How happy I am to have discovered both Jacqueline Winspear AND Maisie Dobbs! What a treat to read about an intelligent young woman, born poor and thus condemned to a life of servitude by her marriage and subsequent children, who, through a twist of fate, actually found herself at Girton College and running her own business!
I loved this novel. I loved seeing Maisie start out on her career. I loved the extended back-flash that explained Maisie’s life from age 13 (when she is taken on as a maid by Lady Rowan) to the age of 32 (when she starts her own business) in 1929. I loved the wartime romance. And I even loved the heartbreaking outcome of said romance.
Maisie makes mistakes and that is one of the reasons why everyone loves her. She is kind to people who are poor and modest. She uses her gifts to help people. So of course it was disappointing that she let her fiancé down. But so true to life, and thus so powerful and compelling.
Despite its many marvelous qualities, one can tell this is a first novel. Ms. Winspear gives way too many stage directions, with arched eyebrows, posture detailings, cigarette handlings, and winks. This is very distracting to the reader/listener and interrupts the narrative flow.
Apart from that, the novel is near-perfect. Quite a triumph for a debut novel! Five stars.Tap here for your copy of Maisie Dobbs
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