Monday, June 19, 2017

Guest Post: Historical Details in War of Loyalties: Life on the Homefront in WW1

A friend of mine, Schuyler M., has written a World War I spy novel called War of Loyalties. She kindly agreed to share the fascinating historical background undergirding her story here on Defending the Legacy.

For the past seven years, I’ve been writing novel entitled War of Loyalties. It’s a Dickensian novel with a spy flavor, and today I’m glad to be invited to Defending the Legacy to talk about some of the historical details in its pages. But before I start, let me set the context with the novel description:

April, 1917. A ring of German spies threatens the security of England’s Secret Service. Newly-recruited agent Ben Dorroll must uncover false British agents who are traitors to their country. However, Ben’s secrecy may be the very thing that puts their mission in jeopardy. Unwilling to trust fellow agent Jaeryn Graham with the clues hidden in his family’s broken past, he wants to resign and go back to his medical practice. But success means one last chance at winning the respect of the father he’s never met. And when he learns that his family identity holds the key to capturing the spy ring, Ben has no choice but to unite with Jaeryn Graham so that the truth can be discovered.

In the aftermath of the Irish Rebellion, Jaeryn Graham's British colleagues look warily on his Irish background. Always up for a challenge, he thinks his new mission to investigate the true loyalties of his fellow spies should be an opportunity to prove his prowess. But the agents he has to work with are determined to prove he himself is a traitor. Unless he can win the loyalties of his newest assistant, Ben Dorroll, his secret ambitions and his perfect success record will be destroyed.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Grace Triumphant--Reprise

In January of this year, I reviewed Alicia Willis's 18th Century novel Grace Triumphant (see the original review at  I thoroughly enjoyed it when I read it, and as time has passed, I noticed yet another gem tucked inside the story.

The book follows three characters: Captain Russell Lawrence, cabin boy Jack Dunbar, and English aristocrat Elizabeth Grey.  The narrative is told from the point of view of each of these three characters and the author does an excellent job of never allowing the characters to know each others' thoughts, though we as the readers can get inside the minds of all three.  Jack Dunbar's story quickly links up with Russell Lawrence's, and their two points of view then focus on the same events: a pirate attack, for example, is seen by both.

But Elizabeth Grey is different.  We see high-society London through her eyes, and her eyes alone.  We have no way of analyzing her character from the perspective of an outsider.  All her actions are peppered with nagging doubts and prayers that she will be found true to her convictions.  This sort of internal struggle is something I greatly sympathize with: trying to do the right thing, but knowing one's weaknesses and fearing that they will taint the good we are trying to accomplish.

But eventually, we see Elizabeth as others see her: a fine example of a godly Christian woman.   While her internal struggles have been real, they have not hindered her good works or others' good opinion of her.  I found this encouraging.  Even though our good works may be tainted by our weaknesses and sins, these works will still shape our character into what we were created to be--reflections of the goodness of our Creator.  "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven." (Matthew 5:16)