Saturday, June 17, 2017

{Review} IN FARLEIGH FIELD by Rhys Bowen

Summary from Goodreads:

World War II comes to Farleigh Place, the ancestral home of Lord Westerham and his five daughters, when a soldier with a failed parachute falls to his death on the estate. After his uniform and possessions raise suspicions, MI5 operative and family friend Ben Cresswell is covertly tasked with determining if the man is a German spy. The assignment also offers Ben the chance to be near Lord Westerham’s middle daughter, Pamela, whom he furtively loves. But Pamela has her own secret: she has taken a job at Bletchley Park, the British code-breaking facility.

As Ben follows a trail of spies and traitors, which may include another member of Pamela’s family, he discovers that some within the realm have an appalling, history-altering agenda. Can he, with Pamela’s help, stop them before England falls?

Inspired by the events and people of World War II, writer Rhys Bowen crafts a sweeping and riveting saga of class, family, love, and betrayal.


I'm always on the hunt for a historical piece that doesn't get TOO factual. I love period pieces but so many of them get bogged down in factual events they forget that they're writing a fictional story. It's very frustrating to me because I have such a difficult time finding that perfect blend of fact and fiction set in the past. I even dreaded opening the pages of this novel while still hopeful that it wouldn't let me down. It did not disappoint. In Farleigh Field is that rare gem of a period piece with the perfect blend of fact and fiction.

Let's forget about the World War II aspect for a minute and let's talk about the love triangle. Ben, Jeremy, and Pamela have grown up together. Jeremy is devastatingly handsome and the son of a rich patriarchal family - what more could any female ask for? Ben is the son of a local vicar (priest), so he's not rich and, while he's good looking, he's not better looking than Jeremy. Can you guess where this is heading? I bet you can. Pamela is in love with Jeremy. Ben harbors an unrequited love for Pamela. The war brings about many changes, oftentimes within people. This is true of Jeremy, Ben, and Pam. All three go to work for the war effort but is it for Britain or Germany? Can the friendships, and love, survive the travesty of war?

This is one of THE BEST period fiction novels I have read in quite some time. The only issue I had with it is that some of the females seem a little too naive but, then again, that was how they were portrayed back then. That's how they acted. They couldn't appear to be smarter than the men of their time. So, taking that into account, I can become okay with it but I still don't like it - but that's just the modern, independent woman in me talking.

In Farleigh Field is my first Rhys Bowen novel but it will not be my last. I loved the writing style, the setting (Downton Abbey-esque), the imagery, the characters ... just, everything. I would highly recommend this novel to you period fiction fans who like more fiction than historical facts.

*A physical copy of this novel was provided by the publicist, Little Bird Publicity, in exchange for an honest review.

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