Mrs England by Stacey Halls

Published: 2021 Genre: Historical fiction 1. First lines. 2. Cover Allen and Unwin 3. Gibson’s Mill, Hardcastle [Public Domain] via Pxfuel 4. Vintage pram [Public Domain] via Public Domain Pictures

Set in 1904, this is the story of Ruby May, a children’s nurse employed by Charles and Lilian England at their home, Hardcastle House, in West Yorkshire. Mrs England is anxious and withdrawn, rarely spending time with the family. Mr England hints that his wife is a little unhinged, and needs to be locked in her bedroom at night. Ruby is very unsettled by this, and when the eldest child is suddenly sent away to school, and the eldest boy becomes ill and stays with his grandparents, the situation worsens. Ruby herself has some personal demons that are hinted at throughout the story, and she is faced with both Mrs England’s and her own traumas.

“I’d locked the children in the nursery; this time there would be no escapes.”

“Mrs England” by Stacey Halls

Glanceabook: The narrative moves slowly, building a picture of normalcy that the reader knows is a deception. Always under the surface is a current of unease, as the author drops well-times hints of dark secrets. A thoroughly enjoyable piece of historical fiction.

  • Culturefly:Mrs England .. is made all the more compelling by its isolated Yorkshire setting, which cuts its characters off from the outside world and which Halls writes about so beautifully. She has the ability to draw readers into her story so completely that it’s a real effort to wrench yourself out of it when you invariably have to put the book down. If you’ve loved Stacey Halls’ previous books, you’re in for a real treat with this novel – the author’s most evocative, intriguing and compelling book so far.”


“For the first time in my life, I was in charge, and I would savour every moment.”

‘Something’s not right here.’ I was aware of Mr Booth’s eyes on me, and he seemed to hold his breath. ‘What do you mean?’ ‘In the house. With the family.’

“For a long time I’d struggled with people’s sympathy. They would always insist on giving it to me, but it was so heavy, and I had no wish to be burdened with it.”

Author: Stacey Halls

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