Be omnivorous, don't just read one kind of book, read everything. - Richard Wagamese

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Review: Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear

Publisher: Penguin Books
Pages: 294
Released: 2004
Source: Personal Copy
Review: 4/5


When fourteen year-old Maisie's mother passes away her father does what he believes to be best for Maisie and sends her away to work. Maisie is forced to move away from her father and begin work as a service maid. Her hopes of continuing her education are crushed, and her whole world is torn apart. Maisie begins sneaking into the manor library in the middle of the night to finds books that interest her. When Lady Rowan catches Maisie in the library, reading psychology and philosophy books, she realizes that Maisie is not an ordinary maid. Lady Rowan promises Maisie to hire a tutor, as long as she continues her work. Maisie ultimately qualifies for Cambridge, but when war erupts, Maisie feels drawn to become a nurse. Hopefully, Cambridge will wait. After years of service in the war, Maisie returns home and follows in the footsteps of her tutor. Maisie sets up an office and becomes a private investigator. 


After receiving a lot of Buzz, I had to pick up the first book in the series and see what it was all about. Maisie Dobbs wasn't exactly what I was expecting. The book is categorized as a mystery, and it wasn't a typical mystery novel. The book opens with Maisie investigating a woman, when her husband suspects that she is cheating on him. The mystery is solved quickly, and then readers are introduced to Maisie and her past. The mystery takes a back seat to Maisie's storyline. While I thought the story was great, and I enjoyed learning about Maisie, it fell short with the mystery aspect. Perhaps, the other books in the series will be more mysterious. 

I really enjoyed Maisie's character and her back story. Masie thrived, when put it difficult situations. I would love to continue the series and see Maisie grow as a detective and woman. I really enjoyed the historical aspect of the novel, and thought Maisie was a strong character. It was different than other novels that deal with World War I. Maisie focuses on the men who came back as different people and felt displaced, and the women who felt like they needed to do something to help the war effort. Maisie lost many friends during the war, and wants to help those that she can still help. 

I really want to continue the series, and I have no idea how it will progress. I wonder what can possibly be in store for Maisie. 


  1. I read one book in this series out of order and didn't love it. I've been told I need to go back and start from the beginning.

  2. Great review. Interesting, are these cozy mysteries?

    1. I'm not sure if they would be considered cozy mysteries.

  3. I love the Maisie Dobbs books. I would definitely recommend reading more of them. Maisie has lots of interesting adventures.

  4. I liked the historical bits, but felt that the mystery was a little floppy for my tastes, and haven't gone back and read any more in this series. I am glad you loved it though. I think I just wanted more of the mystery to be satisfying.

  5. I've been considering this one. So sad to hear the mystery falls short. Sounds like it's not for me then. Thanks for your review.

  6. I have this one in my reread stack. It's been ages since I read it the first time around and I desperately want to get into the rest of the series, but I think I need to reread this first one before I dive into the rest -- my memory is definitely not what it used to be!

  7. Nice review. I thought the book was excellent and it didn't bother me that the mystery component wasn't as mysterious as it could have been, as I really enjoyed Maisie's back story. I plan on reading the second novel in the series in the next week or two and am very much looking forward to returning to Maisie's world.

  8. I read one of the more recent books and enjoyed it, but I really want to go back to the beginning to get all the details. Glad you enjoyed it enough to continue with the series.