The Spies of Shilling Lane is a treat for anyone who loves historical fiction. Mrs. Braithwaite, divorced by her husband and drummed out of her village, determines to find her daughter Betty in an adventure through London during the Blitz.
The characters of Mrs. Braithwaite and Mr. Norris were so well drawn that I could visualize them as I read. Loved Mrs. Braithwaite! In the beginning she is bossy, rude, antagonistic and a thoroughly unlikable character. Her standing and reputation in the community are the only things of importance. Seeing emotion and sentiment as weaknesses, she has distanced herself from those around her, but most especially from her daughter Betty. But in her search for her daughter she encounters various individuals and situations, each teaching her lessons in caring, love, courage, and humility. She remains stout and bossy to the end, but really quite loveable.
Mr. Norris is at the outset, withdrawn, timid, and easily intimidated. An inconsequential man whose life is lived by routine and not rocking the boat. He is bullied by Mrs. Braithwaite into helping her in her search, and when faced with chaos and danger transforms from insignificant to amusing, endearing, and daring.
This was a charming story and well told. There is humor throughout and a bit of sentiment, despite Aunt Augusta’s influences! The only flaw for me was the drawn out ending. I felt there was just a bit too much thrown in at the end, but, if a sequel is to follow I would definitely be up for more adventures with Mrs. Braithwaite and Mr. Norris.
Thank you to NetGalley and Crown Publishing for the advance reader copy made available for my review.