West Yorkshire, 1904
When newly graduated nurse Ruby May takes a 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 there’s something 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Distant and withdrawn, Lilian shows little interest in her children or charming husband, and is far from the ‘angel of the house’ Ruby was expecting.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. Ostracised by the servants and feeling increasingly uneasy when her sister stops writing with news from home, Ruby must face her demons in order to prevent history from repeating itself. After all, there’s no such thing as the perfect family – and she should know.
Mrs England was another book discovered during my Library Haul last month, which caught my eye as I had been eyeing it up previously having enjoyed The Familiars by the same author ( The Familiars, by Stacey Halls; Book Review ).
Similiarly to The Familiars, Stacey Hall has taken an interesting real character from the past and fleshed out their story in an intruiging, at times slightly creepy, way which has made for a delightful read. The character of Ruby is likeable and a joy to read, with the children and other supporting characters giving the book a mix of emotions and characteristics. The story definitely didn’t pan out the way that I expected it to, nor did I see the plot twists coming, which is something that I really value in a book.
I strongly suspect that the point of going to the library is not to trial run all of the books that you are going to end up buying anyway, so I will be restraining myself from buying a copy of this book in the near future, though I must confess that this decision took some time to arrive at. Whether or not I end up re-borrowing the same book is a completely different matter though 😀
Here is a link to the Book Club Questions for this book:
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