Book Rating: 2.8
Stacey Halls Mrs. England is a hypnotic journey into a young girl’s life as children’s nurse and the mystery that surrounds her life and that of her unusual employers, Mr. and Mrs. England. Halls has created an atmospheric period piece set in 1904, which elaborates the hardships of women, the limitations they endured during, and the resilience that enabled them to carve out a life that enables them to realize their dreams.
Ruby May is a young graduate from the prestigious Norland Institute, a resident training academy that trains young girls to become childcare workers for families in Europe and abroad. Nurse May is sent to a rural countryside in Yorkshire to assist with rearing four children of well to do clothing-mill owners. Ruby becomes intrigued with the complex and mysterious lives of Mr. and Mrs. England. As the parents’ oddities begin to affect the lives of their children, Nurse May becomes increasingly attached to the four children she cares for, and dedicates herself to protecting them. While safeguarding her own secrets, she discreetly sets about unraveling the peculiar confidences of the England family.
Halls’ story is a reminder of classism and social traditions once imposed on girls and women, and their demanding work and sacrifice. We witness Ruby May’s transformation from naïve young girl to into a life she can claim as her own. Mrs. England reminds readers of how far women’s’ rights have advanced and the importance of complete autonomy for women.
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