It’s not often that a book about WWII can be considered light or enjoyable, but “In Farleigh Field” manages to be a lighter take on the subject that provides enjoyable reading. While it’s not as deep as “In a Field of Blue” or as heart felt as The Light Between Oceans or The Book Thief, In Farleigh Field provides a bit of a feminist slant ala Beantown Girls, a little bit of mystery and a little bit of romance.
Everything about In Farleigh Field reads like a TV period drama, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Bowen is extremely consistent in her characters with each growing in depth and breadth as the story unfolds. There could have been a few less characters to help keep things flowing smoother, and the swapping of narrators for various chapters disrupted the story flow a bit.
Bowen manages to keep the classic poor boy loves rich out-of-reach girl fresh in a way that feels honest and sweet, rather than cliché or overdone. Her character’s take on feminism, freedom and women in the work force feels true to the time period and never felt like Bowen was forcing modern ideals into the past.
The mystery itself and the main character’s work as a decoder was a bit of fun. This is where In Farleigh Field headed more towards TV show as it took off in a wild direction full of random escapades the characters would most likely never find themselves in real life. While this book isn’t high literature and won’t cause any deep visceral reactions, it was an enjoyable way to pass the time and a “lighter” WWII historical fiction than we’re used to reading.