Zivon Marin was one of Russia's top cryptographers until the October Revolution tore apart his world. Forced to flee to England after speaking out against Lenin, Zivon is driven by a growing anger and determined to offer his services to the Brits. But never far from his mind is his brother, who Zivon fears died in the train crash that separated them.
Lily Blackwell sees the world best through the lens of a camera and possesses unsurpassed skill when it comes to retouching and re-creating photographs. With her father's connections in propaganda, she's recruited to the intelligence division, even though her mother would disapprove if she ever found out.
After Captain Blackwell invites Zivon to dinner one evening, a friendship blooms between him and Lily that soon takes over their hearts. But both have secrets they're unwilling to share, and neither is entirely sure they can trust the other. When Zivon's loyalties are called into question, proving him honest is about more than one couple's future dreams—it becomes a matter of ending the war.
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. She and her family make their home in the beautiful mountains of West Virginia. You can learn more about her and her stories at www.RoseannaMWhite.com. see also Roseanna White
I think it's safe to say that I'm pretty much obsessed with Roseanna M. White's books. I devour everything she writes. I've loved this Codebreakers series and I really thought On Wings of Devotion, the previous one in the set, would end up being my favorite in the series. (Phillip the pilot!! *insert heart eye emojis*) But oh my goodness, this one just became my new fave for several reasons: I have an obsession with Russian history so Zivon's storyline, the plot with the Bolsheviks and his brother, was absolutely enthralling to me. Plus, I loved the heroine's photography work with British WWI intelligence. It was intriguing and it rang with authenticity. It's easy to give a character a cool career, but White made Lily's career feel real—not only by including details about camera work and photo retouching but also in the way the reader gets to see the world through Lily's eyes. The author walks such a perfect line between including details/research but not so much that you get bogged down or bored. The plot was wonderfully paced and the characters grabbed ahold of me from the first pages. The romance was as captivating as the element of mystery and suspense. I LOVE this one!!
I am so happy to be done with the Codebreakers series in the sense that I loved it so much and enjoyed every page I read. I am sorry to see it end though. Please,please do yourself a big favor and even though each book can be read as a stand alone I highly recommend reading the series from the start as the books all come together and you will much better understand the stories. Though a fictional series it's based on true events and happenings and I so much appreciate all the hard work and research the author has put into her writing of this series. It was all so intriguing and had me turning pages one after another so quickly just to find out what happens not to mention the lack of sleep I got because well you know, just one more chapter turns into half the night reading. But I really couldn't resist with this one! Highly recommend this whole series!
Pub Date 08 Sep 2020 I was given a complimentary copy of this book. Thank you. All opinions expressed are my own.
I am pretty sure this is the sixth book by Roseanna M. White that I have read this year, so I may sound like a broken record gushing again, but I love this author. I'm so impressed by her. A Portrait of Loyalty is a lovely conclusion to The Codebreakers series. As always, the history and characterization shine.
This little piece of dialogue from p. 272-273 sticks with me: "Who said love had to be shackles? I'm not trying to hold you anywhere, force you to do anything. This is a gift. . . I hope you'll accept my love--not as a prison trying to make you be something you don't want to be. But as . . . wings." As soon as I heard this, I thought how much this reminds me of God's love for us. It isn't shackles, but freedom, in so many ways.
I listened to the audio version of A Portrait of Loyalty by Roseanna White and really enjoyed it. It's been a great series set in England during WW One. The characters were very unique and the twists and turns in the story kept me guessing what would happen. The narrator did a great job with the Russian and British accents. Well written and highly recommended!
I’m a big fan of Ms. White’s books and an even bigger fan of The Codebreakers series. Although I knew I’d enjoy this book, I wasn’t exactly sure what about it would capture my attention. Let’s just say the character depth of Zivon and Lilly is what impressed me.
I loved how Lily saw the world with a photographer’s eye and inspired those around her to do the same. I loved how cool and calm Zivon was (outwardly) but his mind was going a hundred miles a minute. I found myself looking for these little details and trying to guess what would happen in each of their scenes.
