Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Maisie Dobbs Introduces a Strong Female P.I. and Post-World-War-I England

I am a reader of series. I love the knowledge that one book is followed by another and another, all about a character I have come to know and love. Because I am not usually a fan of historical fiction, I resisted giving in to the Maisie Dobbs series by Jacqueline Winspear. As oft is the case, I was wrong.

Beloved female investigator Maisie Dobbs has detected her way through eight novels, with a ninth being released in March. I picked up a copy of the first book at my favorite used book store during my honeymoon in January, but I just started reading it two days ago. Two days ago, and I finished it last night -- in less than 24 hours!

Turns out, I do not dislike historical fiction as much as I thought. In fact, when it comes to Maisie Dobbs, I don't dislike historical fiction at all.

The series begins in 1929 England, as main character Maisie Dobbs opens her first investigative office in a less-than-ideal area of town. Her first case seems to be an open-and-shut one, but it leads -- as many things do -- to a more complicated situation.

Winspear expertly weaves Maisie's present with her past. In this first novel in the series, she takes readers all the way back to Maisie's childhood and relates her story from her father's tiny home to benefactor Lady Rowan's large estate to Cambridge University's Girton College. An important part of Maisie's history is also revealed in her work as a Red Cross nurse in France during World War I.

The first novel in particular (and perhaps the entire series, based solely on back-of-book descriptions) is set in the late 1920s, yet is also tied to the Great War and its long-lasting effects. As Maisie's war story unfolds, Winspear delves into some deeper themes that are still relevant today.

Coming up next month is March is Maisie Month, with a tour from TLC Book Tours, which I will be participating in. I'll be reviewing the seventh book in the series, The Mapping of Love and Death. Up until then, I plan on catching up on all the books in the series! The second and third books are in my possession at the moment, and I've already started the second one.

For more about Jacqueline Winspear, visit her website, check out the dates for her upcoming book tour, and visit her Maisie Dobbs blog.


  1. I'm so glad you've discovered how delightful this series is! I read them all last year and just love Maisie. I'm eager to read the ninth one. Perhaps I will dig into it this weekend. Happy reading!

    1. They are fantastic! I think I saw your name on the list for the blog tour, too. I'm excited about reading all the books by the end of March! I should have listened to all your positive reviews of the series a long time ago!

  2. I, too, just love Maisie, and I love a series, where I can learn about the character over time, as you learn about new friends, in "real life". My name is on the list at the library; as soon as the book is released, my coffee cup and I will claim an armchair for the evening.
    God bless, Christine in Los Angeles



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