This book Maisie Dobbs
by Jacqueline Winspear
is the latest to enthrall me (so much so that I've already bought the rest of the series and read all of them). If you are stuck in the void of what should I read next
, I heartily recommend Masie
. Set in the early 1900's, Maisie is sent to work as a servant in a manor, but the lady of the house recognizes her potential and intelligence so Maisie is able to get educated and move beyond her humble beginnings. She is accepted into Girton College (part of Cambridge Uni I think). In the midst of it all, WWI starts and she joins as a nurse to help out the cause. She falls in love during the war, but loses him (you'll find out how in book #1 it's heartbreaking). After the war is over, she becomes a private investigator and solves cases and such, all the while trying to recover from her experiences during the war. Back then it was referred to as "shell-shocked", nowadays it's prob known as PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder). Winspear writes not only a clever plot regarding the mystery aspect of the novel (for Maisie does solve cases) but she details the conditions of Britain following the war...economically, socially etc in a vivid way that keeps the reader very interested. I guess you can draw some parallels to today in terms of how soldiers who come back from a conflict (Iraq) and how difficult it is for them to deal with...everything.
Maisie is not a static character who goes around solving cases, you can see her character develop as the book progresses.
For example did you know that (this is from Birds of a Feather
), that back in the day some Col. thought it'd be brilliant to have a group of women go around distributing feathers to all the boys they could to try and drum up army recruitment? A white feather was apparently a sign of cowardice and to get one from a woman implied you were "not a man". A lot of men enlisted because of this (many of them underrage), but it was a terrible way to get them to enlist...
Anyways, I can't stop raving about this book. Go, read it...be enthralled.