The ONLY reason I didn't give this 5 stars is the fact that I would really love to have this book with an audiobook cd attached, read by Stephen Fry h...moreThe ONLY reason I didn't give this 5 stars is the fact that I would really love to have this book with an audiobook cd attached, read by Stephen Fry himself. It was so easy to get through when you can imagine his voice reading the words but I kept losing that voice and thus losing my ability to keep up with what I was reading. It makes so much more sense when you "hear" him reading it, and doesn't seem so dry then. If you know his voice, then you probably know what I mean.
Have found out that it is available in audio...found on Amazon.com.
Thanks to the poster on my blog that informed me of such a surprise!(less)
I WANT THIS BOOK!!! Really badly. I have it checked out from the library, and quite frankly, had to quit reading as I really need my own copy that I c...moreI WANT THIS BOOK!!! Really badly. I have it checked out from the library, and quite frankly, had to quit reading as I really need my own copy that I can notate places in the book!
3 pages in and already decided!!!! EEEEEKKKKKSSSS!
Friday, July 18, 2008:::::Returned it to the library yesterday, didn't want to, wonder if I could sneak it out and keep it, LOL! Just kidding. But definitely on my Wish List!!!(less)
Okay, first off, this is an exceptional book. Delving into the mysteries and lives of the art world and the plot line of this story. Great book. Highl...moreOkay, first off, this is an exceptional book. Delving into the mysteries and lives of the art world and the plot line of this story. Great book. Highly recommended.
But.....I think I hated this book. It is so filled with pain and despair that it affected my mood, or maybe it was my mood that affected how I related to the book, who knows. Several of the plot twists I probably could have lived without, personally. But they do not take away from the book, it really just enhances the emotions that the characters in the book are going thru.
But one pet peeve: I know we live in a time of "liberation" and "self-sustaining" lifestyles for women. I'm all for a strong female character. But it seems that time and time again, I am drawn to these series where the female lead is "doomed" "meant to" (whatever) be alone. As someone who is alone, I find it really irritating. It is all well and good to have characters who are so self assured that they don't "need" anyone else to make them whole. That is really great. But it seems to be a trend to have female characters standing alone rather than in a compatible relationship with whomever.
Not to take away from the character of Maisie Dobbs. It is just that by this time you've seen her go thru so much pain and desolation, that you just hope and pray that she finds someone, if not a mate/soul companion, then a truly good friend that she can enjoy life with. She is by now seeming to be so isolated. I hope that in the next installment, she starts living "outside/with-out" herself and has some joy in her life.
Okay, here are some of my favorite passages in the book...
_________________ [Billy] "So, what you're sayin' is that I've just got to swallow it and go on wiv me job."
Maisie nodded. "Look at the world beyond your immediate emotion, the immediate fury of inequality. Choose your battles, Billy."
The sea lapped even closer, though Maisie remained in place, her hands holding her collar to protect her neck. It's because it's the beginning, and also the end. That was what she loved about the place where the water met the land---the promise of something fresh, a suggestion that, even if what is happening now is to be suffered, there is an end and a beginning. I could sail away on that beginning, thought Maisie, as she turned to leave.
Something had been ignited within her in that house. If her soul were a room, it was as if light were now shining in a corner that had been dark. And she'd been touched by something less tangible, something she'd found among people who saw nothing unusual in painting trees on walls. Perhaps it was the freedom to strike out on one's own path, seeing not a risk in that which was new, only opportunity.
---but Nolly is the eldest, and that's almost like being another parent. (less)
This book is as good as the first, and lends even more insight into the world of the time and life after WWI. Details of the times that I first learne...moreThis book is as good as the first, and lends even more insight into the world of the time and life after WWI. Details of the times that I first learned about in one of Elizabeth Peters' Amelia Peabody books. To reveal it here would be to give away an important plot detail in the book, so read it and find out.
Jacqueline Winspear is rapidly joining the ranks of my favorite authors. I enjoy a good read that requires me to pay attention to even some of the smallest details. She delves into a spiritual level of investigation that insists that we each take stock in our own intuition and instincts. That to deny them or to push them aside as not worthy or notice is to deny part of ourselves, and part of our inherent warning system. Maisie Dobbs is a character that prompts us to use more of our "brain power", our intellect, our observations, our gut urges, etc. Brava! (less)
I was charmed and very moved by this book. The empathy and insight of the title character, Maisie Dobbs, is a delight to read. She sounds like a perso...moreI was charmed and very moved by this book. The empathy and insight of the title character, Maisie Dobbs, is a delight to read. She sounds like a person everyone should be blessed to have in their life. And to read her backstory, it is touching and heartbreaking. And she uses her insight to aid her client(s).
Her first client is a gentleman who suspects his wife of infidelity. Maisie makes sure that she finds out what he intends to do with the information, and how he would react if it were proven true. She is an ethical person, who wants to make sure that nothing untoward and "evil" will come of her investigation. The story then spins into another case. The whole book is truly a joy to read and I cannot recommend it enough! (less)
This is definitely my favorite so far of the series. Especially considering I found the last one to be most depressing. Hope seems to be returning to...moreThis is definitely my favorite so far of the series. Especially considering I found the last one to be most depressing. Hope seems to be returning to Maisie's world, despite her suffering one more loss in this book. And the portent of WWII looms in the not so distant future.
Winspear's books are very much a recommended read, and as I have now caught up with the books so far published, I shall sit here and sulk until another comes out...
For those who know a little as I do about the Depression era in the UK as compared to the US, this would help realize the helplessness and hopelessness and despair of the time.
