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The Spies of Shilling Lane

3.73  ·  Rating details ·  257 ratings  ·  117 reviews
From the bestselling author of The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir comes a thrilling new WWII story about a village busybody—the mighty Mrs. Braithwaite—who resolves to find, and then rescue, her missing daughter
Mrs. Braithwaite, self-appointed queen of her English village, finds herself dethroned, despised, and dismissed following her husband’s selfish divorce petition. Never d
Kindle Edition, 368 pages
Published June 4th 2019 by Crown
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Jennifer Ryan When I was researching my last book, a twinkly-eyed older lady told me her memories from the war. She worked for MI5, the main spying agency based in…moreWhen I was researching my last book, a twinkly-eyed older lady told me her memories from the war. She worked for MI5, the main spying agency based in Britain, as a secretary--although I wondered if she was more than that, as she told me that she signed the Official Secret Act and couldn't talk about her work. But she did tell me that her mother was appalled that her only daughter wasn't getting married but had moved to London to do something so unladylike. The tale was hilarious, and the woman an absolute gem, and it was in imagining her as a girl that I formed the character for Betty. The bombastic mother, of course, became our beloved Mrs. Braithwaite.(less)
Jennifer Ryan Not a sequel, but we're still in Second World War England and the atmosphere, drama, and humor are similar, although the story is more of a…moreNot a sequel, but we're still in Second World War England and the atmosphere, drama, and humor are similar, although the story is more of a warmhearted thriller. It's a tale of a woman from a village going in search of her daughter in London, only to find her missing. If you loved THE CHILBURY LADIES' CHOIR, you'll definitely enjoy this one! (less)

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3.73  · 
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 ·  257 ratings  ·  117 reviews

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Katie B
2.5 stars

Not quite what I expected. Given the story is about a woman searching for her missing daughter during World War 2, I assumed going in this would be a heavy read but instead it had more of a cozy mystery vibe to it. So that threw me for a loop and probably had some effect on my enjoyment of the novel.

Mrs. Braithwaite has been pretty much ostracized since her divorce. Given it's the 1940s, attitudes are it's always the wife's fault when her husband leaves her. Too make matters worse, we
May 01, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mrs. Braithwaite was not initially my cup of tea. Brash, overbearing and opinionated, I could understand why the ladies of the WVS had pushed her out of her position as chairwoman. She comes to London to see her daughter, only to find her missing. Like a steamroller, she plows over everything and everyone in her path. Her main concern is how to measure success in one’s life. She’s actually comedic with her views on life. “You saw the European history books on Baxter’s shelf. And the philosophy!. ...more
Feb 15, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I was charmed and delighted by The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir. Unfortunately, Ryan’s second effort was neither charming nor delightful. The characters are caricatures and the dialogue is cliché. Would you believe the leader of a gang of thugs would signal an attack by shouting out “charge?” Seriously, “my darling” this is but one example. Let’s not forget a prisoner accidentally falls out of a van as a means of escape. Spare me. If this was intended to be a melodramatic farce it succeeds but I’m not ...more
Jun 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley, kindle
Thanks to Netgalley and Crown Publishing for a digital galley in exchange for an honest review.

Happy Pub Day

After reading The Chilbury Ladies Choir back in March, I knew I wanted to read the author's second WWII era novel that is being released in June 2019. Jennifer Ryan's Mrs. Braithwaite is another nominee for favorite character of 2019.

Ousted from her local WVS ( Women's Voluntary Services) branch and treated like a pariah since her husband divorced her and left her for another woman
Lisa Wolf
Jennifer Ryan is the author of The Chilbury Ladies' Choir, one of my favorite reads of the past couple of years -- and she strikes gold yet again with her newest novel, The Spies of Shilling Lane. Here, we meet the intimidating Mrs. Braithwaite, pushed out of her leadership position with her village women's volunteer corps after one too many criticisms and commands aimed at the other women. Feeling utterly rejected, Mrs. Braithwaite decides to go visit her 21-year-old daughter Betty, who left th ...more
4 stars. Review tomorrow.
Tina Woodbury
May 04, 2019 rated it liked it
The story opens with Mrs. Braithwaite being demoted from the head of the Women’s Voluntary Service (WVS). She is upset and stunned that she has been treated this way. She has recently divorced her husband and now finds her life in turmoil. She decides a visit to London is long overdue to visit with her only daughter Betty.

Upon arriving in London Mrs. Braithwaite meets Mr. Norris, Betty’s landlord, and learns that she has been missing for four days. She is shocked that no one has reached out to h
Feb 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Jennifer Ryan became one of my favorite authors after I read her delightful Chilbury Ladies' Choir and this second book of hers does not disappoint. I adored the characters especially Mrs. Braithwaite and Mr. Norris. As I was reading this I kept thinking that BBC should make this into a mini series. Fabulous characters and espionage a winning combination! Thanks Netgalley and publisher for this ARC. Highly recommended.
CallMeAfterCoffee Breanne Wiesner
Thanks to netgalley for the eArc for review. Unfortunately this book and I didn't get along. I was expecting a heavier read, something more hard-hitting, but I was left feeling like these characters lacked depth. The Characters came across very one dimensional and bland, and the arcs were so predictable.

