Publisher: Lake Union
Genre: Historical Fiction, Mystery
World War II comes to Farleigh Place, the ancestral home of Lord Westerham and his five daughters, when a soldier with a failed parachute falls to his death on the estate. After his uniform and possessions raise suspicions, MI5 operative and family friend Ben Cresswell is covertly tasked with determining if the man is a German spy. The assignment also offers Ben the chance to be near Lord Westerham’s middle daughter, Pamela, whom he furtively loves. But Pamela has her own secret: she has taken a job at Bletchley Park, the British code-breaking facility.
As Ben follows a trail of spies and traitors, which may include another member of Pamela’s family, he discovers that some within the realm have an appalling, history-altering agenda. Can he, with Pamela’s help, stop them before England falls?
Inspired by the events and people of World War II, writer Rhys Bowen crafts a sweeping and riveting saga of class, family, love, and betrayal.
I’m beginning to realize that I’m a bigger fan of historical fiction than I first thought, there’s something about the way it sweeps me away to a different time that really appeals to me and I truly enjoyed being whisked away to 1940’s England while reading In Farleigh Field.
I was a bit apprehensive when the book opened with a comprehensive list of the cast of characters. It was long and though I love an ensemble cast, I was worried that there be too many people to keep track of. Thankfully I didn’t have any problems keeping everyone straight and I loved reading from several viewpoints. The main narrators included most of Lord Westerham’s daughters; Pamela who is working as a code breaker in Bletchley Park, Margot who is living in Paris, Phoebe the youngest and Dido who is quite the troublemaker. There is also Ben, a family friend and M15 operative.
For a novel set during wartime it had a lighthearted feeling to it, but not in a disrespectful way, it reminded me a little of a cozy mystery. This was based loosely on real events and Bowen did a great job of remaining historically accurate. There was a good balance of history, suspense, romance and family drama, truly something for everyone.
I had a blast trying to figure out whose side everyone was really on, there were spies, double agents and plenty of betrayals. This was full of charm, wit and humor along with tension and intrigue. There were a few surprises along the way though I worked out a couple on my own, but this didn’t take away from my experience, it was still an entertaining read.
Overall rating: 4/5
Thanks to Lake Union and Claire McLaughlin at Little Bird Publicity for my review copy.
About the Author:
Rhys Bowen is the New York Times bestselling author of over thirty mystery novels. Her work includes the Molly Murphy mysteries, set in 1900s New York City, and the Royal Spyness novels, featuring a minor royal in 1930s England, as well as the Constable Evenas mysteries about a police constable in contemporary Wales. Rhys’s works have won fourteen awards to date, including multiple Agatha, Anthony, and MacAvity awards. Her books have been translated into many languages, and she has fans from around the world, including the 12,000 who visit her Facebook page daily. She is a transplanted Brit who now divides her time between California and Arizona. Connect with her at rhysbowen.com.