Review: The Nature of a Lady by Roseanna M. White
I told y'all it was coming. My review, I mean. I wasn't gonna leave y'all hanging all year or anything.
Or read about the wonderful author here!
#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 may mean some spoilers, so watch out.
Synopsis: Lady Elizabeth Sinclair had planned on running from a marriage arranged by her older brother—only, upon her arrival to the Scillies, she realizes that she may have run straight into the arms of danger...and maybe even the arms of love.
Favorite Quote: All of them!!! But if I have to pick just one…
“He knows your name. Not Libby, not Elizabeth Sinclair. Your true name, the one at the heart of you that has never been spoken. He knows you, and He calls you by it. You, in all your uniqueness. You, in all that makes you different from others. You, in all that you have in common with them. He knows you, and He calls you by name. He knows how you fit into this world.”
I have read all but one of Roseanna M. White’s books. I’ve read her biblical fiction, Love Finds You in Annapolis, Maryland (as in, before it became A Heart’s Revolution), both the Culper Rings and Ladies of the Manor series twice, her two short stories, and for the last four years, I have been quite literally devouring every single new book she writes the moment I can get my hands on it.
I know the streets of London like the back of my hand, the ins and outs of high society, the best way to remain hidden in shadows whilst spying on Redcoats. I keep Camden and Lukas and Samuel on my bed because they are hands-down three of the best ever heroes. I’ve done the whole off-again/on-again relationship with White’s novels for so long—loving some, disliking others, being wholly engrossed in everything she writes anyway.
After On Wings of Devotion, I thought it couldn’t get any better. And for a while, it didn’t. A Portrait of Loyalty was good, but certainly not my favorite. Dreams of Savannah was amazing, and I loved the portrayal of the Civil War (and, more importantly, Southerners), but it was missing some little something that would have hoisted it to the #1 spot.
Then The Nature of a Lady showed up, and boy howdy, it got better!
I mean, Oliver isn’t Camden or Cayton. Libby isn’t Ara or Zip. It wasn’t as intriguing as the Culper Rings, as mysterious as The Codebreakers, as exciting as Shadows Over England. It wasn’t as romantic as On Wings of Devotion or A Lady Unrivaled. It wasn’t as raw as A Stray Drop of Blood or as powerful as A Soft Breath of Wind. It wasn’t as political or cultural as Dreams of Savannah.
But, y’all. Y’all. Y’all. Y’ALL. y a l l . . .
(I will devise a million different ways to write y’all.)
this book was perfect
there i said it
(Now you may dis me for not using periods or proper capitalization.)
IT WAS EVERYTHING. All of it, all at once.
Raw emotion, Holy Ghost power, mystery and intrigue, PIRATES, sugary sweet, tender romance—times two! I mean, I honestly don’t know what to say.
Let me put it like this:
Libby was an amazing heroine. No, she was not my favorite of White’s heroines. No, she wasn’t perfect. No, I didn’t feel for her like I do Charity O’Connor or Eliyana Ember. But she was different, unique—but not in an overbearing way. She wasn’t trying to be unique. She just was. And I mean that from an author’s point-of-view. Her character wasn’t forced or contrived. White wasn’t confining her to a strict idea of how her character should be to move the plot along. Libby was natural, graceful, flowing. That’s really what I liked about her. I got a little upset with her over the whole science/evolution thing, but she was never forceful about it—toward other characters or in her own mind.
Ugh. I’m not making any sense.
Let me just compare her to Margot. Margot is probably one of my least favorite White heroines (I know, I know; everybody else likes her...I just have to be the odd one out, okay?). She wouldn’t depend on God or surrender herself to Him. She forced her opinions and views on other people (no matter if they were right or wrong). She had her strengths, yes. But I couldn’t get past her weaknesses to appreciate her good qualities.
But Libby? She was like a Margot do-over for me—same goes for Oliver with Drake. She was a softer, gentler, kinder, more mature version of Margot. Libby was so kind and unassuming—like Arabella. But also intelligent and progressive like Margot—just not to the point of being annoying.
Yes, she committed the great sin of rebelling from authority (yes, that’s the great feminist sin in my mind; it’s really a matter of morals and scripture rather than opinion). But I feel like she handled the situation better. And that’s really all I have to say about that. Libby was just better than Margot. There.
Can I just say, though, that she had that insightful, tenderhearted air of Arabella that just made her all the more perfect? I mean, can you imagine Margot saying something like this to Drake?
“It’s you that see people, Oliver. Sees them truly, sees them clearly. Sees them with purpose—and that purpose is to care.”
She truly cared for Oliver and wanted to help him see what a good man he was—and where he needed to change. And she loved Mamm-wynn and Mabena and even her brother (I think). Her compassion and love for people was there, which was so beautiful to witness.
He was just so...Oliver.
Like, I shouldn’t like him, because he’s nice and calm and too perfect. He’s not Cam. He’s another one of White’s too-perfect, too-sweet, too-handsome, too-kind, too-loving, too-darn-beautiful heroes. Like Peter, Drake, Thad, Brice, Samuel—all of those adorable munchkins. (Yes, I just called them munchkins. Don’t give me that look.)
