Blog Tour Review & Giveaway: The Rules in Rome by A. L. Sowards


The Rules in RomeThe Rules in Rome
by A. L. Sowards
LDS Historical Suspense, Romance
Paperback291 Pages
February 2015 by Covenant Communications Inc.

Summary

With Hitler’s forces firmly entrenched in Europe, countless heroes seek to end the madman’s reign. Bastien Ley is one of the best. Working in Italy for the Office of Strategic Services, he’s been tasked with sabotaging German convoys. When his team kills an officer headed for Rome, the man’s similarity to Bastien is undeniable, and seeing an opportunity to turn the tide of the war, Bastien makes a bold decision: he will assume the dead officer’s identity. He becomes Dietrich, an Iron Cross–wearing German officer—an ideal position from which to infiltrate the Nazi ranks in Rome. To help with his stressful assignment, his superiors send him a reinforcement in the form of the lovely Gracie Begni, an intelligent and eager radio operator with absolutely no undercover experience.

With a gulf of resentment between them, these two agents must find a way to portray a couple in love. Soon their reluctant alliance becomes much more as Bastien and Gracie find themselves getting lost in their feelings for each other. But as they engage in battle against the deadliest foe the world has ever known, the pair quickly realizes their love may be doomed. As the Rome Gestapo threatens to destroy all they’ve worked for, will Bastien and Gracie survive their charade?
   

My Review

The Rules in Rome is the first book that I've read from Sowards, but it definitely will not be my last! I loved this book! It was heartbreaking and desperate while also being full of hope and love as these two main characters worked as spies behind enemy lines in Italy during the Nazis' occupation. 

The plotting was fabulous! It was well-paced, intriguing, suspenseful, dangerous, while also including aspects of friendship and romance. I literally enjoyed every page, except when I stressed out about the danger, a heartbreaking moment, or the suspense of not knowing how these two characters would survive. I was seriously cheering on those allied forces to hurry it up! I also liked how the author let Gracie, an unseasoned agent who has never served as a spy, or as anything else (she's only been through training), make some mistakes, be shocked by what she experiences, and feel guilty for defending herself at the expense of another. This was in contrast to Captain Ley who was a seasoned agent and had been involved for some time in the war as well as having seen death in his native Germany before going to the States. 

Historical details were also very well done. I could picture the people, the clothing, the buildings and streets. I could picture the apartments and how the characters were living. I could also picture Gracie's radio and her sitting and sending out her various reports. I felt immersed enough in this terrible time of history without feeling completely hopeless because of the work that these two main characters were doing. It felt realistic.

I especially loved these two characters. Gracie was sweet, but could be fierce and determined. She thought she wasn't much to look at because of what she grew up hearing. She found that not everyone's opinions were valuable or of the same weight. She did trust too easily and made some pretty big mistakes, but it just showed how unprepared she was in some ways while also being a very good and skilled radio operator. Ley was much more measured in his behavior and feelings. He was a spy and had been working against the Nazis for some time. He had already seen much violence and death, inflicting quite a bit himself. He knew better than to get too friendly with someone when they could turn on you if captured or unknowingly give you away. He also knew to protect his heart because even though he hoped to make it out alive at the end of the war, his chances, and that of those who worked with him, were slim. I loved seeing Gracie and Ley work together, become friends, and then develop something more.

There is an inspirational element of the story. There are characters who are LDS, or Mormon as is commonly used, but it is more of who they are and not presented in a preachy way. It is rarely mentioned and mostly in Gracie not drinking alcohol or coffee, and then when some characters say a silent prayer for safety, like any Christian would do in the same situation.

I would recommend The Rules in Rome to those who enjoy romantic suspense in an historical setting, especially during WWII. It kept me engaged, was suspenseful and romantic, and had a nail-biting ending. Since completing this book I have looked up the author's other books and added them to my tbr. I plan on reading them all and look forward to her next book!


Content: There was some violence and innuendo due to various situations, but I would consider this clean.

Source: I would like to thank the publisher, Covenant Communications, for my complimentary review copy, which did not affect my review in any way.

About Author A. L. Sowards

I was born in Georgia but consider Moses Lake, Washington my hometown. I came to Utah to attend school (BYU) and ended up staying. Books have always been an important part of my life. I remember writing self-illustrated storybooks at my grandparent's house when I was in elementary school (none of those made it to publication for many good reasons) and attending my first writer's conference when I was in third grade.

Now I'm a busy mom with young chidren. I still love to read and I also love to write. I'm usually reading a couple books at once and working on multiple writing projects too. Other than that, my life is pretty ordinary. I'm grateful for that. I'll let the characters in my books have all the adventures.


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29 comments

  1. Lakin Higgins2/11/15, 6:14 AM

    I'm excited for these too!

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  2. This looks like a fascinating book! Thanks for sharing!

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  3. I absolutely love this era, I think I would love this as much as you did! Wonderful review!!

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  4. This does look like it will be good and I love the softness of the cover! Great pick! :D

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  5. Fun way to add excitement for the reveal!

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  6. thanks so much sharing the giveaway denise smith

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  7. StinaMadsMN2/11/15, 4:48 PM

    I love the covers to both books! Great picks! Thanks for sharing!

    My WoW: http://onceuntold.blogspot.com/2015/02/waiting-on-wednesday-1.html

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  8. Haven't head of either of these. I hope you enjoy them! My WOW

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  9. Both of these sound awesome, but I gotta say that I think Together With You sounds like perfection! I really think it sounds good, and I can't wait to check it out!

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  10. This book sounds fabulous! I love books set during WWII! How did I not know about this book?!

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  11. This sounds fantastic!!!! Great review Tressa

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  12. Kristy Petree2/11/15, 11:53 PM

    I'm not familiar with many Christian romance stories - will jot these down. Thanks!

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  13. It was really good! I think you'd really like this one.

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  14. I really enjoyed it. I didn't like when the MC made a mistake at first in her reactions, but then I thought it made it more authentic because she hadn't ever seen such violence before and who would be prepared for something like that especially in that era. Definitely recommend it, Ally!

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  15. Thanks for stopping by, Denise!

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  16. I thought it was well handled. I can't stomach a ton of violence, especially in gruesome detail, but this one portrayed it in such a way that I felt a little bit removed so I could take it while not taking away the seriousness or terribleness of what happened.

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  17. You'd definitely like this one. :)

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  18. I've been happy to add some newer authors to my inspirational romance favorites.

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  19. Thanks for stopping by, Natalie!

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  20. They are cute covers. Thanks, Ally!

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  21. Thanks, Sandra. I'm sure I will. :)

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  22. I love the covers too! I'll be over (even though a few days late).

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  23. Thanks! I'll come check out yours.

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  24. Plus that gorgeous cover. Thanks, Jaime!

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  25. I hope you enjoy them if you end up reading them!

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  26. These are both excellent WOW picks. I love Victoria's cover and cannot wait to read Melissa's, which sounds as darling as the rest of her novels. :)

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  27. I'm playing catch-up with these authors a little. I still need to post my review of Here to Stay by Melissa and I still need to read Victoria's book from last year (Until I Found You), but I have only heard great things and loved Here to Stay, so I'm excited about these ones.

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I love comments! I try to read and reply to them all. Feel free to agree or disagree and generally share your thoughts with me.

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