Mrs. England By Stacey Halls

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Mrs. England: A Novel By Stacey Halls

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Book/Novel Author: Stacey Halls

Book/Novel Title: Mrs. England

 

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A Sunday Times bestseller!”Highly atmospheric and tense.”–Richard Osman, New YorkTimes bestselling author of The Thursday Murder Club Simmering with slow-burning menace, Mrs. England is a portrait of an Edwardian marriage, an enthralling tale of men and women, power and control, courage, truth and the very darkest deception. West Yorkshire, 1904. When recently graduated Ruby May takes a nanny 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 something is not quite right about the beautiful, mysterious Mrs. England.Distant and withdrawn, Lilian shows little interest in her children or charming husband and is far from the angel of the house Ruby was expecting.As the warm, vivacious Charles welcomes Ruby into the family, a series of strange events forces her to question everything she thought she knew. Ostracized by the servants and increasingly uneasy, Ruby must face her own demons in order to prevent history from repeating itself. After all, there’s no such thing as the perfect family—she should know.This captivating new feminist novel from Sunday Times bestselling author Stacey Halls is her third work of fiction and proves her one of the most exciting and compelling new storytellers of our time.
I love all the detail of daily life she describes in this book. Very nice book. You feel the vivid description of all the people and places she writes about. Every little detail is interesting to me.
I was excited to read this novel. The description was quite gripping, setting the reader up with high expectations of dark, hidden secrets, mystery and intrigue. The “could have beens” or”should have beens” for this storyline are endless with possibilities. The reality of the finished product fell sadly short.As a reader going into this I at least thought Mrs. England would have a horrible dark secret,maybe a debilitating mental psychosis, be a border-line psychopath/serial killer or something! What I actually got when reading, a big fat, flat, nothing. No horribly dark, twisted secret, no psycho serial killer, not even a trace of deep emotional or mental psychosis. How disappointing when the storyline had such promise and the descriptive passages set time and place wonderfully. Perfect landscape for a gothic thriller that simply never hits the thrill!Now don’t get me wrong, this book is not horrible, the author’s writing is exceptionally good actually. The plot simply never achieves a point above ordinary, underwhelming, uneventful., The book could be called a “staid account of a young nurse’s life”, It never achieved its goal!Thank you to the publishers at Harlequin Trade Publishing, Mira, and Net Galley for the free ARC, I am leaving my honest review in return.
In 1904, Ruby May, a Norland Nurse, is looking for a new position when the family she is working for emigrates to America. She accepts the only position available, working in Yorkshire as a children’s nurse for three children. It is for the Englands, a wealthy couple living in the isolated Hardcastle House. Mr. England owns the local factory and is gone most of the day. Mrs. England is a recluse, barely leaving her room and showing no affection toward her children. The children are wonderful and starved for affection and quickly form a bond with Ruby. The servants are aloof and outgoing, pleasant Ruby is unable to form a connection with them. Mr. and Mrs. England have a strained relationship, and Ruby knows things are not as they should be inside Hardcastle House.This story is a mix of genres, historical fiction/thriller/women’s issues. In the early 1900s, women of wealthy families were still considered chattel owned by their husbands. They had little or no money of their own, often were not allowed to look after their own children and were just supposed to provide a male heir and look good. That seemed to be Mrs. England’s role, but she also seemed to have some mental health issues. I really enjoyed getting to know her and see her grow as a character. Ruby was an amazing character. She was such an honest, loyal, caring person to her own family and those in her charge. It was easy to see why the children became so attached to her. She was also very smart and perseverant, not giving in when doing the best for her charges. The children were wonderful. They wanted to be kids, but also wanted to experience life outside their home. The girls wanted to be educated as well as their brother, but that does backfire. Mr. England seems to love his family and want the best for them, but there are undertones there and I’m not sure if I can trust him. The house and the servants add another dimension to the story, giving it a gothic, spooky atmosphere. There are some twists, secrets revealed and a surprising ending making this one an enjoyable read. I recommend this book to those who enjoy historical fiction with a gothic twist.
I’m not the only one who thought about Jane Eyre and The Turn of the Screw while reading this book.It’s a fascinating mix of historical and gothic fiction that I enjoyed.Well developed characters, an eerie and creepy setting, good storytelling.Recommended.Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine
Mrs. England is centered around a young nurse by the name of Ruby May. Ms May is a fairly new nurse that takes a job in West Yorkshire for a family that owns a mill. Her new charges include Saul, Decca, and Charley, the three children of Mr. and Mrs. England. Ms May grows to love the children, but slowly realizes that something is wrong in the household. Mrs. England appears to be an uncaring Mother, while Mr. England seems to be a doting Father. The house and the country always have a dark, forbidding atmosphere. Ms May gets caught up in the “weirdness” of the place and the people. While Ms May is trying to sort out the mysteries, she is also keeping a dark secret of her own.
I had this on my list before it was released and it was a great read. No spoilers. Enjoyed it very much.

 

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