Whispers from the Shadows continues Roseanna M. White's Culper Ring Series in the War of 1812. The Culper Spy Ring was initiated during the American Revolution, and has been revived again now that the British once more threaten America. After witnessing her uncle kill her father at home in Britain, Gwyneth Fairchild flees to America, uncertain as to whether she was spotted, and becoming a severe insomniac in the trauma. Thaddeus Lane, son of General Fairchild's good friends, has been entrusted with her keeping after receiving a cryptic letter from the man. While trying to figure out the hidden message from the General, they also are kept busy gathering information on the British movements and attempting to raise their fellow Americans out of their stupor to fight for the independence for which their fathers battled so fiercely.
Just as the War of 1812 was fought differently from the American Revolution - more by sea than by land - so the methods of spying differed. Most intelligence was gathered by American privateers; there was little worry about it falling into wrong hands, and so the old invisible inks were out of style. As an official Culper, Thad works as a privateer and spends hours gathering information in public houses, though we do not get to see much of the actual spying since so much time was taken up with Gwyn. Because of his personable nature and reliance on the Holy Spirit, Thad is well liked by all and able to give them what they need at the moment. However, in his desire to be that help for Gwyn, he oversteps the leading of the Spirit. How easy is it to be doing what God wants us to do, but then we rush ahead of His plan? Like for Thad, it can pretty easily land us in hot water.
Gwyn has never had to question her safety before, growing up
with a general for her father in upper class England where she never
knew want, she never had to worry about who to rely on. However, when
her father is killed, she no longer has that reliable safety net; she
turns to Thad for her security, but as a man, he makes mistakes and
cannot be there always for her. After battling the hallucinations and
whispers she hears in her state of insomnia, she finally realizes who
should be her security and rest - the Lord. Where does your strength
and rest lie? In yourself, in your spouse? Or do you you place your
trust in God, the Alpha and Omega, Beginning and the End, who is, was,
and is to come, the Almighty? Man is fallible and will disappoint, but
God is a rock that cannot be moved.
I admit to knowing little about insomnia, but Gwyn's ability to sleep in the Lane house seems a bit far-fetched, though it is rather romantic. On the other hand, Thad's "intuition," or rather, listening to the Spirit, is documented thoroughly throughout the bible and still exists today for those who listen - that little nudge that sends one in a direction one would not normally take, or to talk to someone to whom one has never spoken. Good reminder to listen to the Spirit!
While I liked the more active intrigue of Ring of Secrets better, Whispers from the Shadows is still an excellent novel - romantic, suspenseful, and a strong message of keeping faith in God. 5 out of 5 stars
The Culper Ring:
1. Ring of Secrets
1.5. Fairchild's Lady (novella)
2. Whispers from the Shadows
2.5. "A Hero's Promise" (short story)
3. Circle of Spies