Saturday, April 16, 2016

Maisie Dobbs (Book #1 of the Maisie Dobbs series) by Jacqueline Winspear

by Jacqueline Winspear
published by Penguin Book

It is 1929, midway between two world wars as a young woman opens her investigative office. Maisie Dobbs, working under the name of Maisie Blanche, is a very unique person; educated, immensely knowledgeable, and intuitive; and, I think, a little psychic as well. She has many horrific memories of the Great War WWI, working as a nurse. Thus we begin to know her as an attractive and well-spoken adult who is not quite of the high class nor of the lower class, but somewhere in between. But who is she, exactly?

Jump back to 1910-1917 and we begin the journey with her. Her mother passed on and her father trying to support their young daughter and himself as a costermonger, he is no longer able to manage as bills keep piling up. Love is not enough to feed and clothe. A decision is made that changes everything but the love between father and daughter. I found myself drawn in to their hardship and the changes they deal with when she goes "into service" with Lady Rowan in a household that is not quite what one would expect of a Lord and Lady in this time period. The work ethic and hours spent are there, but Lady Rowan is actually in a period of change among the elite. The brilliance of this young girl is discovered and plans are made to accommodate learning with working within the house. Lady Rowan has determined that Maisie should be university educated.

I look at this book as an introduction to a fascinating young lady; one who cares deeply about people, intuits what they need and what she needs. We have followed her through childhood, working as a maid, going to university, leaving and joining the war as a nurse, and after the war, investigating a possible murder, leading to a lingering reminder of the war, the "walking dead" as her partner refers to it, the souls lost though the body lives on with its horrific scars both external and internal. As her investigation reaps the rewards of solving the case, she is about to embark on a career as a "Psychologist and Investigator" at the end of this first novel in the series, a career that gives the reader a taste of what is to come in future books. Though I have read a later book in the series and loved it, different as it was, I really enjoyed getting to know the younger Maisie Dobbs, her father and her "family" and can hardly wait to follow this fascinating person.

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