But here’s the thing, guys.
I liked Oliver.
More than that, I loved him as much as I love Peter and Samuel (because those are the munchkins I was referring to, not Drake and Thad).
Why? Because he had his faults too. Not his insecurities—Peter and Sam and Brice and all had insecurities, not faults.
Oliver quite literally had faults. Not to mention he was extremely sarcastic (which is actually not a fault, believe it or not).
To prove my point, cue my favorite Oliver quotes:
“Isn’t it tiring, being such a blighter all the time?”
“I’m right and they’re wrong.”
“Well, if you’re giving me a choice—I’ll take the flirting.”
Can it get any better? No. It can’t.
Oliver was just everything perfect. Strong, loving, kind, understanding. He didn’t presume (although Casek’s presumptuous attitude was seriously adorable, but we’ll get to that in a second). He didn’t push. He just stood there, a little smile on his face, eyes shining with love, waiting for you to open up and spill all of your woes and tears on his shoulder.
Ugh, yes. He was just too perfect.
At the same time, he sucked at being friends with Casek. He was prejudiced, prideful, persuasive. (I seriously just wrote that so I could get an Austen pun in. He was really only judgmental toward Caz, which is a terrible offense in my book.) He couldn’t get past the surface to see the man’s soft, teddy-bear heart. Because, y’all, Casek Wearne has a heart!
And in addition to his heart, he is currently in possession of mine, ‘cuz, y’all. This man. Caz. Casek Wearne. Mr. Hottest Headmaster Ever. (Can I say my ‘ansum?)
I know I should continue gushing about how wonderful and tender Oliver was and how sweet he was with Libby and how cute they were together and how godly Ollie was and all, but Casek is demanding all of my attention right now.
With good reason.
Quite possibly, he was the best part of this book. And there were a ton of good parts, so that’s saying something.
He and Oliver were a lot alike—just like Libby and Mabena had more similarities than differences—which is probably the main reason why they butted heads all the time. And then they contrasted in other ways, of course, so it was fun to see both guys. Even if Casek didn’t get the POV he deserved.
Speaking of Benna...she was an awesome character as well! Actually, there wasn’t a single character I disliked even the slightest bit in this entire book—except for the bad guys, of course. Surprisingly, I didn’t like her quite as much as Libby, but her relationship with Caz? Perfection!
To wrap up my gushing over the characters...Sheridan was fabulous. I had him enlisted for a story from the moment I met him, so I am beyond excited to see him in a future book! And Bram was just as amazing—though not quite as humorous. The two of them together, however? Priceless! Honestly, if I were Libby, I would’ve married Sher just because of how stinkin’ funny he is! What a guy. What a guy.
Oh, wait. I haven’t even gotten started on Mamm-wynn. Here, let me make this short.
I want a grandma like Mamm-wynn (no offense to my actual grandmothers, I assure you). Scratch that—I want to be a grandma like Mamm-wynn. On top of that, she is now one of my two favorite fictional grannies (which is a thing, yes). The other is Bernia from Tamara Leigh’s Merciless. That woman stole my heart, let me tell you!
And even though Mamm-wynn is slightly different, she is hands-down one of the best grandmas and definitely one of the best characters in history.
So there’s that.
Speaking of Mamm-wynn, I absolutely loved the spiritual content White included. Ever since reading A Soft Breath of Wind, I’ve been on the edge of my seat waiting for that novel including both her signature historical style and the Holy Ghost power in her biblical fiction…
For a time, I thought the book would never be written…
But then! The Nature of a Lady.
Yes, the little vignettes of Holy Spirit were so beautiful! I got the chills multiple times. The wisdom and discernment—dare I say prophetic aspects—that Mamm-wynn and even Oliver possessed made the story so much richer. With my Pentecostal beliefs, it’s guaranteed that I’ll be a hundred kinds of excited when I see authors pouring the power of the Spirit of God into their stories.
Plus, the addition of the spiritual world made Libby’s arc so much more amazing.
Here, I’ll just let Mamm-wynn explain it for y’all:
“He can whisper the future to His prophets. He can send and heal plagues. He can raise the dead.”
“We see only in part. But there is more. More to this physical world that your magnifying lenses can show you. And more still beyond it that we need a spiritual lens to see.”
So, yeah. That was just the cherry on top.
And I haven’t even gotten started on how lovely the setting was. I am seriously moving to the Scillies.
So, um, yeah. I think I’ll quit while I’m ahead. If you skipped all the crazy stream-of-consciousness, I don’t blame you.
I’ll just sum things up for y’all with one simple sentence: GO BUY THIS BOOK.
Disclaimer: A complimentary copy of this book was provided by the publisher, publicist, or author, including NetGalley. All opinions expressed are my own.
Roseanna M. White is a bestselling, Christy Award nominated author who has long claimed that words are the air she breathes. When not writing fiction, she’s homeschooling her two kids, editing, designing book covers, and pretending her house will clean itself. Roseanna is the author of a slew of historical novels that span several continents and thousands of years. Spies and war and mayhem always seem to find their way into her books…to offset her real life, which is blessedly ordinary. You can learn more about her and her stories at www.RoseannaMWhite.com.