Not by Sight / by Kate Breslin. 5.5.2016

Bethany House ISBN 9780764211614

Adult Rating: 5

Grace Mabry and her friends discover that not all is as it appears in Not by Sight, a historical novel set during WWI. Led by a desire to support British troops–her brother specifically–Grace attends a costume ball with the intention of shaming any able-bodied male in attendance who should be fighting for king and country. When she spies Jack Benningham, Lord Roxwood, Grace presents him with a white flower symbolizing cowardice. The ensuing consequences from her father lead Grace to join the Women’s Forage Corp (WFC) where she joins five other women to work in agriculture. While working at the Stonebrooke estate, Grace experiences a new lifestyle, intrigue, and romance.

Through her excellent characterization, fascinating plot, and well-developed setting, Kate Breslin opens a window into WWI-era England. Though Not by Sight focuses on Grace’s and Jack’s lives, the stories of the WFC women sprinkled throughout the book add interest and historical detail. Part spy novel, part romance–the plot moves quickly. From a ballroom in England to the Stonebrooke estate, and even to prison, the settings provide further insight into the characters, and some wonderful descriptions are presented through clever dialogue. As the novel progresses, the mood of intrigue and blossoming romance is suffused with the hope that Grace naturally plants wherever she goes.

There are several worthy themes throughout. The primary themes focus on the importance of realizing that not all people or situations are as they seem, and the magnitude of trusting God to transform our meager efforts into something beautiful and worthwhile. The characters grow in their faith as expressed in Grace’s response to a question about faith: ”We live by it…” (p. 366)

Kristina Wolcott, CLJ