I love a good mystery. I am hooked on murder mysteries on BBC and love trying to figure out the mystery before it ends. As a reader of course I have to get some mystery books in my TBR lists. So I was so excited to find out about Maisie Dobbs.
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There is whole series and a serious fan base of these books. Don’t you just love to find a great book and then find out it’s in a series?
MAISIE DOBBS BY JACQUELINE WINSPEAR
We listened to this one on audiobook. The reader was fantastic and I felt she really pulled you in, especially the first few chapters of the book.
The book starts in 1929 and you meet Maisie Dobbs. She is a lady setting up her detective business and after being mentored by the wise Maurice Blanche she is ready to set out on her own. Her first case brings her a man who wants Maisie to find out if his wife is having an affair. There ends up being a mystery with his wife that has nothing to do with an affair and Maisie starts to look into it.
You think the main mystery will start and end with this situation but the book suddenly takes you back to 1910 to when Maisie is just a fourteen-year-old girl living with only her father after her mother’s death. They are a poor family but her father works very hard to provide.
So throughout the book, it takes you to two different stories. Some readers may not like that, you will see that on some of the reviews for the book, and although at first, I wasn’t a fan of it either it grew on me and I became very engrossed in both stories.
Although Maisie is poor, she is incredibly gifted with her intellect. After her employer who is very well to do and has much influence realizes this servant girl is incredibly intelligent she gets Maurice to take her on as a student. This changes her life forever.
It isn’t long and this part of the story takes us to WWI and Maisie then becomes a nurse because she feels it is her duty to serve her country, however it is her work with Maurice before and after the war that makes her a great detective and this is where her true passion comes in.
She learns so much during the war chapters and so do you as a reader. I was amazed at the detail of not only the normal war things you would expect like battles that often caused death or disfigurements but also how the nurses had to check their bodies and clothes every day for lice and how they stayed warm during the night. There was so much detail and I know the author stayed true to real stories of war. It was during the war that Maisie falls in love with a handsome doctor.
I felt the point of the first book was more about character development and getting to know all the back story of Maisie Dobbs than it was a great mystery. There was a couple of things that happened that were quite a surprise.
I just love Maisie Dobbs herself. She was a wonderful character and she was such a deep, kind woman. There was no shallowness about her, even in her younger day. The reader of the audiobook does a fabulous job in reading the part and you can just picture Maisie sounded just like her.
This story is so deep and powerful, to me, it’s one of those books that just stays with you. I found myself thinking about it days after it was over. This book has mystery, romance, deep character development (you come to love them all), and the reality of war.
I can not wait to read the next one in the series.
Verdict: 4 stars
Have you read Maisie Dobbs? I’d love to hear what you thought! And if you’ve read other Maisie Dobbs books, let me know which ones are your favorites!
A Review of Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear
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“A female investigator every bit as brainy and battle-hardened as Lisbeth Salander.”
—Maureen Corrigan, NPR’s Fresh Air, on Maisie Dobbs
Maisie Dobbs got her start as a maid in an aristocratic London household when she was thirteen. Her employer, suffragette Lady Rowan Compton, soon became her patron, taking the remarkably bright youngster under her wing. Lady Rowan’s friend, Maurice Blanche, often retained as an investigator by the European elite, recognized Maisie’s intuitive gifts and helped her earn admission to the prestigious Girton College in Cambridge, where Maisie planned to complete her education.
The outbreak of war changed everything. Maisie trained as a nurse, then left for France to serve at the Front, where she found—and lost—an important part of herself. Ten years after the Armistice, in the spring of 1929, Maisie sets out on her own as a private investigator, one who has learned that coincidences are meaningful, and truth elusive. Her very first case involves suspected infidelity but reveals something very different.
In the aftermath of the Great War, a former officer has founded a working farm known as The Retreat, which acts as a convalescent refuge for ex-soldiers too shattered to resume a normal life. When Fate brings Maisie a second case involving The Retreat, she must finally confront the ghost that has haunted her for over a decade.