Blurb courtesy of Amazon.
Once London’s top thief, Barclay Pearce has turned his back on his life of crime and now uses his skills for a nation at war. But not until he rescues a clockmaker’s daughter from a mugging does he begin to wonder what his future might hold.
Evelina Manning has constantly fought for independence, but she certainly never meant for it to inspire her fiancé to end the engagement and enlist in the army. When the intriguing man who saved her returns to the Manning residence to study clockwork repair with her father, she can’t help being interested. But she soon learns that nothing with Barclay Pearce is as simple as it seems.
As 1915 England plunges ever deeper into war, the work of an ingenious clockmaker may give England an unbeatable military edge–and Germany realizes it as well. Evelina’s father soon finds his whole family in danger–and it may just take a reformed thief to steal the time they need to escape.
Join Barclay and Evelina in a whirlwind adventure. Here we find ourselves in a London on the brink of war. Barclay and his family are only trying to survive, by any means necessary. Although Barclay has turned over a new leaf and has turned away from thievery, it seems that the past is not ready to let go of Barclay. As it is with most of us, the things we would rather leave behind always seem to be the things that keep coming back to haunt us.
Evelina’s father is a clockmaker, tinkerer, and – it would seem – an inventer. He has something in mind that could change the war. His synchronization gear would allow pilots to fire bullets between propellers. The problem he faces is that he cannot get the parts he needs, and no one in the patent office seems to think that he is capable of actually making it work.
As his family continues to grow, Barclay finds himself on Evelina’s doorstep with orders to help her father if he can, and steal the plans if he must. When Barclay chooses to reveal who he truly is to Manning, the two of them put their best foot forward in order to finish the plans. But when Germany finds out that England might soon have an advantage, they do everything in their power to make sure the advantage finds its way into their own hands.
The last thing Barclay expected was to find himself thrust into Evelina’s world. He is nothing but a street rat, and she is most definitely high society. Barclay’s life centers around taking care of his sisters. He never dreamed that there might be more for him. While Evelina is threatened by a mugger, and then suffers from a broken engagement, Barclay finds himself in a position to love someone who is more than another sister.
Any other time, Evelina would not give Barclay a second glance, but when he comes to her rescue, she is forced to acknowledge that there is more to Barclay Pearce than meets the eye. Barclay shows Evelina what family truly is. Family is not just a name, family is sacrifice, and love. Family is giving to those more needy than yourself.
The entire theme of the book centers around clocks. White did a wonderful job weaving everything together as God is referenced as the great clockmaker. People’s actions, their dance with one another, and how it all works together become the gears that God turns. Thinking of God in this fashion gave me an entirely new perspective on how our lives are connected to one another. When one gear turns, it affects the one next to it, and so on, and so on down the line. Everything that we do has a reaction to someone else. What we do affects others, and that fact was showcased to a wonderful degree in An Hour Unspent.
Barclay’s family is delightful, and there are so many of them I still don’t think I have them all sorted out. They might not be related by blood, but they are family nonetheless, and this is a great reminder that family is about how you treat others, not who gave birth to whom. Barclay himself was almost too good to be true. He is a true hero, always thinking of others before himself, and willing to sacrifice his own life for those he loves.
Evelina is strong and determined. Once she is set on the true path, she does not falter, no matter what might stand in her way. Although she struggles to overcome Barclay’s past, she cannot doubt his love for his family. When her own family is threatened, she refuses to sit back and let Barclay take care of the problem for her.
I thought the characters were entirely relatable, and I enjoyed this journey into London. It was a different perspective to see London on the brink of war, and White did a marvelous job of capturing both the fear of war and the heroism that came from it. I would gladly read more books about the many other members of Barclay’s family.
I received a copy of this book via NetGalley, however, I was not required to leave a review. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.