There were parts here and there that I didn't mind, but a lot of the dialogue felt juvenile, or forced. Especially the way Betty's romance is explained. By 80% things felt wrapped up and then th
Mar 29, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It seems odd to call this WWII spy story cozy and charming, but Jennifer Ryan has a knack for recreating a world which brings to mind the song, “There’ll always be an England.” There is no wondering who are the good guys or the bad, but going back to a time when honorable men and women fought against the Nazis and the reader knows exactly who to root for.
When first we meet Mrs. Braithwaite, the domineering, cold, and supremely self confident head of the women volunteers in her village, we learn
Maine Colonial
Jan 31, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The publisher provided a free advance reviewing copy of the book, via Netgalley.

I enjoyed Ryan’s first novel, The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir, and expected this would be similar, since it’s also about women in World War II England. Well, yes, but it’s as if Ms. Ryan, having had some success with her first novel, decided to really let ‘er rip.

Everything about this novel is over the top. There is an espionage plot that is completely bananas, with twists and turns, B-movie bad guys, feats of derring-do
May 07, 2019 rated it liked it
After the heavy reading I’ve been doing lately, I needed something a bit lighter. A book set in London during the Blitz centered on a mother looking for her lost daughter, such as Jennifer Ryan’s The Spies of Shilling Lane, doesn’t seem like the most obvious choice. But from the first chapter, I knew I was going to be entertained. Mrs. Braithwaite, the primary protagonist of the novel, is the epitome of the British battle axe. She is so bombastic and domineering that she has just been kicked out ...more
May 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Having read & enjoyed Jennifer Ryan's previous work, The Chilbury Ladies' Choir, I was really looking forward to this title! As I started reading, I realized I didn't really remember too much of the CLC (other than liking it), but this does not affect the readability of this book at all - it can definitely be read as a stand-alone. (Although I rather hope it's the beginning of a new series, especially as the ending was left wide open for a sequel!)

For a book about a missing daughter during t
Joan Happel
May 30, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A cozy and charming WWII spy novel? Why yes, it can be done, if the writer is Jennifer Ryan, the author of The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir. The novel centers around Mrs. Braithwaite a newly divorced, middle aged woman who has just be fired from her position as head of her local Women’s Voluntary Society. With her bruised ego and sense of injustice, she heads to London to see her estranged daughter Betty. However, when she arrives at Betty’s boarding house she soon discovers that her daughter has been ...more
May 22, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley, fiction
I did not like the overbearing Mrs. Braithwaite so it was difficult for me to get immersed in the story line. A woman who puts status, accomplishments and one’s station-in-life above all else, she’s hard to warm up to. She eventually examines what makes a successful life and considers status verses a loving family and well….just being a good and kind person. I plowed ahead hoping it would interest me more.

She left her village to search for her daughter Betty in London.  The setting is London dur
Apr 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
Mrs, Braithwaite is ousted as chair of her local women’s advisory group. She leaves her home town to go to London to look for her daughter. Betty is not where she is supposed to be, so Mrs, Braithwaite enlists the aid of Betty’s mousy but sweet landlord, Mr, Norris. The story takes some twists and turns, adding in the perfect humor. Thanks to Netgalley, I thoroughly enjoyed reading a book on the era during which England is watching the Fascist group conspiring to align and offer assistance to th ...more
Feb 11, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book and the time period it was set in . It was part mystery and part history and I like that .
It reminds me a lot of Bletchley circle which was a good thing
Thanks so much for letting me review this book
Linda Quinn
May 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
Fun and unputdownable, this new novel by Jennifer Ryan plunks the reader down into World War II London while bombs are falling and spies could be anywhere, trying to help the Nazis invade England. When Mrs. Braithwaite is forced out of her women’s group in her tiny village due to her general unlikability, she heads to London to try to fix her relationship with her daughter who has gone missing. Highjinks abound and readers who love both historic fiction and characters like Agatha Raisin will lov ...more
Feb 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
As a big fan of The Chilbury Ladies' Choir, I was delighted to be able to read an advance copy of Ryan's latest book, The Spies of Shilling Lane. The book did not disappoint. Like Chilbury, this book is largely about the home front in England during WWII, although it was not confined to village life this time. Although I found some of the spying parts of the book far-fetched, it did not distract from my enjoyment of the story. There are great characters who have touching transformations over the ...more
The Spies of Shilling Lane

If you enjoy Foyle’s War & Bletchley Circle, you’re likely to enjoy The Spies of Shilling Lane. This is the charming story of how Mrs. Braithwaite goes off to London in search of her daughter and ends up finding herself. Mrs. Braithwaite comes to terms with her past, learns compassion, and opens her closed off heart. The scenes where Mrs. B. reaches out to a young woman who is seriously wounded when she heroically saves a classroom of children were especially touchi
Gena DeBardelaben
Feb 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
eARC: Netgalley

I think I've found a new happy place and it's in a Jennifer Ryan novel!

