Now in paperback: The Spies of Shilling Lane by Jennifer Ryan

The Spies of Shilling Lane: A NovelI read and enjoyed The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir so was thrilled to be offered this e-galley from NetGalley and the publisher.

This novel takes place during WWII. I duly note how many recent historical novels have taken place during this era. Nonetheless, I found this to be one that was a good read.

The novel’s protagonist, Mrs. Braithwaite, (a woman of a certain age), has tried to live her life very much in accord with convention and awareness of social status. She is dethroned from her position as head of the WI early in the book. Over the subsequent course of the novel Mrs. B changes from an unlikable character to a woman with more nuance.

Mrs. B’s emotional and real journeys put her in contact with the unassuming Mr. Norris. Together they move away from their comfort zones, begin thinking more of others and have adventures. Yes, belief must be suspended but one roots for them nonetheless.

There are several story lines that show Mrs. B’s emotional growth. One has to do with a young teacher injured in a bombing raid while another takes place during the blackout in a supposedly safe haven that becomes flooded. The reader also comes to understand Mrs. B’s biography and how it led her to be the person that she was.

There are spies and plots along with counter plots and a depiction of war-torn London. There are the beginnings of a gentle love between the protagonists and other hearts that have been broken.

Mrs. Braithwaite reminds me a bit of Mrs. Bird, the eponymous character in one of 2018’s debut novels. However, unlike Mrs. Bird, Mrs. Braithwaite has the capacity to change.

I enjoyed this novel. Again, thanks to NetGalley and publisher.

A few other WWII books that I have blogged on:

This Bird Soars Dear Mrs. Bird

A (de)light to read: Light Over London

the prisoner in the castle

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