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Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Charming WWII Novel a Joy to Read

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

Bossy Mrs. Braithwaite is used to being in charge—of her marriage, her family, the Women's Volunteer Service, and the small town of Ashcombe Village.  When news of her divorce from her philandering husband comes out, the scandal rocks her nice, orderly world.  All of a sudden, the anchor of her ship-shape life has been yanked out from under her, leaving her adrift.  With the threat of a family secret being exposed if she doesn't step aside gracefully, Mrs. Braithwaite flees to London.  There's one last person over which she can assert control—her daughter, Betty.  Anxious to help with the war effort, the 20-year-old has been living in the city for two years now.

When Mrs. Braithwaite arrives on her daughter's doorstep, however, the landlord informs her that he hasn't seen Betty in days.  With the recent bomb droppings, the shocked mother can't help imagining the worst for her only child.  Refusing to accept defeat, she ropes Betty's landlord, the timid Mr. Norris, into helping her scour the city for any sign of her daughter.  What they find is more than either one of them bargained for.  Before they know it, the unlikely duo is embroiled in a dangerous game that will put their lives in peril.  In the midst of all their derring-do, the formidable Mrs. Braithwaite and the reluctant Mr. Norris will both be forced to reevaluate everything they thought they knew about life—and each other.

WWII novels are a dime a dozen and while I love stories from this time period, sometimes it seems they're all the same.  Not so with Jennifer Ryan's sophomore effort, The Spies of Shilling Lane.  With a heroine like Mrs. Braithwaite, you can only expect a funny, delightful read.  Which this book absolutely is.  It's filled with fun characters, exciting adventures, and amusing, upbeat prose.  Because of what our leading lady learns about herself, however, it's also a thought-provoking tale.  True, the plot gets a bit redundant, but all in all, The Spies of Shilling Lane is a pure joy to read.  I adored it.

(Readalikes:  Reminds me a little of Dear Mrs. Bird by A.J. Pearce)


If this were a movie, it would be rated:

for brief, mild language (no F-bombs), violence, and mild sexual innuendo

To the FTC, with love:  I bought a copy of The Spies of Shilling Lane from Amazon with a portion of the millions I make from my lucrative career as a book blogger.  Ha ha.


  1. I like the sound of this one! I'm adding it to my TBR list. Good thing Christmas is coming.

    1. Santa should definitely bring you this one!

  2. I got this one right when it came out but somehow haven't read it. I loved her first book and I really need to get to this one. I'm so glad to see how much you enjoyed it.

    1. I'm the opposite - I've had the author's first book for awhile and haven't read it yet :)

  3. I love the sound of this one too. That sort of woman still exists in the UK. LOL

  4. I'm curious about this one. Is it serious enough to leave you with a sense of real danger the two women are facing, or is it more like a Hallmark Channel movie? As you say, we've been flooded with WWII fiction in the last couple of years, but I'm still enjoying them enough to keep reading...for a little while longer.

    1. It's not cheesy like a Hallmark film. It also doesn't take itself too seriously, so it's a comedy but there's some drama and action, too. Does that help?

    2. It does, thanks. I always like to think there's at least a small chance that the author is putting his characters into enough danger that one or more of them could actually be killed, etc. If I know that's impossible from the get-go, it takes away all the suspense.

  5. I'm also a fan of historical fiction in this era. I can't get enough of them! I have to check this one out. My most recent one was a bit of an odd duck because it was time travel (In Another Time) set in that period.

  6. This one sounds delightful. I like the WWII period too but can't take the very heavy themes sometimes but this one seems perfect.

  7. This sounds really good Susan. I enjoy reading about the World Wars and finding a different take on it is always welcome. Wonderful review.


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