Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear

Dear Maisie,

You came from such humble beginnings. Losing your mother and having your father send you into service at a big house was heartbreaking, but you didn’t let those challenges break you. Your love of learning opened a door of opportunity and you gratefully walked through it.

Your loving father, Frankie Dobbs wished he had another choice, but he was burdened with doctor bills from your mother’s illness and he knew this was the best choice he had. You went to work for Lady Rowan. Discovering her vast library, you got up at 3 am so you could read before you began you day of chores. You feared being found out but had no idea discovering you in the library would be your way out of service. Maurice, a dear family friend of the Rowan’s, takes you under his wing training your mind and soul in ways you never expected.

Maurice realizes you learn and grasp concepts far beyond your age. You earn a place at Cambridge University and Lady Rowan becomes your patron. With the world of learning waiting to be discovered, England becomes involved in World War I. Your friend Enid, from your days in service compels you to do something more for the war effort. So you, Maisie takes a deferment at school and join up as a Voluntary Aid Nurse. Thus beginning another new path.

The mystery begins post WW I and Maisie you are now working as an independent private investigator, an unusual profession for a woman in 1929. You are hired to investigate when a worried husband wonders where his wife is spending her afternoons. Thus you are lead to The Retreat, a place for injured soldiers. It isn’t as rosy as it seems. Danger lies in your path and you realize you must face your own past.

Somethings never change Maisie. It may be almost 100 years past the ending of WW I but we still face war. War continues to damage souls and bodies. Soldiers still battle shell shock, physical challenges and are still misunderstood by society. Maisie, I don’t think I am brave enough to go to the front line and serve. My life has been protected from such choices. I am thankful for those who do serve.

You inspire me to face up to my own past, to the stories left unfinished. How will you finish your story? Will you be able to forgive yourself? Will I be able to forgive myself?  Will you be able to move forward?  Will I be able to move forward? Maisie, can we make new lives for ourselves? Only time will tell.

Your friend, Daphne


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