I also thought the romance between them was beautiful. It made me smile and the letters! (Eek, is that a spoiler?) Their romance was full of all the sighs and all the feels and all the smiles.
And seeing the characters from books one and two made me squeal (more so in my head than out loud) and produce more sighs. All in all, book 3 was a nice way to end the series. Now for me to wait for her next release.
*I'd mark this 4.5 **I received a complimentary copy from the publisher via NetGalley. My review was not required nor influenced.
Whew. All three books within this series have been wonderful. I thought each was better than the last, but I’m hard pressed to pick a favorite.
1918, London England Main characters Lily Blackwell, photographer aiding the navy Zivon Marin, Russian escaping the Bolshevik revolution Ivy Blackwell, Lily's sister, grade school teacher Evgeni Marin, Zivon's brother, a Bolshevik, unbeknownst to Zivon Admiral Hall, Lily's boss Father Evgeny Smirnov, Catholic priest helpful to Zivon Barclay Pearce, from previous series Margot De Wilde, character from previous codebreakers book Brook, duchess from another series Arabelle and Camden, characters also from another series
What I liked: — In many of her books this author brings back characters from other series. I love this! — Very clean, and a sweet romance with an awwwww-factor. — A clear faith message — Intelligent plot lines and dialog. Well researched — Plot complications without going overboard — Not so many characters that I can’t remember them all — Not all sweetness within the storyline. There were some hard surprises — Having grown up around Russians in my neighborhood I enjoyed reading words I knew well, however they weren’t in Cyrillic, understandably — The characters! Wonderful! — The history, the history, the history!
What I wasn’t fond of: — Mother's reaction and long silence after she found out her daughter's occupation. Yes, she was deceived, but there was good reason. Redemption and reconciliation followed, so that helped.
Do you know the best thing about a favorite author coming out with a new book? That a favorite author has a new book.
Do you know the worst thing about a favorite author coming out with a new book? Reading it in two hours.
Wow, I love how "A Portrait of Loyalty" is not your usual WWI story.
There's romance, there's intrigue, there's hope, there's sadness, there's just so many emotions, thoughts, and feelings spinning through your mind as you read this new masterpiece from Roseanna M. White.
I highly recommend you read this book!
Sixteen up due to kissing, mentions of unsaved characters who sleep together, and a pregnancy outside of romance.
I voluntarily received and reviewed a complimentary e/copy of this book which I received from the author/publisher/review company. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.
White does it again. I greatly enjoyed this eagerly-anticipated conclusion to The Codebreakers series. Despite having written such a large catalogue of books, each of White's main characters still stays so unique and one-of-a-kind. With some others, I feel like all the characters start to blend into one after they've written enough books, but not so with White's characters. Getting to see the world through Lily's eyes was a beautiful treat and I loved her strong, yet tender character and sense of loyalty. At first, I wasn't overly excited about Zivon being our protagonist in this book, but I quickly realized I was wrong! His strong sense of family and loyalty, yet desire for justice and truth, even when those collided, gave such strength to his character.
This was a thrilled conclusion to the series, and I eagerly anticipate what Roseanna White has up her sleeve next! I cannot recommend this series enough!
Oh my goodness. Roseanna White is simply the best. I’m going to miss Barclay Pearce/family and al the Codebreakers. Sooooooo good. Just... I’m gushing in my mind, y’all. Can’t do her or her work justice with a simple review. Just read them all!
One of the redeeming factors to be found in 2020 is that this year saw the release of books two AND three in Roseanna White's The Codebreakers. While A Portrait of Loyalty is the final installment - a fact I am loathe to acknowledge - this novel is a gorgeously-writ capstone to White's World War I-era fiction. Here White introduces Zivon Marin, a Russian royalist who fled to England to escape Bolshevik persecution. A master cryptographer, he is determined to offer his services to England and work to restore the tsar and pre-revolution social order in which he believes - an order he sees threatened by everything Lenin's followers hold dear. The pain and loss inflicted by the revolution threaten to drown Zivon in anger and grief, until an invitation to dinner from a colleague introduces him to Lily Blackwell, a passionate photographer who manages to see beauty every time she looks through her camera lens.
