I'd never heard of the author or 'Maisie Dobbs' before, but since the locale and time period are of interest, I decided to take a chance.
There's so much of value in this book, all in addition to the perfectly acceptable plot and complex, well-formed characters.
Maisie Dobbs is one of the newly-independent women in England, forced to become so because so many millions of men were killed or damaged during the Great War, they had no alternative to supporting themselves. She becomes an inquiry agent -- and this is one of her cases. She's also a psychologist, and througout the book, her psychological insights help her find the answers she was hired to find.
If you like 'period' mysteries -- Anne Perry, Charles Todd, Victoria Thompson, Michael Cox -- you'll like this series.
I like the detection alpects of these books, of course I do. But beyond that, it's all the tidbits of information the author includes -- how people lived, dressed, spoke, thought and interacted -- that adds to the charm.
A bunus in the audio version is a half-hour interview with the author, who tells how hard she works to keep the books technically accurate. Of particular interest were her comments about how words bounce back and forth between the continents, coming into vogue here or there, at various times throughout the centuries. For example, the word "smog" was in use in 1904 London -- we just think it's a modern term.
I'm looking for more "Maisie Dobbs" books -- and hope they're all narrated by Orlagh Cassidy, who gave a marvelous performance. I was sorry to see the book end.
"Messenger of Truth" is a fine book in every sense. You won't be disappointed.
Can't quite get my mind around this one yet. I have few doubts that book clubs, having picked this book, will spend many hours debating what it all really means.
The plot swings from one extreme to another -- at points, it's almost too harsh to bear. A young suicide victim is refused burial in the "regular" part of the cemetery, shunted off, instead, to the section for the damned, those hopelessly beyond salvation. And then there's the 'prairie raw', parts, where the bleak and bitter nature of farm life is laid on with a trowel. For me, the dead animal quotient came perilously close to being too high. Time after time, I was within a hair of signing off, finding something a little easier to listen to.
But I didn't turn it off -- which says something else about this book.
It has its delightful moments too, some of them hilarious. This is a German Lutheran town -- seriously judgemental and harsh in its own right, in terms of how 'newcomers' are treated, in terms of what's done and what's not done. In that sense, Clara is a fish out of water. As a pastor's wife, certain standards of conduct are imposed upon her, and she is expected to comply. But she seems blithely unaware, or better yet, doesn't much care. One absolutely hilarious scene has her showing up, seriously pregnant, at a women's circle meeting in shorts, an incident that will no doubt be recounted with titillation and delighted horror for the next hundred years or so. That vignette is wonderful, exceptionally well written and insightful. I wish there'd been more scenes like that.
The narrator? Once again, this one didn't do her homework. I don't understand why professional narrators don't check for the correct pronunciation of local place names. In this one, Hillary Huber, who otherwise does a good job, repeatedly renders the Minnesota town of "Mankato" as man-KHAAT-o, whereas any real prairie kid will know it's man-KAY-o. Stupid error -- would only have taken a moment to check, and instead, it renders her as less than professional.
Would I recommend "Little Wolves"? Maybe. Sort of. I guess. I'm glad I listened, and I know parts of it will stick in my mind for a long time. Other parts are sufficiently disturbing I can't forget them soon enough. If you like prairie stories, with all that entails, you might find it as intriguing as I did.
Quite possibly one of the best short stories ever written. An amazing little tale, lots of authentic details, unparalleled suspense, an ending... well, no spoilers here. Scott Brick's narration is perfect.
I listened to it, was so taken by the story I wanted to send a print copy to an elderly friend who only reads paper books, not audio or electronic. Surprisingly, the book is not available. In fact, it's not available as an audiobook from Audible right now, either.
Not sure what's going on, but I will continue to look for a paper copy -- if you haven't read/heard this one yet, you've missed something. Hope it will be available again soon.
I didn't actually like the Jacqueline Winspear books, although I wanted to, but I did like this one. I've started the second in this series and it's even better. In this first book, I think the writing was a bit 'loose', if that makes sense. I mean that sometimes people seemed to talk too long about a topic, but overall I liked it very much. It really is, as someone said, a cozy spy book, which I think is a new genre. There was a lot more plot than I expected, with some real surprises and the heroine is definitely the 'heroine', meaning a bit larger than life. It's many decades since I read Nancy Drew, but I remember admiring her as a young girl and this heroine is worth looking up to as well, as she solves problems that don't tend to happen in everyday life.
One always associates the "Keep Calm and Carry On" motto to the British and the 'stiff upper lip", but I had never really connected it to wartime, Winston Churchill, and that resolute attitude he helped the Brits maintain, before it was known that Hitler was not going to be able to steamroll over Britain as well. I find it a more inspiring quote now, plus we learned a variation: KPO for Keep Plodding On and another variation in Book 2. Good for some days at work! Also, helps one to remember every day to be grateful for NOT being in a war zone.