Not by Sight, Kate Breslin's new WWI historical fiction set in England, is being compared to Downton Abbey and with good reason. The rash and spontaneous behavior of young suffragette Grace Mabry will have Downton fans thinking of Lady Edith or perhaps cousin Rose. Grace has a sense of honor and duty toward England's war effort, so much so that she crashes a society ball, along with her servant, and hands a single white feather, the symbol of cowardice, to each "conchie" - conscientious objector- there at the ball. To her, they are nothing but cowards, shirking their duty, while her brother bravely fights in France. She is delighted to hand the last feather to Jack Benningham, the handsome heir to the Earl of Stonebrooke. When he quickly leaves the ball, she is certain that her action has shamed the handsome playboy.
But weeks later, when Grace joins the Women's Forage Corps and travels to the countryside, she and Jack meet again under very different circumstances. I won't say anymore about why they meet, least I say too much. I will say that Breslin's inclusion of the Women's Forage Corps brought to life an aspect of the Great Britain's war effort I knew nothing about. And Breslin has the perfect touch for character development. As Grace works for the WFC, we see the flighty, exuberant young girl mature into a courageous, caring woman who thinks about the consequences of her actions and beliefs. While this is definitely a story about Grace and Jack, even the minor characters such as Mr. Tillman and Mrs. Vance are written with authenticity and heart, making Not by Sight a complete success. If you want a taste of England as it faces the war and a changing society, mixed with romance, and a bit of spying, then don't miss Breslin's newest novel.
I received a copy of this book from Bethany House and the author for my honest review.