A well-paced, believable historical novel which had a Jane Eyre flavour at the beginning and developed into a bittersweet, emotionally engaging story of trauma and strong women.
The narrator is Ruby May, a children’s nurse who goes to work for the England family in Yorkshire. The ‘Mrs England’ of the title is the mysterious, fragile wife of Ruby’s employer. Something about the household situation doesn’t feel right and Ruby tries to find out the truth, while at the same time coming to terms with what happened to her in the past. Some of the events are based on a true story which Halls has skilfully weaved into fiction. I think she has a great talent for portraying people and places, transporting you back more than a century ago.
Very occasionally, a sentence didn’t quite sit right and the language is I think a little modernised but generally I enjoyed the book and it captured my attention. I also think it’s a fantastic achievement for the author to be in her early thirties and have written three bestselling historical novels.
Published in 2021 by Manilla Press.