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Summary

From the best-selling author of The Familiars and The Foundling comes Stacey Halls' most compelling and ambitious novel to date. 

West Yorkshire, 1904. When newly graduated nurse Ruby May takes a position looking after the children of Charles and Lilian England, a wealthy couple from a powerful dynasty of mill owners, she hopes it will be the fresh start she needs. But as she adapts to life at the isolated Hardcastle House, it becomes clear there's something not quite right about the beautiful, mysterious Mrs England. 

Distant and withdrawn, Lilian shows little interest in her children or charming husband, and is far from the 'angel of the house' Ruby was expecting. As the warm, vivacious Charles welcomes Ruby into the family, a series of strange events forces her to question everything she thought she knew. Ostracised by the servants and feeling increasingly uneasy, Ruby must face her demons in order to prevent history from repeating itself. After all, there's no such thing as the perfect family - and she should know. 

Simmering with slow-burning menace, Mrs England is a portrait of an Edwardian marriage, weaving an enthralling story of men and women, power and control, courage, truth and the very darkest deception. Set against the atmospheric West Yorkshire landscape, Stacey Halls' third novel proves her one of the most exciting and compelling new storytellers of our times.    

©2021 Stacey Halls (P)2021 Bonnier Books UK

Critic reviews

"The new Hilary Mantel." (Cosmopolitan)

What listeners say about Mrs England

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  • Overall
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Another fantastic story from Stacey Halls

I really enjoyed the story as I have previous books, the only thing that spoilt it for me was the flat, monotone, expressionless narrative. I I'd have enjoyed listening to it more if it had been read by someone else. Sorry!

23 people found this helpful

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Another excellent historical Stacey Halls novel

Having listened to Stacey Halls' first two novels The Familiars (17th Lancashire witches) and The Foundling (story of a shrimp girl in Georgian London) I had this latest book on pre-order from the moment its release was announced. As with the first two books Mrs England is loosely based on a real life character, in this case a young girl from Birmingham with a dark family secret, and most of the story of her life is imagined. This time was find ourselves in Edwardian times and most of the tale is set in Yorkshire in an unspecified mill town somewhere near Halifax and I suspect that the "Kayleigh" that is referred to may well be the West Yorkshire town of Keighley. Ruby arrives as the new nurse to a rich mill owner Mr England and gets to know the children and encounters strange behaviour from the family and those around them. This is all very mysterious and the story is well told. Themes such as class, motherhood and feminism from Stacey Halls' previous two books are also covered in this intriguing story. It seems that Stacey Halls has hit on a winning formula here and I am certainly a fan and will look out for her next work. Five stars.

14 people found this helpful

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A great listen/read!

Mrs England was a wonderful book, and the best audiobook I’ve listened to in a while! I will be very surprised if it doesn’t quickly become a bestseller. The narrator is very good too.

11 people found this helpful

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Brilliantly written

I have read both previous novels written by Stacey Hall and enjoyed both of them. So it was with some anticipation that I waited for Stacey’s most recent creation. It was well worth waiting for, broody and scenic with a well drafted plot, I fell in love with Ruby May and, by the end, Mrs England too. Imogen Wilde’s narration could not be faulted either. I finished this book in 24 hours while on a short staycation in the Ribble Valley and was saddened when it came to an end. This author has rapidly become one of my favourite writers and, although I’ve only just finished this novel, I really can’t wait for the next!

7 people found this helpful

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Does not dissapoint

Excellent, engaging and well researched novel - if you are a fan of Stacey Halls, you won't be disappointed. Beautifully performed and once again, so wonderful to listen to historical novels featuring working class heroines.

4 people found this helpful

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exceptional, thrilling and for me nostalgic

loved Staycey Halls previous two books and hotly anticipated this one. I was in no way disappointed. I am deeply and emotionally familiar with the Yorkshire landscape which she perfectly describes this mastery of literature. And the journey into the beautifully morbid landcape in which she uses as a backdrop for a tale of the duty to constantly care of others. loved every second and long may Halls continue her exploration into the emotive roles of women and guardianship.

3 people found this helpful

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Loved this

A great story well told , very descriptive and if you love to hear about regional English history this book is full of it , thoroughly recommend

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Intriguing story wonderful narration

I anticipated this novel by Stacey Halls, ordering it in advance, having no doubt that it would be a good read/ listen and it didn’t disappoint. The book had several intriguing story lines, which were brought to life wonderfully by Imogen Wilde’s narration.
I highly recommend!

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Absolutely Brilliant

Wow what a story, in fact two stories in one. This is the first book which I have listened to written by Stacey Halls and I will be looking for another one immediately! It was wonderful and read so well by Imogen Wilde about the lives of two women of different backgrounds - one the mistress of the house and the other the children’s nurse. I thought it was marvellous!

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Deceptively compelling

Mrs England draws you in from the first; yet it's hard to know why. It seems almost gentle to begin with , written with care and attention to detail , it conjures up Ruby's world bringing it to life . As the book moves on and you realize there are more depth and intrigue than were first apparent , a clever plot and complex characters emerge. I would whole heartedly recommend it.