I found this to be a very peculiar read. I still can’t quite decide if I enjoyed it or not. I was all set to give up on it, when a wholly unexpected dark deed perked up proceedings and piqued my interest.
We follow 3 couples, each with a single child, who live on the eponymous England’s Lane and run, respectively, the ironmongers, the sweetshop and the butcher. The story is written in the form of a series of interweaving and interrelated interior monologues and therefore isn’t the easiest to read. I felt it didn’t always wear its research lightly, certain references felt a bit shoe-horned in (there was a particularly grating discussion between the owner of the sweetshop and a company rep about whether these new fangled after eights will ever catch on).
That aside, as a novel it always succeeded in surprising the reader. The characters were fascinating and the structure allowed the relationships between characters to develop and unfold throughout the book.
On the whole a worthwhile read, I would read another by this author.