But Lily's passion for photography masks a secret: she is the photography expert used by British Intelligence to help both interpret intel and create expert fakes to help tell the story her superiors want Germany to believe. Lily's story touches beautifully on the tension between art and intent, as Lily struggles to reconcile her work for the war effort with her mother's disapproval of the mere idea of using one's gifts - even in the name of service to one's country - to manipulate the perception of truth and reality. I adore Lily and Zivon's blossoming romance, as she has always taken second place to her more vivacious sister, until meets Zivon, his intent and passion masking secrets that threaten to destroy his future - a mystery she cannot leave unsolved.
I've always had an interest in Russian history, and here I love how White delves into both sides of the Revolution through the opposing perspectives of Zivon and his younger brother Evgeni. Its rare to see such a balanced depiction of the Bolshevik perspective which really drives home the cost of the conflict in a raw, personal way, particularly given how Evgeni was willing to gamble with his brother's life and future happiness. These novels consistently play with the theme of family - and found family - and its that concept and the gift of grace within those relationships that make Zivon's arc from battered, embittered expatriat to a man once again confident and hopeful in his faith and his future all the more impactful.
Given this novel is set during 1918 the portion concerning the Spanish Flu felt eerily timely given the current pandemic. Although it broke my heart, I deeply appreciated that White did not diminish the scope and toll of the 1918 flu relative to her characters. Lily's reaction to the flu and its aftermath felt eerily prescient, a stark and sobering reminder that humanity's reaction to our current circumstance is not, perhaps, as "unprecedented" as news headlines might have one believe. And even so, through tragedy, God's mercy and provision remain equally constant, a potent counterpoint to the pull of hopelessness and uncertainty.
I adored Zivon and Lily's story, peppered with cameos from beloved characters introduced in previous books. More than just a standalone romance, White has crafted a fully realized world and family of characters that I adore spending time with. I don't re-read a lot of novels given the size of my TBR stack, but these are books I will happily choose to revisit as often as possible. White is a master at nuanced character development, organic faith threads, suspenseful plotting, and heart-stopping, swoonworthy romance. Like its predecessors, A Portrait of Loyalty is a masterclass in transportive, immersive historical fiction populated with characters sketched so real they leap fully formed from the page to the heart. I adored every moment!
Lily and Zivon’s story was the perfect ending to this series. It was more sweet and solid than suspenseful, compared to the other books. Also compared to the other book, this one seemed a little more distant from the actual war than the others, but perhaps that’s because it was toward the end of the war.
Being a hobby photographer myself, it was fun to learn facts about photography from WWI and I especially loved the work Lily did for the war effort.
And the Spanish Flu! Having recently researched it myself, I loved seeing it featured in a WWI novel, even though it was heart wrenching.
I personally liked Nadya and Evgeni’s story. Roseanna White did a great job with making the characters fully convinced of their beliefs, even though as an American reader you can fully see the flaws in their reasoning. They believed their reasons, so it came off as believable—and very sad.
The romance was probably more of a steady thread in this than anything else, but it was more a sweet romance. There were a few kisses described in detail and a situation of a couple living together, but I appreciated the way it was presented as fact without providing the intimate details.
The spiritual message was consistent throughout the story, especially Zivon learning how to wait on the Lord. Again, these were characters who didn’t force thoughts of Christianity—they just were Christians and were concerned about following God, and it showed.
As a final book in the series, I felt like it tied up all the loose strings, which means I left the series satisfied.
