Thursday, April 5, 2012

Maisie Dobbs - Jacqueline Winspear

Title: Maisie Dobbs (Book 1)
Author: Jacqueline Winspear
Audiobook: read by Rita Barrington
FTC: Library book

A while back I got an ARC of one of Jacqueline Winspear's novels, book #8.  I had never read her books before and was totally intrigued but since it was #8 I didn't read it.  Set in post WWI, the series follows the life of Maisie Dobbs, a working girl who is brilliant and has become a private investigator in London.

After watching Season 2 of Downton Abbey on PBS, I was wanting a bit more of that era in a book.  Over at Harper Collin's blog The Book Club Girl, I noticed they announced March is Maisie Dobbs month (Book #9 just came out).  So when I saw Book #1 at the library I snagged it up.

 Maisie Dobbs and will definitely read more.

The synopsis (from Ms Winspear's website):

Maisie Dobbs, Psychologist and Investigator, began her working life at the age of thirteen as a servant in a Belgravia mansion, only to be discovered reading in the library by her employer, Lady Rowan Compton. Fearing dismissal, Maisie is shocked when she discovers that her thirst for education is to be supported by Lady Rowan and a family friend, Dr. Maurice Blanche. But The Great War intervenes in Maisie's plans, and soon after commencement of her studies at Girton College, Cambridge, Maisie enlists for nursing service overseas.

Years later, in 1929, having apprenticed to the renowned Maurice Blanche, a man revered for his work with Scotland Yard, Maisie sets up her own business. Her first assignment, a seemingly tedious inquiry involving a case of suspected infidelity, takes her not only on the trail of a killer, but back to the war she had tried so hard to forget.

My thoughts:

This was such a different book because, while the investigation part of the book was interesting, I was so engaged with the story because of Maisie Dobbs herself.  My favorite part of the story (and the main part of the story) was focused on how Maisie got her start as an investigator, her background as a World War I nurse (absolute favorite part), and her balance of being an educated working class woman in that era.

I would definitely recommend the audio book of Maisie Dobbs.  Rita Barrington's narration was spot on and beautiful.  I loved Maisie's interactions with her father -- who's voice totally reminded me of Catherine Tate's grandfather in Doctor Who (if you have no clue what I just wrote, I'll forgive you).

I also couldn't help but compare the time period to our own.  We have a whole generation who's been fighting in the Middle East for how long?? Post-traumatic stress has become a word we ALL recognize.  I know it's not to the same extent but I think there is a good comparison between the 1920's Lost Generation and our own.  What are your thoughts?

If you've read Maisie Dobbs -- and I won't spoil anything if you haven't -- didn't the scenes of Maisie and you know who during her stint as a nurse just make you want to cry...and then the ending when you find out what happened to him??  Sigh.

One more thing -- I adored Maurice.  I totally had an Agatha Christie's Inspector Poirot vibe from him.

I can not wait to read more Maisie Dobbs and see where life takes her.

Alternate cover:

Also Reviewed By:

Bookahaolic Mom
Books, Belles, and Beaux
Historical Tapestry
The Adventures of an Intrepid Reader
Literate Housewife

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