The Spies of Shilling Lane by Jennifer Ryan

The Spies of Shilling Lane

Jennifer Ryan

The Spies of Shilling Lane follows the unforgettable Mrs. Braithwaite as she resolves to find her missing daughter during World War II.

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From the bestselling author of The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir comes a thrilling new WWII story about a village busybody—the mighty Mrs. Braithwaite—who resolves to find, and then rescue, her missing daughter
 
Mrs. Braithwaite, self-appointed queen of her English village, finds herself dethroned, despised, and dismissed following her husband’s selfish divorce petition. Never deterred, the threat of a family secret being revealed sets her hot-foot to London to find the only person she has left—her clever daughter Betty, who took work there at the first rumbles of war.
 
But when she arrives, Betty’s landlord, the timid Mr. Norris, informs her that Betty hasn’t been home in days--with the chaos of the bombs, there’s no telling what might have befallen her. Aghast, Mrs. Braithwaite sets her bullish determination to the task of finding her only daughter.
 
Storming into the London Blitz, Mrs. Braithwaite drags the reluctant Mr. Norris along as an unwitting sidekick as they piece together Betty’s unexpectedly chaotic life. As she is thrown into the midst of danger and death, Mrs. Braithwaite is forced to rethink her old-fashioned notions of status, class, and reputation, and to reconsider the question that’s been puzzling her since her world overturned: How do you measure the success of your life?
 
Readers will be charmed by the unforgettable Mrs. Braithwaite and her plucky, ruthless optimism, and find in The Spies of Shilling Lane a novel with surprising twists and turns, quiet humor, and a poignant examination of mothers and daughters and the secrets we keep.


Advance Galley Reviews

2.5 stars Not quite what I expected. Given the story is about a woman searching for her missing daughter during World War 2, I assumed going in this would be a heavy read but instead it had more of a cozy mystery vibe to it. So that threw me for a loop and probably had some effect on my enjoyment of the novel. Mrs. Braithwaite has been pretty much ostracized since her divorce. Given it's the 1940s, attitudes are it's always the wife's fault when her husband leaves her. Too make matters worse, we have a war going on and her daughter, Betty, is missing. So Mrs. Braithwaite goes to London to look for her and meets Mr. Norris, Betty's landlord. She soon learns Betty hasn't been completely honest with her mom about her life in London. But I guess they are even because Mrs. Braithwaite has been hiding a secret or two from her daughter. I actually liked the characters of Mrs. Braithwaite and Mr. Norris and thought they would be great working together in a cozy mystery series. I just don't think placing them in the middle of a war was the best use of them. By no means was this some slapstick comedy, but it's amazing to me how light in tone it felt given there were a few serious storylines. I guess I am just left feeling kinda empty because I believe this had the potential to be a really compelling story and instead for the most part it fell flat. So yes, this was a disappointing read for me but maybe other readers will connect better with the story. Thank you to First to Read for the opportunity to read an advance digital copy!

It took me a while to get into this book, and I greatly disliked Mrs. Braithwaite in the beginning. However, as the story progresses, we begin to see a softer side to her. I appreciated how the author developed Mrs. Braithwaite's character, that of Mr. Norris, and their relationship together. The mystery was enough to keep me interested, though it seemed a bit under-developed, and I found myself wishing that the story itself was as rich in detail as the characters in it. Overall, it was a nice light read, but not one that I will be going back to in the future.

The world is on the brink of it's second World War. Some underground groups in London want to see the Nazis succeed. Mrs. Braithwaite's daughter, Betty, is undercover with MI5, working to stop the Nazis and those who would see them succeed. But when she goes missing, her mother of all people is on the case. After a brief reunion, the two are torn apart. We follow each of them in their search for each other as a brilliant story unfolds. A lifetime under her Aunt's thumb has made Mrs. Braithwaite impossible, as the blurb says, she's despised by many. She is a force to be reckoned with and as Betty describes of her mother, "plucky", and I think that's apt. She's persuasive and able to pull others to do her bidding. I thought The Spies of Shilling Lane was incredibly well-written, it's smart, witty, and clever. While it was hard to like Mrs. Braithwaite at first, she grew on me fast. The characters are excellent, and I especially liked the timid Mr. Norris. The story did go to crazyville and I think that's why I like it so much. It's a super fun read.

Mrs. Braithwaite is stuck on herself and tries to reign as queen in her little village in charge of the Women’s Voluntary Service during WW II. Not like by the ladies, problems with her husband, and her daughter leaves for London. Mrs. B. Finds out her daughter is missing. Along with her daughter’s landlord, Mr. Norris, they mount a search and get entangled in a spy adventure. As I was reading this quirky book, I found myself thinking that I was reading a script for Masterpiece Theater.

I just could NOT get into this one... I kept trying - the blurb was highly intriguing, the concept caught my eye. The characters just never drew me in. I was about a quarter in when I realized I simply did not care where Betty was, if her mother ever found her, what the other girls/the bizarre landlord were up to - and that's when I knew this was not the book for me. It's an exceptionally slow burn - it may heat up to the point that it would have engaged me eventually, but it was such a slog of pick up/put down to get just a quarter of the way through that I just couldn't make myself keep trying... This one was just not a good fit for me.

Mrs Braithwaite was one humdinger of a character in this British WW II novel. She felt superior to her friends, was unaffectionate to her husband and daughter, and she was condescending to many acquaintances. Yet she failed to see why her family left her behind and why her social friends excluded her from leadership. As the story progressed, readers were exposed to a slightly softer version of Mrs. Braithwaite when she travels to London to rescue her daughter Betty. There is an interesting war mystery within the pages of the novel, perhaps a quasi-light read. I enjoyed it!

Although this novel is set in London during the bombings of WWII, I found it charming. The story begins when Mrs. Braithwaite leaves her village to find her daughter who hasn't been heard from in several days. The plot has a bit of a caper feel to it as Mrs. Braithwaite, Betty (her daughter, and Betty's landlord, Mr. Norris work together to bring down a group of people plotting against the British government. I really grew to love Mrs. Braithwaite, and how much her character grew and developed over the course of the story.

The Spies of Shilling Lane by Jennifer Ryan is a Historical Mystery that takes place during World War II. Ryan’s new book has plenty of action with thrills, suspense, romance and the characters are fun and quirky. My favorite part was the transformation of the characters as they went through many adventures and misadventures. Mrs. Braithwaite was seen as a difficult person but she had such strength and truly cared for others. I loved the choices she made to change her life. I received a complimentary copy of this book from First to Read. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own. I appreciate the opportunity and thank the author and publisher for allowing me to read, enjoy and review this book.

A lively read with endearing characters. Mrs. Braithwaite has been dealt some harsh cards in life and she's travels to London to see her daughter Betty. Then the adventure begin. One of my favorite scenes involves the ruffians helping apprehend the bad guys. Mrs. B has a lot of good character development throughout the book and she definitely makes the story.

 


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