*I received this book from NetGalley and happily provided my honest review*
3.5 stars I had so many mixed emotions with this book. I knew I would like the main characters from the first couple of chapters. Zivon was an awesome guy, and Lilly fit with him perfectly. I loved all the references to photography and seeing characters from previous books. <3 The strong family was also epic. You don't often read a book where the characters a whole family and actually gets along with all of them. It was really nice to read! The ending was very bittersweet. I won't give spoilers, but I got the idea that there will not be another trilogy following any of these character, and that made me kind of sad. But still, all nine books, starting at the Lost Heiress, and ending here were amazing. I loved seeing each of the characters develop and grow. <3
How could I not give this book 5 stars. It is beyond excellent. With all the polish of a John Le Carre novel, Roseanna White concludes her Codebreakers series. Although this story depicts a different era, it reminded me of Tinker, Taylor, Soldier, Spy. From the nesting Russian dolls to the altering of photographs, this story is full of interesting references to the spy game. Characters patterned after real people are fascinating and Ms. White crafts them well. Zivon Marin had to flee Russia and now seeks to help his homeland by being of service to British Intelligence. Lilly Blackwell, whose father works for the government, is a photographic expert for the war effort. I love learning from history and this story proves that old ideas are new again. The old Bolshevik agenda seems to be rearing its ugly head today. But one character says: Quote: I just find it sad that so many people think they can find true happiness by taking. They cannot. We can only ever find it by giving. Ms. White does a great job of showing us how Lily views the world through a photography artist’s eyes. As her mama says: Quote: The camera cannot capture what you do not first see. You always see the beauty. And you have taught me to find it too. God is there. His promises have not changed just because my circumstances have. He is still good. This story is rich in human emotion. Zivon struggles with how to forgive and how to be still and wait on God. Lily wants to be a loyal subject but also seeks to please her mother. The manipulations of war and the heartache of the Spanish Flu become real in this book. Ms. White takes the events of 1918 and personalizes them through her very relatable characters. I am sorry to bud farewell to the Codebreakers but I am oh so glad I met them in these pages. *I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers on behalf of the author. I was not required to give a favorable review. All opinions are my own.*
"Zivon Marin is either the greatest asset or the greatest enemy I've ever encountered. I think he is the first. But I can't dismiss the possibility that he is simply more clever than I."
And that was the real question, wasn't it? Who was Zivon Marin? Friend, foe, or merely a man fleeing one terrible side of a war in order to aid the other. The problem was, who was going to believe him in any scenario? Fortunately, after fleeing Russia and making it into England Zivon has been given a second chance, plus an incredible opportunity to use his vast linguistic skills on behalf of British intelligence. Sadly, he was separated from his younger brother in the process, carrying only snippets of his former life, and one very intriguing photograph.
Lillian Blackwell meets the enigmatic Russian around her own family table, her father having issued Zivon a dinner invitation as he so often did with young men whom he thought might be suitable social companions for his lovely daughters. As an accomplished photographer, Lily sees a man who is shuttered, only giving away token glimpses of what he might be thinking or feeling; a man of sorrows, who has seen far too much taken away to have anything left to give. Nonetheless, as Lily's sister so cleverly points out, "He intrigues you . . . . I maintain that your heart knows something your mind hasn't caught on to yet."
The path that Lily and Zivon travel is not an easy one. Not only is there danger, intrigue, and misunderstanding, but deep seeded guilt and a thirst for revenge vie for attention. Their faith will be tested, their lives rocked by grief and unanswerable questions, but in the end they will state with confidence that "He is God . . .. He has not changed. That the same Lord who loved us when all is well loves us still when all is lost. His promises are as true today as they were yesterday. . . . We must trust that His love is enough to see us through now."
What an incredible story, one that readers will savor long after the pages have finished turning. It is Roseanna White at her very best!
I received a copy of this book from the author and publisher. The opinions stated above are entirely my own.
What a wonderful conclusion to this series! Zivon Marin was one of Russia's premier cryptographers until the October Revolution sent him off to England to escape the Bolsheviks. Fortunately, he was hired on by the British as a beginning cryptographer in the intelligence division as World War 1 continues. Lily Blackwell sees life through her camera lens but has been recruited by the intelligence division to retouch and recreate images to confound the enemy. When their paths cross, will their lives intertwine and romance begin to bloom or be cut short?
Well developed characters, including some from the previous two books, bring this interesting story to life. Lily was definitely a young woman ahead of her times with both her nursing and photography skills. Compassionate and caring along with a deep faith, I enjoyed the way she brought Zavin back to life. The relationship between her and her sister, Ivy, was also endearing. The way the characters all worked together to discover Zavin's real true story was a great conclusion to this series.
