My thanks to Justine Sha, of Harper Collins for inviting me to be part of this blog tour for Mrs England published by Manilla Press, Mira.
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Distant and withdrawn, Lilian shows little interest in her children or charming husband and is far from the angel of the house Ruby was expecting.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.
A Sunday Times bestseller!
Our Author – Stacey Halls
Stacey Halls grew up in Rossendale, Lancashire. She studied journalism at the University of Central Lancashire and has written for publications including the Guardian, Stylist, Psychologies, the Independent, the Sun and Fabulous. Both of her first two novels, The Familiars and The Lost Orphan, were Sunday Times bestsellers, Mrs England is her third novel.
My Review – Mrs England
I have hugely enjoyed reading Mrs England. It’s based firstly in London, where Ruby May is a ‘Norland Nurse’ highly esteemed and trained to look after the children of gentry. When she’s asked to emigrate, she declines and has to go back to the Norland Institute to await a further posting.
Not wanting to be out of work for too long, she jumps at a new position to go to Hardcastle House and work for the England’s, to be nurse to their four children. The thought of which at first, she finds daunting. Until she meets them and finds that they are easily manageable. And this is good, as the England’s do not have an abundance of staff. Which strikes Ruby as odd when the house is so much larger than she’s experienced before.
The house is in Yorkshire, remote and isolated with little in the way of staff or friends. The children she is to nurse are Saul, Rebecca – Decca, Millie and baby Charley. Mr England is friendly in comparison to Mrs England, who’s aloof and quite solitary. But this doesn’t always seem to be her doing. Mr England is possessive and welds his powers and status over all he surveys.
Ruby feels obligated to help her mistress but that she shouldn’t overstep her mark, a dilemma that only she can deal with internally.
The overlying sense of place is yet again front and foremost in Stacey’s writing. The historical setting and ways, the language even is also strongly evident. It all adds to making this a enjoyable read.
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