Here is a passage that I found rather moving:
Quote: '"In some ways, Maisie, similar work has engaged us of late. We --- my contacts overseas and my colleagues in London --- are most concerned with a growing frustration on the other side of the Channel. The depression we find ourselves in here, and which is causing havoc in America, is allowing people to give weight to that which divides them, rather than to the shared experiences and elements of connection they see mirrored in their fellow man. There are those in Germany who would use discrimination to elevate their politics, which gives us cause for disquiet. And on the continent in Spain, inequities threaten to become incendiary. There are many people, Maisie --- and I confess, I am among their number --- who believe our peace to be only so resilient and who fear another war." "I pray it doesn't come to that, Maurice." "Yes, pray, Maisie. Do pray." And as her beloved mentor regarded the vista before him, his hands clenched on the arms of his chair, Maisie reached across and placed her hand on his.'
**spoiler alert** I must say, I like the Grace and Favor books better than the Jane Jeffrey books (not that I dislike them). In these books, I learned...more**spoiler alert** I must say, I like the Grace and Favor books better than the Jane Jeffrey books (not that I dislike them). In these books, I learned a bit of history I didn't learn in high school. But then that isn't hard considering that in the south that I grew up in most of American History classes revolved around the Civil War. The era just before FDR came to be president is a bit of a blur. Churchill's books, while fiction, helped fill in some details...and trust me, I checked if some of these were real incidents or not. And they were.
These are not "heavy thinking" books, they are cozies to be enjoyed as a relatively quick read. Despite that, I really recommend these books for history buffs as well as cozy readers.
Here is the blurb from the author's site:
IT HAD TO BE YOU CIt’s the 3rd of March 1933, the day before Franklin Roosevelt’s inauguration and Robert goes to Washington D.C. for the event. While he’s gone, Lily is visiting a nursing home close to Grace and Favor. The owner, Miss Twibell, an experienced nurse who owns it, is minus an assistant nurse. She wants to hire Lily and Robert.
One of the patients, a nasty old man, Sean Connor, is the only patient who is seriously ill, and not expected to live very much longer. The first day the Brewster’s work there, he goes into a coma and dies. Nobody’s surprised until it’s revealed that he’s been murdered. Chief of Police Walker can’t imagine why somebody would bother to murder old Mr. Connor when he had only hours to live. Several people visited that morning.
Walker also has another crime to deal with. A young man was reported to have been pushed into an almost frozen lake near a town upriver before last Christmas. No body was found. Now, when the ice started the spring break-up, a body came to the surface, so deteriorated that nobody can figure out who it might be. Walker interviews some of the neighbors. Then having given the temporarily disabled chief of police a bit of advice, before going back to Voorburg.
Walker, helped along by Lily and Robert’s snooping, begins to see the patterns in both crimes starting to turn into good theories. But lacking solid proof, he has to call on Lily and Robert to acquire a vital piece of evidence. (less)
**spoiler alert** I really enjoy Jill Churchill's Grace and Favor books, but haven't read nearly enough of them, LOL. I learned a lot of history just...more**spoiler alert** I really enjoy Jill Churchill's Grace and Favor books, but haven't read nearly enough of them, LOL. I learned a lot of history just by researching some of the social situations she mentions and/or alludes to in her books.
This book was a really good read, but I did kind of wonder about the swastika mentioned in the book. I wondered if that really would have had such an impact before WWII as after. That would be my only real criticism.
Recommended for any who enjoy mysteries set in the depression era, or anyone who loves cozies.
WHO'S SORRY NOW? Sister and Brother duo Lily and Robert Brewster may not have a penny to their names, but at least they are in good company. Times are bad for the whole country in 1933. The town's post office burned down and wasn't replaced, so the mail gets dumped off in bags by trains going up the Hudson River, and people have to rummage for their letters and packages.
When a shocked Robert hears a group of gossipy old women going through other people's mail and even threatening to destroy it, he knows something must be don. Perhaps the kindly porter at the train station who recently help haul bags and trunks for a young woman and her newly arrived German Grandfather, would sort throught the mail in a orderly and private fashion.
But when the porter is found dead, and a red swastika is painted on the German's tailor's new shop window, Robert knows that something deeper and more sinister is going on. Even back at Grace and Favor, the town's best handymen, Harry and Jim Harbinger, are hired to pull out some dead bushes in front of the house, a very old skeleton is is found tanlgled in the roots, which Lily finds interesting when a visiting archeologist carefully unearths it. Robert's not happy about this.(less)
As much as I like the Grace and Favor books, this one just didn't live up to the others as much. But it is still good and I do recommend.
It was a wei...moreAs much as I like the Grace and Favor books, this one just didn't live up to the others as much. But it is still good and I do recommend.
It was a weird, convoluted read, and while you may pick the "bad guy" out early on, and the reasons behind it, it still takes you for a mental rollercoaster of a ride trying to sort out the stories.
Blurb from Author's site:
LOVE FOR SALE Sister and brother Lily and Robert Brewster raised in the lap of luxury, may no longer have a penny to their names. But at least they have a roof over their heads — which is more than may can say in this bleak November of 1932. And now there’s even some cash rolling in, since the Brewsters have taken part time teaching duties at the local grade school.
But their luck turns sour when a mysteriously and badly disguised stranger comes to Grace and Favor wishing to pay generously to have a very secret meeting there shortly before the national election of either Hoover or Roosevelt. Are they gangsters? Pretty Boy Floyd is rumored to be somewhere near. Worse yet, are they a rabid political group trying to stop Roosevelt being elected at last minute by making up some real dirt about him?
When one of the mystery guests is murdered in his bath, and Mary Towerton’s little boy is kidnapped, the pace becomes hectic. In the end a local woman Lily has made friends with, a secretary from upriver, and one of the children at the school provide the vital clues that allow Lily to put two and two together, but only after a wild car chase with three women drivers. (less)