What a fascinating historical romance! I was initially drawn toward the codebreakers aspect of it, but the hero’s escape from Russia and the history of the revolution made for an exciting backdrop for the plot.
I loved how Lily was portrayed, and how she saw the world with her eye for photography. The photographs she chose to take, the things that captured her attention, spoke volumes as to her personality and character, and made her incredibly likeable. Her secret job creating falsified photographs was also incredibly interesting.
The hero was a little harder for me to like at first, but then the scene where he happens upon Lily and her sister, and yet he immediately looks at her first, was so incredibly romantic! I was also interested in why he was being pursued by the Russians, and I liked how he felt as an outsider among his codebreakers.
The story was a slow start for me, but it really picked up at around the midpoint and I thoroughly devoured the rest. The ending was so sweet, too! I really enjoyed this one.
Wow! What an ending to this series. I was intrigued by both Zivon and Lily after their appearances (however brief) in Ara and Camden's story, so I was looking forward to seeing their own story unfold in this book. I really liked how both Zivon and Lily were believers, yet each had things they needed to work on to draw closer to God, and how they encouraged each other in that way. I also really liked how their relationship grew naturally from being friends first. The suspenseful element, especially when Zivon's loyalties are called into question was really well played. I wasn't sure how things were going to play out, and there were definitely a few surprises in store. Without giving away spoilers, I will say that there was one character in the book that I hope will eventually get their own story told in some future series/stand alone.
Wow! This book! I have read and enjoyed all of the books in Roseanna White’s Codebreakers series, but this third and final book of the series took me to another level of reading experience. I listened to this wonderfully narrated audiobook and was completely captivated by its storyline, poignancy, spiritual inspiration, character interplay and love in various forms: romantic, familial, and friendship. The series’ time period piqued my interest and made me want to learn more about the Great War. This book made me feel deeply, for the characters and the hardships they went through as well as their triumphs. If I could give more than five stars in this rating, I definitely would. It was that good—so riveting, heart wrenching, suspenseful, dramatic and romantic. I can totally see why it won a recent award for excellence in Christian Historical Romance!
So, this is the story of a photographer in WW1 who doctors photos for the British intelligence service. But just when I felt like the book was on the verge of saying something really interesting about the ethics of espionage & propaganda in wartime, about blind patriotism as a corruptive force, etc. ... the author pulled back at the last minute and said "Nope, actually, she's just following orders, it's fine, she doesn't bear any moral responsibility, and we're not gonna interrogate this issue any further." And I promptly went--
I WAS ROOTING FOR YOU, BOOK
WE WERE ALL ROOTING FOR YOU
Also, the love interest is a highly loyal, highly traditionalist Russian Czarist whose dearest wish is to see the old regime restored and who hates the Communist women's liberation movement--yet he'll also say stuff like "of course I believe women should be free to work outside the home and pursue careers, even if they're married." And I'm like???? Sir???? What????
Show me the Russian Czarist in 1918 who also believed in female emancipation and female economic independence. That's a MAJOR contradiction. And I mean, I understand the author needs this character to be a 21st century girl's Dream Man (supportive, egalitarian, etc) so her modern audience can fall in love with him. I don't usually have a problem with that in historical fiction, even when it's technically anachronistic. But in a story which deals so explicitly with the politics of the day, for the author to show this (male) character holding positions he would not in fact have held, WHILE critiquing and ridiculing the women who actually held those positions and fought for those things as "too extreme" ... that's not cool.
I've not read much about the Russian revolution from the perspective of the Bolsheviks, so this book was very interesting in that regard.
The plot was confusing at times, and while obviously heavily researched, some things were not spelled out for the reader, such as defining the different elements of the Russian political situation, the White Army, the Red Army, etc. I have a passing knowledge of that period, but some more in-depth information would have been helpful.
The characters in the story, however, were wonderfully developed, as is what we've come to expect from this author. The story drew me in from the beginning and held me until the end.
