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Review: Where the Sky Begins by Rhys Bowen

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Where the Sky Begins is the latest book out by Rhys Bowen, and this one is another historical fiction novel, set in the WWII period.

If you’re familiar with Rhys Bowen, you’ll know she also writes several different series of books, one of which is the fabulous and fun Royal Spyness series, one of my favorites!

Well, in addition to her numerous different book series, Rhys Bowen has also written a handful of standalone historical fiction novels, and this book is also a standalone novel.

Where the Sky Begins

where the sky begins

Where the Sky Begins is the latest standalone historical fiction novel by Rhys Bowen.

Rhys is a British author born in Bath, England, and she now resides in the United States and splits her time between California and Arizona.

The books that Rhys Bowen writes are all historical fiction (at least so far), but they are all quite different in tone from each other. She writes three completely different series of books in addition to her standalone novels.

The Royal Spyness series is set in England (mostly) and features Lady Georgianna Rannoch, who’s 35th in line to the throne of England but is flat-broke and struggling to survive through the years of the Great Depression. Lady Georgie always seems to find a mystery that needs solving, and so far, she’s been a very competent sleuth.

The Molly Murphy mystery series features an Irish immigrant woman in turn-of-the-century New York City with a very spunky attitude.

And then the third series is the Constable Evans mystery series featuring a young police constable in a Welsh village.

There are a handful of standalone novels written by Rhys Bowen, many of which are set in the WWII era in England and Italy, and also one that is set in Victorian England, in Queen Victoria’s household no less!

While all of Rhys Bowen’s books are great, today I’m reviewing Where the Sky Begins.

Publishers Synopsis of Where the Sky Begins

A woman’s future is determined by fate and choice in a gripping WWII novel about danger, triumph, and second chances by the New York Times bestselling author of The Venice Sketchbook and The Tuscan Child.

It’s London, 1940. Bombs are falling and Josie Banks’s world is crumbling around her. Her overbearing husband, Stan, is unreachable, called to service. Her home, a ruin of rubble and ash. Josie’s beloved tearoom boss has been killed, and Josie herself is injured, with nothing left and nowhere to go.

Evacuated to the English countryside, Josie ends up at the estate of the aristocratic Miss Harcourt, a reluctant host to the survivors of the Blitz. Awed as she is by the magnificent landscape, Josie sees opportunity. Josie convinces Miss Harcourt to let her open a humble tea shop, seeing it as a chance for everyone to begin again. When Josie meets Mike Johnson, a handsome Canadian pilot stationed at a neighboring bomber base, a growing intimacy brings her an inner peace she’s never felt before. Then Stan returns from the war.

Now a threat looms larger than anyone imagined. And a dangerous secret is about to upend Josie’s life again. Her newfound courage will be put to the test if she is to emerge, like a survivor, triumphant.

Where the Sky Begins – What I Liked

This book was a winner for me on so many levels. The setting was WWII era London and English countryside, and despite the difficult war related subject matter this is one of my favorite genres.

You’ll see below that I actually didn’t like one of the main characters at the beginning, but that changed for me, so no worries there.

I loved the overall message of survival, of doing whatever you had to do to live and flourish during hard times.

I also loved the tea shop plot line. Tea is my favorite beverage! And if it comes in a beautiful china cup and saucer, that’s all the better. I found myself imagining sitting in a charming tea shop, drinking tea and having cakes or biscuits for a long time after I finished this book.

And last but certainly not least, there was a bit of mystery and plot twist towards the end and I couldn’t seem to turn the pages fast enough.

Where the Sky Begins – What I Didn’t Like

At the beginning of this book, we were introduced to one of the main characters, Josie Banks. I didn’t like her. I thought she had a poor attitude, and that she was selfish and sarcastic.

However, my attitude changed! By the time I got further into the book, I loved Josie. I don’t know exactly why I disliked her at the beginning, but she just didn’t make me feel good.

Another character I disliked was Josie’s husband Stan, but I never changed my mind about that one.  Sorry Stan!

Where the Sky Begins – Read, ReRead or Reconsider

And now, for my 3 R’s of book reviews.

Should you Read, ReRead or Reconsider Where the Sky Begins by Rhys Bowen?

A Definite Read!


If you like a quirky, funny historical mystery type of book, don’t miss the Royal Spyness series by Rhys Bowen. It’s one of my favorites!


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Last Updated on August 11, 2022 by Mary Elle

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