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Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear
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Maisie Dobbs (2003)

by Jacqueline Winspear

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It is 1929, midway between two world wars as a young woman opens her first 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. I really enjoyed getting to know Maisie Dobbs, her father and her "family" and can hardly wait to follow this fascinating person. ( )
  readerbynight | Apr 16, 2016 |
Maise Dobbs grew up during the pre WW1 years. She was poor but very bright. Took a position in wealthy home and soon was recognized as a woman with a future. She was able to get reading privileges and was soon on her way to college. The War interrupted her education and she became a Nurse. After the War she finished her education and became a psychologist and investigator. This was her first book in 2003 and won many awards. Her current book is a best seller. ( )
  pgabj | Apr 14, 2016 |
Another cheap audible first in series pick up, I loved this book! Not just another female detective mystery series, this book explores ill fated lovers from the great war. Maisie will win your heart while she solves the mystery. ( )
  sydsavvy | Apr 8, 2016 |
A well-written, if at times a bit standard, start to Winspear's mystery series. Thoughtfully executed but a bit undermined by a substantial flashback sequence that takes up most of the middle section of the book. That sequence certainly provides a detailed back story to the main protagonist but at the detriment to the effectiveness of the central mystery. Willing to at least try the next in the series to see if a more focus is given to Winspear's promising mystery plotting. Hopefully the next will also give a bit more complexity to the somewhat too perfect titular character. ( )
  Matthew.Ducmanas | Mar 18, 2016 |
3 3/4 stars. I had mixed feelings about Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear. At the beginning, I was a bit put off by the character herself - something about her was a bit annoying, and I really didn't like the hints of paranormal, which I thought were totally unnecessary. And the leap back in time to get Maisie's background was a bit jarring - by the end of it, I had almost forgotten the beginning (and the thread of the mystery there). That said, I really enjoyed the background about Maisie, and I liked her a lot better by the back half of the book. The end of the book was quite fascinating, and I couldn't put it down. It was going to be a 3-star rating based on the beginning, but starting edging towards 4-star in the back half. I look forward to trying more in the series - the potential for a great series is definitely there. ( )
  Booklover889 | Mar 17, 2016 |
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A strong protagonist and a lively sense of time and place carry readers along, and the details lead to further thought and understanding about the futility and horror of war, as well as a desire to hear more of Maisie. This is the beginning of a series, and a propitious one at that.
added by khuggard | editSchool Library Journal
 
For a clever and resourceful young woman who has just set herself up in business as a private investigator, Maisie seems a bit too sober and much too sad.
 
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Epigraph
Now, he will spend a few sick years in institutes,
And do what things the rules consider wise,
And take whatever pity may dole.
Tonight he noticed how the women's eyes
Passed from him to the strong men that were whole.
How cold and late it is! Why don't they come
And put him to bed? Why don't they come?

Final verse "Disabled" by Wilfred Owen. It was drafted at Craiglockhart, a hospital for shell-shocked officers, in October 1917. Owen was killed on November 4, 1918, just one week before the armistice.
Dedication
This book is dedicated to the memory of my paternal grandfather and my maternal grandmother.

JOHN "JACK" WINSPEAR sustained serious leg wounds during the Battle of the Somme in July 1916. Following convalescence, he returned to his work as a costermonger in southeast London.

CLARA FRANCES CLARK, nee Atterbury, was a munitions worker at the Woolwich Arsenal during the First World War. She was partially blinded in an explosion that killed several girls working in the same section alongside her. Clara later married and became the mother of ten children.
First words
Even if she hadn't been the last person to walk through the turnstile at Warren Street tube station, Jack Barker would have noticed the tall, slender woman in the navy blue, thigh-length jacket with a matching pleated skirt short enough to reveal a well-turned ankle.
Quotations
In seeking to fill your mind, I omitted to instruct you in the opposite exercise. This small book is for your daily writings, when the day is newborn and before you embark upon the richness of study and intellectual encounter. My instruction, Maisie, is to simply write a page each day. There is no set subject, save that which the waking mind has held close in sleep.
"Lord Compton has received word from the War Office that our horses are to be inspected for service this week.... I *cannot* let them go. I don't want to be unpatriotic, but they are my hunters." ... "Lady Compton. Our sympathies. The country needs one hundred and sixty-five thousand horses, but we need them to be fit, strong and able to be of service on the battlefield."
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0142004332, Paperback)

Hailed by NPR’s Fresh Air as part Testament of Youth, part Dorothy Sayers, and part Upstairs, Downstairs, this astonishing debut has already won fans from coast to coast and is poised to add Maisie Dobbs to the ranks of literature’s favorite sleuths.

Maisie Dobbs isn’t just any young housemaid. Through her own natural intelligence—and the patronage of her benevolent employers—she works her way into college at Cambridge. When World War I breaks out, Maisie goes to the front as a nurse. It is there that she learns that coincidences are meaningful and the truth elusive. After the War, Maisie sets up on her own as a private investigator. But her very first assignment, seemingly an ordinary infidelity case, soon reveals a much deeper, darker web of secrets, which will force Maisie to revisit the horrors of the Great War and the love she left behind.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:04:18 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

Private detective Maisie Dobbs must investigate the reappearance of a dead man who turns up at a cooperative farm called the Retreat that caters to men who are recovering their health after World War I.

» see all 5 descriptions

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