This is the best Kindle First book I have read. Rhys Bowen’s Her Royal Spyness series is so much fun to read, and I read the newest book in the series as soon as it comes out. Accordingly, I was so excited to learn she had written a stand-alone novel that takes place during World War 2 (which is one of my favorite eras). Bowen did not disappoint – In Farleigh Field was a delight from beginning to end. I hesitated slightly when I first opened the novel because she includes a list of all of the characters upfront. I have generally found that means there are too many characters for me to keep up with, but that was not the case at all for In Farleigh Field. The central plot of the novel involves the ancestral home of Lord Westerham, Farleigh Place, which is serving as headquarters for one of the British armed forces groups. Lord Westerham has five daughters, three of whom play large roles in the story, Pamela, Margot and Phoebe. Pamela works at Bletchly Park breaking German codes, Margot is in Paris working for the French Resistance, and Phoebe is at home (she’s only 12) and discovers the body of a soldier whose parachute failed as he tried to land near Farleigh Place. There are various subplots that develop with these and other characters as the story progresses and eventually a number of them tie together very effectively. The resolution of each plot line was very realistic and convincing.
Bowen’s exhaustive research is evident, and the tidbits she includes really add to the storyline. I loved learning about the group of aristocrats that supported Hitler and created a group to try and make peace with Germany (she calls them the Ring in the novel; in actuality she explains in her Author’s Note that they were called the Link). The MI5 and Bletchly Park details were fascinating too. I highly recommend this novel and was so glad I got the chance to read it.