Although these characters didn’t capture me *quite* as much as the others in the series, this wonderful story was a lovely conclusion to the world of Room 40, and I’ve sad to leave these dear friends behind!
Lily and Zivon were sweet and well-matched. Lily’s photography angle was particularly thought-provoking and insightful into the integrity and deception during war and how lines are rarely black and white.
It always makes my heart happy to see familiar faces from the other books. Margot is still my favourite, and I wished to have seen more of her wedding.
The most moving section for me was dealing with the Spanish Flu. Having studied it extensively, it always breaks my heart to read about it, and I shed a few tears over a particular scene. 😭
I wasn’t ready to say goodbye to this world of high-stakes, spies, and intrigue, but I know I’ll be revisiting these books again soon!
Roseanna White knows how to deliver a well-balanced story that inspires, intrigues, and entertains! This book is one that draws you back (if you reach the point where you have to put it down), demanding to be cracked open again and again for more. I loved the characters - Zivon is absolutely endearing with his quiet nature and observant ways, which allow him to prove his loyalty and genuine care through intentional actions and well-chosen words. And Lily is a heroine to root for as she navigates questions and hopes that seek to cross each other while confusing her well-intentioned decisions in life. This series has been so much fun, and this was a great, stirring conclusion! I look forward to more from this author (as well as going back to read what I've missed!).
[I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are mine alone.]
A compelling and timely read, set against tumultuous First World War.
Lily Blackwell is a skilled photographer who not only knows how to take good pictures, but how to edit them. Her father is well connected in the Navy, while her mother shuns the political use of the arts. She wants to do something that matters, putting her skilled eyes to work. I loved how supportive her family is, though they might not always see things the same way.
Zivon, one of Russia's top cryptographers, fled his home country in hopes of helping to bring the war to a favorable end. Zivon is incredibly observant with great intuition that serves him well.
Once I started this book I couldn't put it down, the author does a great job of blending the tension of the times and situation, with strong character growth and relationships. I love how this book delves into the families of Lily and Zivon, we see the relationships and dynamics that make them who they are and bring this story to life. I loved the friendships and the relationships in this book, as well as how it brings back many familiar faces from the previous books in the series. This was a fantastic read all the way through, with amazing chemistry and strong family ties, mystery and intrigue along the way. Highly engaging, with terrific pacing, a fitting conclusion to what has been a truly memorable series!
I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
A Portrait of Loyalty by Roseanna M White is the third book in her Code Breakers series. I gave the first two books in this series 10 out of 10, and this book was just as good, in fact, I think this one is my favourite.
It was a great story. It’s a first world war, historical, romantic suspense. The suspense is more of a side plot at the beginning, but it grows throughout the book.
It follows two main characters: Lily is a photographer working for the code breakers department, and Zivon is a Russian cryptographer who came to Britain to escape from the Bolsheviks.
I loved the romance and the suspense. I loved the characters and how individual and quirky they were. It was really interesting to see the story through their perspectives. The family dynamics were great, and the first world war added more drama to the story.
This is a series that’s going straight into my favourite historical fiction books category, and definitely something I want to reread in the future.
If your ever craving a fantastic historical novel, look no further than Roseanna M. White! She writes with such authenticity, passion, and faith that you will be drawn in and glued to the pages until the end. A Portrait of Loyalty is the third book in the Codebreakers series and it is absolutely enthralling. Lily is a photographer that works with the British Admiralty to retouch and photoshop (before photoshopping was a thing) pictures, helping with the war effort. Her skills are unsurpassed and intriguing. Zivon has escaped Russia as his enemies want to see him stopped. He has something they want and doesn't even realize it. When Lily and Zivon meet their friendship blossoms and it's beautiful to watch. They compliment each other perfectly and I enjoyed it very much. The strong faith and family elements are also something I greatly enjoyed! Ms. White has a wonderful way of including faith without being preachy or pushy. This story has some events that are incredibly relevant to today's headlines and they're also heartbreaking. SO well done! I'm greatly looking forward to see what comes next for Roseanna M. White!
I received a complimentary copy of this story through NetGalley. All opinions expressed are my own.