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Review: Elegy for Eddie by Jacqueline Winspear

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I very much enjoyed this book, even more as a period/character piece than as a mystery.

Summary via TLC Tours:

Early April 1933. To the costermongers of Covent Garden—sellers of fruits and vegetables on the London streets—Eddie Pettit was a gentle soul with a near-magical gift for working with horses. So who would want to kill him . . . and why?

Maisie Dobbs’s father, Frankie, had been a costermonger, and she remembers Eddie fondly. But it soon becomes clear that powerful political and financial forces are determined to prevent her from learning the truth behind Eddie’s death. Maisie’s search for answers on the working-class streets of Lambeth leads her to unexpected places and people: to a callous press baron; to a has been politician named Winston Churchill; and, most surprisingly, to Douglas Partridge, the husband of her dearest friend, Priscilla. As Maisie uncovers lies and manipulation on a national scale, she must decide whether to risk everything to see justice done.

The book is set in England as the effects of WWI are still strongly felt, although the country is starting to recover, just a bit, and as the signs of the trouble that will become WWII are becoming visible to those that are looking. Maisie hasn’t been looking,not really,  but is noting the signs are around her.

Causing more immediate unrest is Maisie’s personal situation. She’s made a change of class in a way that she recognizes as unusual, and it has left her feeling unsettled and somewhat lonely. She tries to compensate for this by “fixing” the lives of those around her, while trying to deal with her romance that isn’t feeling quite like it should, a house she’s not quite comfortable settling into, and money she really doesn’t want to spend on herself.

The book largely takes place inside Maisie’s head, which worked well for me. I found the world through Maisie’s eyes to be a very interesting place.

And yes, there was a mystery. Eddie himself was a very interesting man, and looking into his death opened many interesting questions for Maisie, and a created a framework for the other events in the book. Perhaps I was too distracted by the rest to properly appreciate the mystery. It certainly wasn’t bad, it’s that the rest was so good…

I’m a fan of Maisie Dobbs, but I skipped a couple of books to get to this one. Quite a bit had happened in Maisie’s life in that time, none of it really a surprise. I don’t think you’d have trouble following the book without having read the earlier volumes, although I’m also not sure you’d enjoy spending that much time in Maisie’s head if you didn’t already know her.

If you are particularly interested in the WWII ties, I’d start here, otherwise I’d read some of the earlier books first– they are good as well.

I received this book for review on a TLC Book Tour.  Thank you for the opportunity to participate.  For other viewpoints on this book, visit the other tour stops:
TLC Book Tours

 
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Posted by on November 15, 2012 in books, reviews, tour

 

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Review: Pardonable Lies by Jacqueline Winspear

Pardonable Lies: A Maisie Dobbs Novel (Maisie Dobbs Mysteries (Paperback)) Pardonable Lies: A Maisie Dobbs Novel by Jacqueline Winspear


My review

rating: 4 of 5 stars
As I was reading, I was thinking this might be my first 5 star rating in a while. The characters were intriguing, the plot drew me in, the details on life in the 1930s were fascinating. The writing was wonderful (and I normally don’t notice the writing). The plot lines wrapped up one by one. Just one left dangling…

Then the book almost dropped to 3 stars, I was so angry about how that story line resolved. OK, I suspect if I went back to the beginning, the details needed to make the conclusion relevant were there. But I really felt like it was pulled out of nowhere.

Grumble. But the rest of the book was really good, so I’ll focus on that.

I’m a character driven reader– If a book has interesting characters, I can gloss over a lot of plot weakness. If the characters are weakly drawn, I have trouble caring about strong writing and plot. This book was strong on all of these.

The characters in this book were wonderful. I was drawn into Maisie’s conflict, coming to terms with her past while trying to solve some cases that dredged up her history with WWI. Even most of the secondary characters were textured, and there are several I’d like to get to know better.

After the characters, what I liked most about this books were the reflections of the effects of war, even years after it ends. You see the effects on people that were there and of those that are left behind, of the effects on entire communities.

I like this series, the earlier books as well as this one. I’ll go on to read the rest sooner rather than later. I’m just still disappointed in the conclusion of that one plotline!

View all my reviews.

 
5 Comments

Posted by on April 17, 2009 in books, reviews

 

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