In May 1941, the lovely English countryside felt the real horror of WWII upon them. A German soldier with a failed parachute falls to his death and lands in Farleigh Field, ancestral home to Roderick Sutton, Earl of Westerham. Identified as a spy, this sets off a chain of events that finds three childhood friends brought together once again. Lady Pamela Sutton is the third daughter of the Earl. She has been working for the war effort in London at “a government agency” decoding German messages. Ben Creswell, Pamma’s friend, is working at another “government agency.” Jeremy Prescott, Pamma’s boyfriend, was an RAF flying ace who was captured and put into a prison camp in Germany. A miraculous escape brings Jeremy home as a “hero.” Ben is sent back home to observe and try to discover who the dead spy was trying to connect with in the town. Pamma returns home to recover from a fainting spell she had upon discovering that Jeremy had escaped from prison. Pamma slowly realizes that Jeremy seems changed and that war has deeply affected the people she loves.
Rhys Bowen’s In Farleigh Field is well written, contains a smattering of cockney phrases, and is incredibly sensitive to the seriousness of the subject matter surrounding WWII. The author included a Cast of Characters in the beginning of the story before the Prologue, which may prove to be helpful to some readers. Her descriptions of the countryside are evocative to the point that this reviewer felt she had been physically transported! Suspenseful and thrilling, with some espionage too, this novel will keep readers deeply involved until the end. It is a fantastic standalone historical fiction novel.
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