Title: Mrs. England
Author: Stacey Halls
Publication: April 12, 2022
Genre: Historical Fiction
SYNOPSIS: (From Goodreads:
West Yorkshire, 1904.
When newly graduated nurse Ruby May takes a position looking after the children of Charles and Lilian England, a wealthy couple from a powerful dynasty of mill owners, she hopes it will be the fresh start she needs. But as she adapts to life at the isolated Hardcastle House, it becomes clear there’s something not quite right about the beautiful, mysterious Mrs England. Ostracised by the servants and feeling increasingly uneasy, Ruby is forced to confront her own demons in order to prevent history from repeating itself. After all, there’s no such thing as the perfect family – and she should know.
Simmering with slow-burning menace, Mrs England is a portrait of an Edwardian marriage, weaving an enthralling story of men and women, power and control, courage, truth and the very darkest deception. Set against the atmospheric landscape of West Yorkshire, Stacey Halls’ third novel proves her one of the most exciting and compelling new storytellers of our times.
**A copy of this book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.**
Usually when I read a historical fiction novel, my go to is World War II. Mrs. England, though, sounded interesting and intriguing and peaked my interest with hints of a little mystery. I was extremely excited to read.
The story follows Nurse May as she joins a new family to take care of their children. The family right off the bat had my red flags flying with how odd and out of character they were. I really love Nurse May though and her ability to adapt to the situation was interesting to watch. I really loved Deccas the most. Her personality was so refreshing and she was always eager to learn more. I felt heartbreak for her when she felt it and joy when she did. I really connected to her character. Mrs. England is definitely an odd duck and I feel there is significantly more to that right from the beginning.
Halls really built up that intrigue regarding this family and what secrets they may be hiding. It was never one really big moment that had you scratching your head, but a build up of many small moments that had you saying “hmm” to yourself and needing to know what was happening. The suspense alone in this story was the real hook. I’m very impressed with Halls writing style and ability to describe characters and settings so you feel like you are in the story and can picture everything. I could even imagine the smell of the house with Mr. England’s cigars laying about.
I was very impressed with this book. It was so much better than I was expecting and I had high expectations already. Halls is a fantastic storyteller and her characters were well developed and really made the storyline even better. I will definitely be reading more by Stacey Halls in the future.