I believe this book was one of the free kindle books that Amazon Prime members have access to. I have quite a few of them stacked up in my electronic TBR pile and this was the first one I dove into. I’m… not impressed. Maybe there’s a reason it was free? I hope the others are better than this one. This book is aggressively mediocre. It is so middle of the road that it refuses to go places that might take it somewhere interesting. The villains are exactly who you think they are, the characters do exactly what you’d expect of them, and the plot follows along exactly as you expect it to. I can handle all of that if there was something about the book that stood out, but it isn’t. Even the writing is just blah.
Set in early WWII Britain on an estate house just outside of London, you would think this book would be anything but boring. There are Nazi spies, a daughter left in occupied France, MI6, children sent out of London for their safety, etc etc etc. It is as if every cliché of England during WWII was added to the book just in case you forgot what was really going on. Added to that, there are lords, ladies, class wars, and the very last dredges of the dying service industry. (Was that really a thing in WWII? I swear a lot of the book felt very Downton Abbey in the later years, which set was 20 years earlier).
In case I was a bit too vague, I was severely unimpressed with this book mostly because the writing was just so amateur. The book has a list of characters in the beginning, laying out the who’s who of our cast, and included in that are characterizations like, “youngest daughter of Lord X, a bit precocious and notices too much for her own good”. I hate that, show me in the book how precocious she is don’t tell me before we even meet her. It is the first sign of bad writing, and it told me exactly what I was getting into. Sadly, the rest of the novel didn’t belie those expectations at all.
Even if you are interested in the WWII era of England, skip this one. It’s not worth the bother. I didn’t hate it, so it’s not a one star read but boy does it push that rating.