Teaser Tuesdays: Pardonable Lies

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

* Grab your current read
* Open to a random page
* Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
* BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
* Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

I finished An Incomplete Revenge last night, and enjoyed it so much! (My post will be up on Monday, in timing with the Maisie Dobbs Read-Along.) So I started right in on book #3 which I had skipped over: Pardonable Lies. I DO like my Maisie.

So today, from page 149:

Maisie left London before seven in the morning, her clothes, books, and papers packed in a small case of dark brown leather with straps across to ensure her belongings were secure. She carried her black document case and wore a gray-and-blue tweed jacket with a pale gray silk blouse, light gray woolen trousers, black shoes, and, to top off her ensemble, a dark gray hat with a broader brim than usual, a black band and a dark blue feather on the side, which was attached to the band with a deep blue stone in a sapphire cut.

You know, I said earlier in our read-along that the fashion details weren’t my cuppa because I’m pretty fashion-unconscious and all, but I’m changing my mind. I really enjoy being able to picture these details, and I really appreciate Maisie’s style; she’s simple but classy, even elegant, even if Priscilla does think she’s too plain. That’s how I see her.

I think this passage sees Maisie off on her journey back to France for the first time since the war, and I happen to have a fairly strong, foreshadowed feeling that things don’t go well for her there. But doesn’t she look smart heading off? I like the items like the black document case, and her nurse’s watch, that follow her through the series and whose histories we know. It gives a neat sense of continuity; it’s rewarding us for reading the whole series. (And here I am out of order, sigh, what else is new. I like it fine this way though.)

I am enjoying Maisie yet again! Stay tuned!

book beginnings on Friday: An Incomplete Revenge

Thanks to Katy at A Few More Pages for hosting this meme. To participate: Share the first line (or two) of the book you are currently reading on your blog or in the comments. Include the title and the author so we know what you’re reading. Then, if you feel so moved, let us know what your first impressions were based on that first line, and let us know if you liked or did not like the sentence. (You might also consider visiting the original post where you can link to your own book beginning.)

Today I’ll introduce you and me both to the next book in Jacqueline Winspear’s Maisie Dobbs series: An Incomplete Revenge. I am, in fact, reasonably certain that this is the very next book to follow the one I have just read, so hopefully no more snafus of that sort. I never did get around to reading Pardonable Lies; maybe I’ll get around to it one of these days. I always was a fan of reading out of order. 🙂

Without further ado, your book beginning, from the prologue:

The old woman rested on the steps of her home, a caravan set apart from those of the rest of her family, her tribe. She pulled a clay pipe from her pocket, inspected the dregs of tobacco in the small barrel, shrugged, and struck a match against the rim of a water butt tied to the side of her traveling home.

What’s this? Gypsies? Maisie is stepping out of her standard circles here, although I suppose she was always ready to do that. I would like to see something other than the same moneyed Brits hire her; perhaps we could go back to France or do some other sort of travel. Or, gypsies. Okay. This is a source of variety; I’ll take it.

Will you be enjoying Maisie with me? I think the Read-Along has us writing this one up on Monday the 14th, so I shall start reading this weekend!

Sorry, I know it’s been a bit sparse around here this week. Hopefully I’m about caught up and ready to be a good (daily) blogger again. 🙂 Enjoy your weekend!

Messenger of Truth, by Jacqueline Winspear

So. As I discovered earlier, I read this book out of order. Somehow I thought I was on book 3 and this turns out to be book 4 and although I do have book 3, Pardonable Lies, I haven’t yet started it.

Even so, Messenger of Truth was my favorite Maisie book yet. She got more human, more multi-faceted, in my opinion. She was tempted by friendship with Georgiana; that speaks of human weakness. She gets lonely. This has been one of my complaints about Maisie, that she lacks this human quality, so for me this developed her. We can see she’s still not ready for a romantic relationship, though. At least she’s now struggling with the question of it.

On the other hand, I’m also still enjoying the macro view of the world, if you will. Maisie and Billy have slightly different perspectives, but both are bothered by the haves vs. have-nots issue. In past books, discussion of the war and the post-war depression have given me a similarly satisfying treatment of the larger world. I want Maisie to be a real person; but I also like it when Winspear deals with these macro issues.

Here comes the SPOILER:

I was surprised that Winspear let Lizzie die! I guess I have to respect her for going whole hog. It’s realistic that she would die, I guess.

I still find the series interesting. I still look forward to seeing what’s going to happen to Maisie. I still intend to read book 3. :-/ But… there’s still something a bit… sanitized or somehow not entirely, grittily human about this series, for me. On the other hand, I like Maisie so much that I bought THIS!

see! my new cloche!

Call me Mad for Maisie 🙂

WWW Wednesdays, and an oops

Weekly meme hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading.

To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions…

• What are you currently reading?
• What did you recently finish reading?
• What do you think you’ll read next?

What are you currently reading?

Currently reading Jacqueline Winspear’s Messenger of Truth, which is book 4 of the Maisie Dobbs series, and therein lies the oops. I requested several Maisie books all together from my local library, and naively picked up the next one they brought me when I’d finished book 2, thinking of course it was book 3, which is actually a terrible assumption. Sigh. This explains the void in time between book 2 and the beginning of the one I just started – I thought Winspear was being tricky and was going to explain it in flashbacks, but aha! she probably told that part of the story in book 3. Last night I picked up the REAL book 3, which is Pardonable Lies, which I shall start on righ-taway (remember that from Indian in the Cupboard? no?) and put down Messenger until I’m ready to read it in the right order. Whew! I’m a bit sheepish about my mistake but it’s all going to work out.

What did you recently finish reading?