I loved her first book, The Chilbury Ladies' Choir, so when I saw she had a new novel I was so excited! The Spies of Shilling Lane met all my expectations! It has a wonderful story, delightful characters, and my favorite WWII setting. What more could you ask for? Maybe more from these characters? That's what I'm hoping for!

I could absolutely see this being one of those delightful BBC mystery series!
Caroline Grace
I wanted to like this book. I really did. I mean, what's not to love about WWII, London spies, and a village busybody? But this book fell short of the mark for me. The writing style felt ponderous, simplistic, and awkward, though in a somewhat comical way. It could be argued that the writing style fit Mrs. Braithwaite, the main character, but it just wasn't worth it for me. The best way to describe it would be to liken the story to a 1930s black and white movie - one-dimensional and wordy, with ...more
Mar 23, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There's been an outbreak of World War Two novels in the past several years featuring brave women fighting Nazis, risking all for patriotism, for love, for family. Some are serious works of historical fiction that try to imagine the opportunities as well as the tragedies that war can offer women. Other titles have been flights of fancy that never convince the reader that this story could have happened, however well-researched. The Spies of Shilling Lane offers up a variation in that its lead char ...more
Jun 06, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Jennifer Ryan’s The Spies of Shilling Lane wasn’t quite what I was expecting but ultimately I found it to be an enjoyable read. My expectation was that the book would be a mostly serious read and instead discovered myself reading what amounted to be almost a caper, though one with very serious overtones, many precarious and dangerous situations, and many lessons. 

The book is set in 1941 London with blackouts, bombs falling, fascists and, of course, spies. The main characters are Mrs. Braithwaite
May 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
You're never too old to change your ways -- and in the case of the main character of this book change would be a very good thing. She had already lost most of her friends as well as being estranged from her daughter and divorced by her husband. To say that she was overbearing and rude is putting it mildly! But what caused those changes in someone who ALWAYS knew the right way everything should be done?

Mrs. Braithwaite is the leader of WVS (Women's Voluntary Service) in her small town in rural En
Joan Roll
Apr 24, 2019 rated it liked it
When the plucky Mrs. Braithwaite finds herself ignored and dismissed following her divorce, she heads to London to find her daughter Betty. She has an important family secret to share with her daughter so now is a good time to leave the little English village where she resides and seek out Betty.

When she arrives in London at the house where Betty rents a room, the landlord, Mr. Norris, informs her that Betty has not been seen for several days. It is wartime and there are bombings in London and
May 21, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I received this book pre-publication in a Goodreads giveaway, and I was excited to win this particular book. I adored The Chilbury Ladies Choir, so seeing the newest book from Jennifer Ryan before many other people was a thrill.

My overall review: A solid 4 stars.

As with Chilbury, Ryan's writing is on-point and her characters are well-developed. Mrs. Braithwaite is a bit of a bossy old hen, but her inner voice is already starting to question things when she sets off to visit her daughter. She wa
Sarah Juhant
Jun 11, 2019 rated it it was ok
I really wanted to like this book. I absolutely loved Jennifer Ryan's first book The Chilbury Ladies' Choir. That book was unique with many different voices. I loved the epistolary style, and there was enough drama to keep me interested.

The Spies of Shilling Lane fell flat for me. Throughout the whole book the writing lacked a richness that made me want to keep reading. I was confused about how the reader is supposed to feel about Mrs. Braithwaite at the beginning. Her development from a seriou
Jessica (the naptime writer)
I received a complimentary ARC of this book via Netgalley but all opinions provided are my own.

I really enjoyed Jennifer Ryan’s The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir so I was excited to see where she went with her second book.

There’s a lot of heart in this WWII historical fic read.

On the surface, it’s about a matron, Mrs. Braithwaite, recently left and divorced by her husband and now deposed as leader of the Women’s Voluntary Service, as she journeys to and across London looking for her semi-estranged d
Jill Meyer
Jun 09, 2019 rated it liked it
"The Spies of Shilling Lane", by Jennifer Ryan, is a fun read. Set in London during WW2, the book mixes spies - basically home-grown - and mothers and daughters and government officials in MI5. Many buildings and lives have been destroyed by the Luftwaffe bombings. But Mrs Braithwaite - we don't find out her first name til the end of the book - and her daughter Betty are able to set some things right.

Mrs Braithwaite is a bossy woman. She has alienated people in her village outside London with he
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Jennifer grew up in the British countryside with a penchant for climbing trees and a wonderful grandmother who told her hilarious stories about the Second World War.

As an adult, she became a nonfiction book editor, first editing politics and economics at The Economist Books, and then moving on to the BBC, DK, and other publishers, editing books on health, cooking, wine, and history.

All this time,
“Grief feels a lot like fear. We’re afraid of it taking us over. But we owe it to ourselves, to those we have lost, to let grief in. Only then can we start to remember them with a cheer in our heart, a cheer for them and all that they were.” 1 likes
“Grief feels a lot like fear. We’re afraid of it taking us over. But we owe it to ourselves, to those we have lost, to let grief in. Only then can we start to remember them with a cheer in our heart, a cheer for them and all that they were.” 1 likes
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