I think I love spy novels even more than frontier stories. I don’t know if it’s the secret codes or the chance to become someone you’re not. The way people who aren’t quite normal in regular life find meaning and purpose. At least a little bit of it is the way the work that is done in secret can save lives, stop wars before they start, or reduce the casualty count. Maybe it’s because there are spies in the Bible. But if spy novels are just plain awesome, historical spy novels are the next level. My favorites are World War I, World War II, Cold War stories. Today’s technology makes for some great gadgets, but I love the human element and the old school, hands-on ways of doing things. So take my love for historical fiction, all things intelligence, and the last Roseanna M. White book I read, and you can bet I was eagerly anticipating The Number of Love.
This post was originally shared on the Real World Bible Study Blog
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A Great WWI Story
Ms. White tells a great story, long enough for my taste too! She’ll make you fall in love with the world of WWI codebreakers, and with a young lady who thinks and feels in the land of numbers. This gal is really, really smart! You’ll feel a sense of good vs. evil and a sense of purpose – even a hunger to find purpose in what you do every day. And you may find yourself thinking about the “bad guy” through different eyes too. I am really looking forward to reading more of The Codebreakers series!
This Girl is a True Believer
I was so glad to get to know a cast of characters with a Catholic background. See, while I’m not Catholic, and I’m not always on the same page theologically with my Catholic brothers and sisters, we serve the same Christ. In Protestant circles, Catholics have a reputation for being more ritualistic than religious, but I think you’ll find the same thing to some degree in any tradition. In every group of Christians, you’ll find “nominal” believers (I call them “cultural Christians”) and true believers. The Catholics in this story, like so many, are true believers, and their journey of faith so closely resembles mine.
I loved how our heroine, Margot, sees the enemy. When her home was occupied in Belgium by the Germans years before, she learned “that a uniform didn’t make a man by nature a friend or an enemy. But choice did.” Even as she faithfully serves as a codebreaker in the secret Room 40, her desire is not to see the enemy destroyed but the enemy stopped. At the end of the day, at the end of the battle, at the end of the war, the guy in the other uniform is a son, a brother, a father, a husband, a patriot. Margot’s love for her enemy comes out in a beautiful way at the end of the story.
“Das Gespenst,” one of the German spies in The Number of Love, thinks of Margot not as an enemy, but an opponent. The difference is honor. Respect. And a different desire, because when you defeat your opponent, you can shake hands and move on to the next match. When you defeat an enemy, the enemy is destroyed.
Margot’s war, “The Great War” as it was called, seems a lot more cut-and-dry than some of our wars today. Today the battle lines seem more blurry. How much more important, then, is Margot’s perspective? On the other side of the battle, no matter how important, is another human, another life created in God’s image.
It doesn’t mean we shouldn’t fight.
There are times to stand and fight, to come between evil and the innocent and say “it stops here.” But we fight with God’s heart for those who oppose us. We grieve when there is loss, because God grieves. Maybe, too, we can fight in the way of honor. A way that honors God, that honors those who have gone before us, and yes, even our opponents. The Number of Love reminds us that in whatever fight, be it on the battlefield, the courtroom, or even with your coworker or neighbor or your teenager, we can remember that Satan, not the human in front of us, is the real enemy.
43 “You have heard that it was said, You must love your neighbor[a] and hate your enemy. 44 But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who harass you45 so that you will be acting as children of your Father who is in heaven. He makes the sun rise on both the evil and the good and sends rain on both the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love only those who love you, what reward do you have? Don’t even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet only your brothers and sisters, what more are you doing? Don’t even the Gentiles do the same? 48 Therefore, just as your heavenly Father is complete in showing love to everyone, so also you must be complete. – Matthew 5:43-48 CEB
The Number of Love is on Tour with Celebrate Lit
About the Book
The Toughest Puzzle She’ll Have to Solve
Might be the Wishes of Her Own Heart
Three years into the Great War, England’s greatest asset is their intelligence network—field agents risking their lives to gather information, and codebreakers able to crack every German telegram. Margot De Wilde thrives in the environment of the secretive Room 40, where she spends her days deciphering intercepted messages. But when her world is turned upside down by an unexpected loss, she discovers for the first time in her life that numbers aren’t enough.
Drake Elton returns wounded from the field, followed by an enemy who just won’t give up. He’s smitten quickly by the intelligent Margot, but soon the dangers of the war draw ever closer. Margot and Drake will have to work together to save themselves from the very secrets that brought them together.
Click here to purchase your copy.
More from Roseanna
When I told my best friend and critique partner what book I was pitching next to my publisher, her response was something along the lines of, “That sounds awesome. Also, you’re crazy, and I do not envy you writing that one.”
I laughed…and knew exactly what she meant.
Because I was setting out to write a heroine who was a mathematician—which I am definitely not. A heroine who was utterly indifferent to love and marriage—which makes for a difficult story when one writes romance. A character who had an unshakeable faith—which has to be shaken at least a bit in order to make for growth throughout the story. And more, a character who has “issues,” let’s call it, that those familiar with such things will recognize…and which those who aren’t will probably think are quirks.
I was setting out to write a story that would be challenging for me, every step of the way. And the result is a book I’m incredibly in love with and so happy to share with the world.
The Number of Love is all about Margot, who thinks and even prays in numbers.
Born and raised in Belgium, she and her family fled to England in 1914 when the Germans invaded her homeland. Thanks to her remarkable abilities with numbers and patterns, she’s now employed at Room 40, the Admiralty’s secret codebreaking branch. But as I was contemplating what sort of man could ever win Margot’s heart, I knew he had to be very different… someone active where she’s still. Someone outgoing where she turns inward. Someone who sees in her what she never can, and who believes she can grasp the dreams that society tells her are unbefitting a woman. This is how Drake was born—a field agent employed by Room 40.
Math for Writers?
I can honestly say this is the only book I’ve ever written that required me to borrow my daughter’s algebra book while I was writing it, LOL. And though every single scene was a challenge, it was one I thoroughly enjoyed. I hope you’ll join me on the journey that Margot and Drake are on, which answer the question my husband cheekily asked more than once as I was writing it: what is the number of love?
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