Today I’m excited to bring you a review of The Spies of Shilling Lane by Jennifer Ryan, available from Crown Publishing on June 4, 2019 (tomorrow!).
I had a wonderful reading experience with The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir, Jennifer Ryan’s debut novel, that took place in a quaint English village during World War II. I have been excitedly awaiting The Spies of Shilling Lane, where she takes us back to England during war time.
Mrs. Braithwaite is the queen of her village. If you don’t believe it, just ask her! Unfortunately, her husband is petitioning a divorce, which causes her to be an outcast.
She sets off to London to find her only child, her daughter, Betty, who moved there just as the war began; however, Betty’s landlord, Mr. Norris, hasn’t seen her in several days. Mrs. Braithwaite sets off again to find her daughter, this time with the assistance of Mr. Norris as they attempt to retrace Betty’s steps amid bombings and war.
Just as with Chilbury, the charm of Jennifer Ryan’s characters is never ending. Mrs. Braithwaite is brilliantly crafted, so complex and fun to observe. There are moments of humor, plenty of secrets, and some twists and turns; all the in the name of exploring that special, nuanced mother/daughter relationship.
I was completely enthralled with The Spies of Shilling Lane. It’s an original World War II story with a quirky feel. The backdrop of the Blitz kept me on the edge of my seat. I cannot wrap my head around the fear everyone must have lived with during that time.
Overall, a charming, twisty, yet comforting, read. I am so grateful Ryan brought us another group of characters to love and dote on, and I cannot wait for her next effort!
I received a complimentary copy. All opinions are my own.
From the bestselling author of The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir comes a thrilling new WWII story about a village busybody—the mighty Mrs. Braithwaite—who resolves to find, and then rescue, her missing daughter
Mrs. Braithwaite, self-appointed queen of her English village, finds herself dethroned, despised, and dismissed following her husband’s selfish divorce petition. Never deterred, the threat of a family secret being revealed sets her hot-foot to London to find the only person she has left—her clever daughter Betty, who took work there at the first rumbles of war.
But when she arrives, Betty’s landlord, the timid Mr. Norris, informs her that Betty hasn’t been home in days–with the chaos of the bombs, there’s no telling what might have befallen her. Aghast, Mrs. Braithwaite sets her bullish determination to the task of finding her only daughter.
Storming into the London Blitz, Mrs. Braithwaite drags the reluctant Mr. Norris along as an unwitting sidekick as they piece together Betty’s unexpectedly chaotic life. As she is thrown into the midst of danger and death, Mrs. Braithwaite is forced to rethink her old-fashioned notions of status, class, and reputation, and to reconsider the question that’s been puzzling her since her world overturned: How do you measure the success of your life?
Readers will be charmed by the unforgettable Mrs. Braithwaite and her plucky, ruthless optimism, and find in The Spies of Shilling Lane a novel with surprising twists and turns, quiet humor, and a poignant examination of mothers and daughters and the secrets we keep.
Have you read The Spies of Shilling Lane, or is it on your TBR? Happy Reading! ~ Jennifer THR