At first glance, it's another White novel. Strong heroine, charming hero. Intriguing plot. Villainous villains and misled antagonists. History. Suspense. A distinct voice that makes you want to smile.
But deep down, there's so much more. More than any of her stories had ever had. A deeper spirituality--not like A Soft Breath of Wind, where the portrayal of the Holy Spirit and God's power gave me chills. But like a gentle breeze, a soft song. A love like a river--not a fountain, a geyser, or an ocean. A river--gentle, endless, pulling you with a current into something more, something greater, something better.
I had some reservations at first. The first few pages were eh. I was worried that I wouldn't like the characters. That there wouldn't be much of a plot. You see, Camden has been around for years. White has given him so many different stories--none of which were published, of course, but as an author myself I know how characters and their stories are. Sometimes they're stuck in them, and moving them is like moving an African to China--so obvious that they don't belong, that they came from something different and were meant for something else. I loved him in the brief moments he was in The Number of Love, but some characters are better secondary than primary. They're a good friend, but getting into their head...not so much.
Arabelle really had me worried. I was afraid she'd be bland.
She's different than any of White's other heroines--still the same, strong and stubborn and determined and witty and clever. But there's something more.
I think it's the light in her hazel eyes.
Anyway...we've established the characters were simply too lovable. They beat Margot and Drake. They made me want to laugh and cry--oddly, I never wanted to hit them over the head. Hmm. Good thing?
The plot was great. It was eyebrow-raising at first, but as I got to know the characters more, I realized that this was actually character-driven rather than action-packed. They steered me in all sorts of different directions, took me on a journey I'll never forget.
I'm super excited for A Portrait of Loyalty. The hero and heroine of that story are met in here--and I'm pretty sure I'm in love with them too.
I'm once again astounded--because I always am when it comes to stories I was afraid of for some reason or another.
This is up there on my favorites list--Camden's fault? And if Roseanna doesn't write more stories with this same...feeling...then I might cry myself to sleep for a month straight and bestow my affections upon another author.
(Probably not. I'll just reread this one.)
Long story short, I love this book. I wouldn't change a thing about it. It's beautiful. Everyone should read it--if they don't, then they'll live the rest of their existence only half a person. Oh, and Chapter 14 was hands-down my favorite. Bookmark that one, readers. I could keep on going. I think I could write about how much I love this book until, well, until the world stops turning. There's so much more I want to say...but I won't. Read it for yourself. Please.
Even Camden is saying please over here, which is so unlike him.
You want this review summed up in one word? Wow.
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the author and in return gave my honest review.
(Originally published January 2nd, 2020.)