The Mapping of Love and Death by Jaqueline Winspear – Book Review

The Mapping of Love and Death by Jacqueline Winspear Published by Harper Perennial, an imprint of Harper Collins

My reviews of the first six books in the seriesMaisie DobbsBirds of a FeatherPardonable LiesMessenger of TruthAn Incomplete Revenge, Among the Mad.

The son of an American mother and a British father raised in the United States, Michael Clifton feels the need to fight for his father’s country as soon as he hears about the outbreak of World War I. As a mapmaker, he has skills that are invaluable to the war effort. Unfortunately, Michael goes missing during the war with his entire company. When they are discovered, dead in a bunker, Michael’s family is able to retain his personal letters and journal and discover that he was involved with a nurse during the war. Hoping for someone who can serve as a connection to their son, the Clifton’s engage Maisie’s services to find the girl, but looking over the autopsy, Maisie can see that there is a bigger mystery: Michael was murdered before the bunker was bombed.

This was another well-put together case and mystery for Maisie, Winspear is doing a fabulous job keeping the mysteries fresh and the cases unique. However, in this case, I barely paid attention to Maisie’s case because of some interesting personal developments. Maisie’s personal emotional growth has been happening slowly over the past few books, ever since a case took her to France in Messenger of Truth, first as she came to terms with her psychological scars from the war, then as she began to try to live a richer life in the present. Without being too specific or introducing spoilers, The Mapping of Love and Death holds some progress in this area, a means of progress that had not occurred to me, but which make me incredibly happy.

I’m not sure what higher praise I can give to this series than to say that I’ve been reading one of Winspear’s books every two weeks for the last two and a half months, and I cannot wait to read the next book, and I have no idea what I’m going to do when I do, because then I’ll have to wait an entire year for the next book.

Highly recommended.

Buy this book from:
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Source: Personal copy.
* These links are all affiliate links. If you buy your book here I’ll make a very small amount of money that goes towards hosting, giveaways, etc.
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Among the Mad by Jacqueline Winspear – Book Review

Among the Mad by Jacqueline Winspear
Published by Picador, an imprint of Macmillan

My reviews of the first five books in the series: Maisie Dobbs, Birds of a Feather, Pardonable Lies, Messenger of Truth, An Incomplete Revenge.

Christmas, 1931. Not the happiest of holidays. Doreen, the wife of Maisie’s assistant Billy Beale, is still suffering severe mental anguish about the death of their daughter a year ago, to the point where she can barely care for their two boys. And yet, the Beales are in a better position than many in London. There are men everywhere with war injuries both physical and psychological. This is something Maisie knows all too well after her own wartime injuries and the psychological scar that is only just now healing. The pain of so many, though, is brought into stark relief when a man commits suicide with a grenade on a busy street right in front of Maisie, knocking her unconscious. As if a concussion wasn’t bad enough, an anonymous letter writer threatening the lives of Members of Parliament if something is not done to draw attention to the plight of the invisible veterans. Now Maisie must give up her solitary ways and work with Scotland Yard in order to find this man before he unleashes havoc on all of London.

This is the part where I start to get all gushy about this series. I said in my review of An Incomplete Revenge that I really, really liked it, and that it was the best of the series so far. Well, Among the Mad blew An Incomplete Revenge out of the water. Part of the appeal of Among the Mad was the necessary immediacy, the initial note giving them only two days before the writer began taking unspecified action. Unlike the other Maisie Dobbs books, it had elements of a police procedural, but it also got even deeper into the psychological ramifications of the war on the British people than any of the previous books.

Between the focus on shell shock and psychological affects of warfare and the increased sense of danger and anticipation, I could simply not put Among the Mad down and I absolutely cannot wait to pick up the next book in the series.

Buy this book from:
Powells | Indiebound*

Source: Personal copy.
* These links are all affiliate links. If you buy your book here I’ll make a very small amount of money that goes towards hosting, giveaways, etc.
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An Incomplete Revenge by Jacqueline Winspear – Book Review

An Incomplete Revenge by Jacqueline Winspear
Published by Picador, an imprint of Macmillan

My reviews of the first four books in the series: Maisie Dobbs, Birds of a Feather, Pardonable Lies, Messenger of Truth.

Whether the problem is summer or simply the increasingly dire economic depression, business is tough for Maisie. So tough that she is quite happy that her employee, Billy, will be off picking hops in Kent for a week with his family, because it relieves her from having to pay his salary when there is no work coming in. Coincidentally enough, when work does come in, in the form of James Compton, son of Maisie’s benefactor Lady Compton, Maisie finds herself heading for Kent as well. Compton’s company is interested in a brickworks, but is concerned about the small fires that occur in the town yearly, as well as the acts of petty vandalism. Eventually, the mystery traces back to what happened during the war, both in France and at home, as all of Maisie’s cases do.

This is probably my favorite Maisie Dobbs book so far, which is a relief since the fourth book, Messenger of Truth, was probably my least favorite. My love of this one is a combination of a couple factors. First was the exploration of community and how small towns dealt with losing most of their young men in the war, and what that left them in the aftermath. Secondly, we were able to explore more of Maisie’s past and her family history. It is revealed relatively early on in this book that Maisie’s grandmother was a gypsy, which accounts for her gift of something that is a little more than intuition. I was happy to finally have an explanation of that, because Maisie’s occasional near clairvoyance has always bothered me just a bit.

The most captivating and moving of the Maisie Dobbs book yet. Bring on book five! If you haven’t started this series yet, what are you waiting for?

Buy this book from:
Powells | Indiebound*

Source: Personal copy.
* These links are all affiliate links. If you buy your book here I’ll make a very small amount of money that goes towards hosting, giveaways, etc.
Digiprove sealCopyright protected by Digiprove © 2011