I was very taken with this book I loved the many textures and the fullness of characters, the setting of the late 1930s interspersed with a background story from WWI. I had never read a Maisie Dobbs story before but am fast becoming a new fan! Quite aside from the many mysterious happenings, I enjoyed learning of hop-picking, and the rich fullness of gypsies and gypsy lore.
Jacqueline Winspear has a very fluid voice in telling the story, understands the nuances in people, fear, hope, revenge, forgiveness, and the need to live a full life. The formation of who Maisie is unfolds throughout the book. She is a strong woman, conscientious, tolerant and compassionate. Her title of psychologist and investigator might well read psychic investigator, given her abilities and attunement to nature. There were many strands to be woven in this tapestry, with a lot of knots and tangles. The mysteries maintained a strong level and I was happy to see so much of the tapestry tied off in the Epilogue.
The many characters in the book are victims of the very crimes they were involved in and you cannot help but feel the fear and incitement for what was done without even realizing why. The despicable but lazy “Lord of the Manor” of the village is one of the feeblest strong-arms I’ve ever met in a book, I think. Does he deserve the outcome? Most probably, but maybe it was once again the easy way of doing things. Overall, a very honest and satisfying read, you can be sure I will be reading more of Maisie’s cases. Thanks to Jacqueline Winspear for one of my new favourite series! I recommend this book for the light mystery it is, a great antidote for between heavier tomes, enjoyable and fulfilling; I do like a book that I can learn something new from, too.