In the summer of 1932, Maisie Dobbs’ career goes in an exciting new direction when she accepts an undercover assignment directed by Scotland Yard’s Special Branch and the Secret Service. Posing as a junior lecturer, she is sent to a private college in Cambridge to monitor any activities “not in the interests of His Majesty’s Government.”
When the college’s controversial pacifist founder and principal, Greville Liddicote, is murdered, Maisie is directed to stand back as Detective Chief Superintendent Robert MacFarlane and Detective Chief Inspector Stratton spearhead the investigation. She soon discovers, however, that the circumstances of Liddicote’s death appear inextricably linked to the suspicious comings and goings of faculty and students under her surveillance.
To unravel this web, Maisie must overcome a reluctant Secret Service, discover shameful hidden truths about Britain’s conduct during the war, and face off against the rising powers of the Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei—the Nazi Party—in Britain.
A pivotal chapter in the life of Maisie Dobbs, A Lesson In Secrets marks the beginning of her intelligence work for the Crown. As the storm clouds of World War II gather on the horizon, Maisie will confront new challenges and new enemies—and will engage new readers and loyal fans of this bestselling mystery series.
If you aren't already familiar with Maisie Dobbs mysteries, I'm must recommend you start at book one. You are in for a dependably good series with our buttoned up heroine, whose humble beginnings belied her intelligence until her mentor (and boss) took her under his wing. In this case, I missed the prior installment (book 7) and definitely noticed the gaps in my reading continuum. However it did not hinder my enjoyment at meeting Maisie once again.
While admirable, Maisie is not without flaws - she is haunted by her experience as a nurse during World War I. The result is a focused and strident businesswoman who has mastered the ability to compartmentalize. She excels at logic, is practical, and large hearted - it is always a pleasure to watch her apply her calm and collected cleverness to a problem. In this case, Maisie works to uncover who killed the headmaster of a small college, while the groundwork of subversive groups is being laid in the years leading up to World War II . I appreciate how Ms. Winspear does not feel pressure to rush Maisie, whether solving a case or recovering from the trauma of war. Maisie is very much in control of her emotions and every once in a while we get to see a glimpse of her shell being chipped away.
These classic mysteries but with a freshness that comes from having such a unique character. As in all serials, some volumes are stronger than others, but all add a piece to the whole. And it is nice to have a reliable read - I always look forward to the latest Maisie Dobbs because I know it is a sure thing.
Review copy provided by Harper Collins.
Beth and Jennifer know their company monitors their office e-mail. But the women still spend all day sending each other messages, gossiping about their coworkers at the newspaper and baring their personal lives like an open book. Jennifer tells Beth everything she can't seem to tell her husband about her anxieties over starting a family. And Beth tells Jennifer everything, period.
When Lincoln applied to be an Internet security officer, he hardly imagined he'd be sifting through other people's inboxes like some sort of electronic Peeping Tom. Lincoln is supposed to turn people in for misusing company e-mail, but he can't quite bring himself to crack down on Beth and Jennifer. He can't help but be entertained-and captivated- by their stories.
But by the time Lincoln realizes he's falling for Beth, it's way too late for him to ever introduce himself. What would he say to her? "Hi, I'm the guy who reads your e-mail, and also, I love you." After a series of close encounters and missed connections, Lincoln decides it's time to muster the courage to follow his heart . . . even if he can't see exactly where it's leading him.
Written with whip-smart precision and charm, Attachments is a strikingly clever and deeply romantic debut about falling in love with the person who makes you feel like the best version of yourself. Even if it's someone you've never met.
This book came as a total surprise - I devoured it. There are two ways this could have gone - cheesy or creepy - and instead it was utterly charming, which is a testament to Ms. Rowell's skill. I am especially impressed because the book is (what I'm going to call) modern epistolary - told mostly in emails, her gift for dialogue shines.
Lincoln is a shy, unassuming guy with a conscience, particularly about his job, still nursing a broken heart from his high school girlfriend. When he develops a crush on Beth after reading her emails (his job, sort of) he cannot figure out how to make a move. Turns out you can learn a lot about people (and characters) by reading their emails. Beth is witty, kind, smart, and unfortunately taken - living with her longtime musician boyfriend. Even though you think you have their story figure out, it is sweetly surprising and a total delight.
Cleverly set in the late 90s before smart phones, texting, facebook, or twitter - why this "old fashioned" (really?) story works so well - it was a treat to recognize all the fun pop culture references. The characters are well developed, likable and real. I appreciate that there are no villains, everyone is equally flawed, which made this book a true pleasure. It has a purity that is hard to find in most modern light reads and I highly recommend you grab a copy.
author website: http://www.rainbowrowell.com
Review copy provided by Dutton.
Newlywed Caitlin Shetterly and her husband, Dan Davis, two hardworking freelancers, began their lives together in 2008 by pursuing a lifelong, shared dream of leaving Maine and going West. At first, California was the land of plenty. Quickly, though, the recession landed, and a surprise pregnancy that was also surprisingly rough made Caitlin too sick to work. By December, every job Dan had lined up had been canceled, and though he pounded the pavement, from shop to shop and from bar to bar, he could not find any work at all.
By March 2009, every cent of the couple's savings had been spent.
So, a year after they'd set out with big plans, Caitlin and Dan packed up again, this time with a baby on board, to make their way home to move in with Caitlin's mother. As they drove, Caitlin blogged about their situation and created audio diaries for NPR's Weekend Edition and received an astounding response. From all across the country, listeners offered help, opening their hearts and their homes.
And when the young family arrived back in rural Maine and squeezed into Caitlin's mother's small saltbox house, Caitlin learned that the bonds of family run deeper than any tug to roam, and that, with love, she and Dan could hold their dreams in sight, wherever they were.
Some of you may already be familiar with Caitlin Shetterly from her travelogue on NPR. I was not, but if you followed along the regular installments you already know about her young family's trip across the United States. Left with no option but to return home to Maine from an unsuccessful move out West, this memoir is billed as a road trip/recession/American tale.
Maybe it is just my age that causes this reaction, but I don't really get the hype. They were newly married, both creative types (she an actress and writer, he is a photographer) looking to make their mark in LA. Striking out to California was an effort to follow their dreams without much thought to potential hazards. Bright eyed and hopeful - they didn't seem to have too much to lose. And they did lose -a lot, I am not meaning to belittle their experience. Being in debt with a new baby and no provision on the horizon is surely terrifying. But in my opintion, chasing a dream and returning home while certainly humbling and scary is less about the recession and more about youthful pride. Shetterly and family made it just over a year, scraping by before packing it up and heading home.
I don't fault them for making the most of this opportunity, they just aren't the face of the recession from my point of view - they weren't downsized out of a long established profession or foreclosed. And Shetterly does not compare their situation to anyone else or proclaim they are the economy's poster children. I suppose my issue with the book is mainly the fault of the marketing department, and while I should be able to separate the two, sometimes I cannot. Although this is very readable, it could have been told as a feature article (in fact was in the NY Times) in combination with their NPR diaries and blog. At times, I found the writing to be a little flat - we went here, we did this, then this happened - without a lot of the depth or color I was expecting from this heavily billed American adventure/odyssey. When it comes to memoirs, I can be fairly nosy and felt like much was held back here. Nothing personal against the author or her experiences - I love a good story and while lots of people have stories to tell, they don't all require the volume of a book. Despite the obvious emotional tug, I didn't connect with it as I expected.
You can find out more here:
Caitlin Shetterly's blog: Passage West
This review copy was provided by NetGalley