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The Care and Management of Lies by…
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The Care and Management of Lies

by Jacqueline Winspear

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4073326,158 (3.74)36
  1. 00
    Wake by Anna Hope (ddelmoni)
  2. 00
    The Cartographer of No Man's Land by P.S. Duffy (mysterymax)
    mysterymax: Both books deal with both the men at war and the family at home.
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(Fiction, Historical, WWI)

Two women have been friends since childhood. Now adults, one marries the brother of the other and moves to the family farm. War erupts and Tom enlists, and it falls to Kezia to run the farm, without much help because all the other young men are also enlisting.

Interesting in that regard, but otherwise unmemorable and too easily tied up at the end.

3½ stars ( )
  ParadisePorch | Dec 5, 2016 |
Oh dear. Luckily, my expectations were low. Under edited and boring. ( )
  laurenbufferd | Nov 14, 2016 |
The Care and Management of Lies - Winspear
4 stars

Two young women and two young men, in the early years of the 20th century, at the beginning of the Great War; it has to be a tragic story. Kezia and Thea have the great good fortune of a boarding school education. Their friendship is well established from their mutual position as scholarship girls. Initially, they both become teachers, but Kezia chooses the life of a farmer’s wife, married to Thea’s brother. Thea inches ever closer to personal disaster as an activist in both women’s sufferance and the pacifist movements. Tom is a farmer, but he is not landed gentry. Two generations back, the farm was won in a bet from the lord of the manor. The current lord, Edmund Hawkes, becomes an officer while Tom becomes a private under his command.

The characters are in place and the scene is set. Winspear is an expert at creating the atmosphere of this time period. Her characters are people who are in conflict with their relationships and with their changing belief systems. There are no easy answers. I think that is what prevents the story from becoming trite or maudlin. Kezia is the triumphant character who literally holds down the farm while her husband, her neighbors, and her sister-in-law go to war.
As to the management of lies? There are many lies in a war, but specifically, the book focuses on the ‘lies’ of Kezia’s letters to her husband while he is on the front lines. She refrains from giving him any bad news about the farm and fills her letters with descriptions of imaginative meals that she plans to cook for him. She chose the traditional woman’s role, but fulfills it in a most untraditional way.

I had an advance copy of this book, ‘uncorrected proof, not for sale’. I expect to find typographical errors and misspellings. I do not usually find poor grammar and indecipherable sentence structure. There were so many errors in the first chapter, so very essential to the introduction of characters, that I almost put the book down. I’m very glad that I did not because overall this is a great story. I can only hope that a good editor will clean up the first chapter before publication. I was very tempted to pull out my red teacher’s pencil.
( )
  msjudy | May 30, 2016 |
Sweet and sad. The ending is a bit abrupt, but it fits. I have read just the first Maisie Dobbs book (so far!), and the writing in this strikes me a somewhat more relaxed. Odd how coincidences occur on your reading list at times, this is the second book I have read in the past 6 weeks or so that featured a female ambulance driver in WWI. ( )
  MaureenCean | Feb 2, 2016 |
2 1/2. The writing was excellent, but I did not like where she took the story line. ( )
  crazeedi73 | Jan 30, 2016 |
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Epigraph
What is certain, is that war will not leave us as it found us.
WOMAN AT HOME
February 1915
Dedication
To Amy 
With love and gratitude always
First words
The country was in the early weeks of a summer that would become memorable for its warmth and, despite worries farther afield, there was a sense of being cocooned in Englishness.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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"By July 1914, the ties between Kezia Marchant and Thea Brissenden, friends since girlhood, have become strained--by Thea's passionate embrace of women's suffrage, and by the imminent marriage of Kezia to Thea's brother, Tom, who runs the family farm. When Kezia and Tom wed just a month before war is declared between Britain and Germany, Thea's gift to Kezia is a book on household management--a veiled criticism of the bride's prosaic life to come. Yet when Tom enlists to fight for his country and Thea is drawn reluctantly onto the battlefield, the farm becomes Kezia's responsibility. Each must find a way to endure the ensuing cataclysm and turmoil. As Tom marches to the front lines, and Kezia battles to keep her ordered life from unraveling, they hide their despair in letters and cards filled with stories woven to bring comfort. Even Tom's fellow soldiers in the trenches enter and find solace in the dream world of Kezia's mouth-watering, albeit imaginary meals. But will well-intended lies and self-deception be of use when they come face to face with the enemy?" --… (more)

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