Rhys Bowen has painted a broad canvas, and it's filled with action, suspense, and the period detail and fascinating characters that she's known for. With a length of almost four hundred pages, I am happy to report that I wanted it to go on for at least another hundred. There are many characters in this story, and although I didn't have a speck of trouble keeping them all straight, inevitably one or two whom I was most interested in got (what felt like) short shrift.
Two of the period details that I really appreciated were Bowen's giving readers a feel for living in an English country house during the war, and how there were so many clandestine agencies at work in England-- and they were all trying to keep what they were doing secret from all the other agencies.
Even though there's not really anything trailblazing in In Farleigh Field, it is such a joy to read that it doesn't matter. Danger. Spies. Traitors. Romance. Everything combines for an absorbing read that is finished much too quickly. Readers can pit their skills at playing Catch the Spy and form their own close attachments to one or more of the characters. My favorites? The youngest daughter, Phoebe, and her partner-in-crime Alfie, a young Cockney boy evacuated to Farleigh Place due to the Blitz.
Are there any fellow fans of Susan Elia MacNeal's Maggie Hope series reading this? I think you'll love In Farleigh Field (and so will most of the rest of you)!