In preparation for the March 29th release of Journey to Munich, the 12th volume in Jacqueline Winspear's Maisie Dobbs series, the ladies at TLC Book Tours have designated March as The Month of Maisie Readalong. Those of us on the tour have volunteered to read one (or more) of the books in the series to help build excitement for Maisie's latest adventure. I started reading this series back in my pre-blogging days, but had gotten distracted by other books. When the offer came to read Leaving Everything Most Loved as part of the tour, I quickly agreed and read A Lesson in Secrets (#8) and Elegy for Eddie (#9) as well so I would be caught up.
About Leaving Everything Most LovedIn Leaving Everything Most Loved by New York Times bestselling author Jacqueline Winspear, Maisie Dobbs investigates the murder of Indian immigrants in London.
The year is 1933. Maisie Dobbs is contacted by an Indian gentleman who has come to England in the hopes of finding out who killed his sister two months ago. Scotland Yard failed to make any arrest in the case, and there is reason to believe they failed to conduct a thorough investigation. The case becomes even more challenging when another Indian woman is murdered just hours before a scheduled interview. Meanwhile, unfinished business from a previous case becomes a distraction, as does a new development in Maisie’s personal life.
Bringing a crucial chapter in the life and times of Maisie Dobbs to a close, Leaving Everything Most Loved marks a pivotal moment in this outstanding mystery series.
My Take: I have very mixed feelings about this book and where this journey has taken Maisie. I thoroughly enjoy Jacqueline Winspear's writing and her ability to tell a story. These stories move quickly and they are easily read in a couple of sittings. The historical detail is excellent and I always feel like I have been swept back in time to one of the eras that I am most interested in. The mysteries that Maisie unravels are compelling and usually offer plenty of twists and turns to keep the reader guessing. Maisie has always been a very strong character--fiercely independent, intelligent and intuitive, caring and discerning. BUT she has also been annoying the heck out of me over the last several books. James Compton is the most long-suffering man I've met in detective fiction. I thought Lord Peter Wimsey went to great lengths to wait for Harriet Vane to come around....but he's got nothing on James. And, I fear, that Wimsey's wait will wind up having been far more satisfying both for him and for readers than Compton's will be. I have, unfortunately, run into a few spoilers about what lies ahead for James and Maisie--and I can't say that I care for what I've found.
Putting those spoiler rumors aside for a moment, I just honestly have difficulty with the amount of upheaval that goes on in Maisie's life--constantly. It's as if we cannot possibly allow her to be happy for more than five minutes. She lost her first love due to the war and its after-effects. She has since lost her mentor. There have been various difficulties for Billy, her right-hand-man, and he's going to be leaving the agency for another job. At the end of the book, James is off to Canada and Maisie will be closing the agency and heading to India on a trip to find herself and, as the book's title says, leave behind everything she loves. Maisie is a complex character. It would be nice to see her work through some of those complications and still manage to have some stability. Finding a way to have a satisfying committed relationship with James AND manage to keep her independence and complex character as well maintain her professional practice would offer plenty of backstory tension and drama without taking everything away from Maisie.
★★★ for a solid entry into this series. A good story overall with a compelling mystery which revolves around events from the past which bring about the tragic deaths of the two Indian women. The star deduction comes entirely from my dissatisfaction with Maisie's overarching story line as the series continues. I will most likely read the next book--but I hope the spoiler rumors are untrue....
Thanks again to the ladies of TLC Book Tours for including me in the Month of Maisie Readalong and providing a copy of this book for my honest review. I have received no compensation whatsoever for my participation in this blog tour.
For the full list of the books being reviewed, including a month of reviews for the new book, Journey To Munich, check out the full tour schedule.
Jacqueline Winspear is the author of the New York Times bestsellers Leaving Everything Most Loved, Elegy for Eddie, A Lesson in Secrets, The Mapping of Love and Death, Among the Mad, and An Incomplete Revenge, as well as four other national bestselling Maisie Dobbs novels. Her standalone novel, The Care and Management of Lies, was also a New York Times bestseller. She has won numerous awards for her work, including the Agatha, Alex, and Macavity awards for the first book in the series, Maisie Dobbs, which was also nominated for the Edgar Award for Best Novel and was a New York Times Notable Book. Originally from the United Kingdom, she now lives in California.
You can find out more about Jacqueline at her website, www.jacquelinewinspear.com, and also find her on Facebook.