Wednesday, June 12, 2019

World at War: In Farleigh Field

In Farleigh Field. Rhys Bowen. 2017. Lake Union. 397 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: It had been unusually hot all summer.

Premise/plot: In Farleigh Field is a stand-alone mystery/suspense novel set in England during the second world war. It has multiple narrators. It follows the lives of the aristocratic Sutton family and their neighbors. There are five daughters--no sons. Olivia (aka Livvy), Margaret (aka Margot), Pamela (aka Pamma), Diana (aka Dido), and Phoebe (aka Feebs).

Before the war, Pamela was head over heels in love with a neighbor, Jeremy Prescott, who joined the RAF. While she was making heart eyes at Jeremy, Ben Cresswell, the vicar's son, was making heart eyes at her. Almost three years later and little has changed. Well. Both Ben and Pamela are working for secret government agencies. (MI5 and Bletchley Park). But Ben still hasn't come any closer to getting the girl to notice him in that way. Pamela still daydreams that if Jeremy returns alive from the war that they may get married and live happily ever after one day.

At the Farleigh estate a dead man in uniform is found--his parachute did not open. Who was this man? Was he British? Was he German? Why parachute there? Was he on a mission to talk to someone who lived at Farleigh or nearby? What was his mission? what was his message? Does his death mean that the threat is over? Or does danger still lurk?

Phoebe and Alfie (a boy evacuated from London and living with the groundskeeper) team up on the sly to try to solve the mystery.

Ben has official orders to investigate--undercover of course. He's to go back home and see what he can uncover. Everyone should be willing to talk to the vicar's son, after all. And he may be better able to uncover the truth than a stranger would.

My thoughts: I found this an incredibly suspenseful read. Perhaps a bit predictable here and there but in a satisfying way. When it went the way I predicted, I wasn't disappointed but elated.

I typically don't like novels with alternating narrators, multiple narrators. But this one worked well for me. I loved the changing perspectives. It was nice not only to get the perspectives of Ben and Pamela but the others as well. In particular, I liked spending time with the other Sutton sisters--Dido, Phoebe, and Margot. With Margot, we got a behind-the-scenes glimpse of life in occupied Paris.

I read this one in one sitting. It was GOOD.

© 2019 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

1 comment:

Lark said...

This book sounds good. I'm not a huge fan of alternating narrators, but I don't mind when it's done well like in this book. :)