Recently finished Maisie’s book 2, Birds of a Feather.

What do you think you’ll read next?

This is the most fun question to answer today! Because on Friday I leave for NINE days of vacation, and I will be doing some reading! Also some hiking, mountain biking, and socializing, but definitely some reading. What to take with me? Oh my.

Obviously I will need to pick up Pardonable Lies next. I will probably finish Messenger of Truth on the vacay, too. But what else? I finally found a copy of In the Woods, by Tana French, and will definitely want to start that as soon as I can clear my Winspear-plate. I think I would like to read a “classic” soon too, so I can stop feeling so guilty about the Classics Challenge, but what that will be, I don’t know. I may just browse my classics shelf on my way out on Friday. I’ve been thinking lately about Gone with the Wind which I have never read, but I haven’t seen a copy recently and won’t be going out of my way for it before this trip… It will be interesting, upon my return, to see what I HAVE read! I don’t really plan my reading much, so really it’s a grab bag. But I’m excited about the possibilities. 🙂

next Maisie novel: Messenger of Truth

Last night I finished book 2 of Maisie Dobbs, Birds of a Feather, by Jacqueline Winspear. I was satisfied with it in the end, after all. Billy’s self-medicating drug use, and the war, and the Order of the White Feather, were all treated seriously and in ways that made me think. I enjoy Maisie more as she becomes a bit more complicated, and I’m especially excited about the idea of her forming some “real” relationships – with any number of different people, and not necessarily romantic. I like Dr. Dene, and I like Billy more and more every minute. I want to see lots of him in the future. Maisie is developing as a character and I appreciate it. I had a smidge of frustration yesterday but today is a new day. 🙂

And it’s time for a new Maisie book! Today I started Messenger of Truth. Hopefully I can blog about it before leaving for vacation this Friday (YAY!), and I’ll be late to the discussion with Book Club Girl, and will catch up when I get home. Hopefully book 4 will see me right on track though.

I like this book so far. I like that Billy is fully involved as Maisie’s assistant; he’s not peripheral at all in this one. (He wasn’t peripheral in Birds of a Feather, though he was more so in Maisie Dobbs.) Not to give anything away, but there are already (in 50 pages) several hints at events since the end of book 2 that we’ll be anxious to learn more about. It’s a good start! Looks like I’m going to enjoy two books in a row from the same author, which isn’t always the case. And I just couldn’t be more excited about how much reading I’ll get to do on vacation, OMG! 🙂

Have a lovely Tuesday and stay tuned!

Tuesday Teasers: Birds of a Feather, by Jacqueline Winspear

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

* Grab your current read
* Open to a random page
* Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
* BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
* Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

From page 120 of Jacqueline Winspear’s Birds of a Feather:

She was anxious to interview the housekeeper and be on her way back to Chelstone, to plan the next part of her visit to Kent. She was abundantly aware that the initial meeting with Joseph Waite had taken place almost a week ago, and she was not yet certain she had located her client’s daughter.

This is a fine portrayal of Maisie: a bit anxious and all business! Hopefully there’s some fun in her future, too.

Birds of a Feather by Jacqueline Winspear

This weekend I devoted myself to the second Maisie Dobbs novel. (See my notes on the first one here.) I am participating in the Maisie Dobbs Read-Along, although I’m doing a terrible job because I’m so LATE on each book. 😦 I am observing that I will continue to be LATE for at least the second and third books. Perhaps I will catch up on book four…

I am currently nearly finished with Birds of a Feather. We got to know Maisie in the first book: we learn her history as a young girl who loses her mother and goes to work as a servant; gets “discovered” for her intellect and tutored by her lifelong friend and mentor Maurice; goes to college; volunteers to nurse in the Great War; meets the love of her life and suffers tragedy. We learn of her relationships with her father, mentor Maurice, and patroness, if you will, the Lady Rowan. We also meet Billy Beale, who she hires as her assistant. In the second book, then, there is much less background to be covered, although it is sufficiently reviewed that a reader starting with book 2 will be just fine. Really, the review was a bit heavy-handed for me so recently after book 1, but I appreciate a series that can be begun in the middle, so I’ll be patient.

Maisie and Billy have undertaken another case, and operate as a team this time around, whereas in book 1, Billy took on an assistant’s role only late, and informally. Strangely, I don’t find the explain-it-to-the-assistant device to be natural or useful; I liked it better when Maisie just thought things to herself. These are lovely stories, and I love the time and place evoked so beautifully, and I like Maisie herself – plucky, smart, and caring, and with a satisfyingly complex backstory, relationships, and personal hang-ups. She’s very human. But I find myself frustrated, fairly often, with the way Winspear communicates some of her points; things tend to feel a bit forced. I think I want her to show more, and tell less. I still enjoy the books, but I am developing a hang-up. I guess I’m not explaining it perfectly, though, and will see if I can find a concrete example for you as I continue.

At any rate, there is much to like about the book. Billy is a wonderful addition, to the story as well as to Maisie’s life, and I really appreciate the way Winspear addresses substance abuse in the 1930’s. Maisie’s relationship with her father is another realistic device that I feel is well-done, like her problem with visiting Simon in book 1. The men in Maisie’s life in this book add a bit of fun that I hope we’ll continue; if I have a problem with Maisie, it’s definitely the lack of fun! A touch of romance along with mystery, history, evocative sense of place, and relationship dynamics makes for an enjoyable read, if it can just be done naturally.

I’m satisfied to continue reading Maisie Dobbs and discussing with the Book Club Girl. Maybe I’ll catch up one of these days… I expect to give you my end-of-book report tomorrow, and then I’ll venture over to the discussion to participate. For now, I’m avoiding plot spoilers.

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