Maisie Dobbs is the daughter of a grocer. Her mother died when she was young, so it had just been Maisie and her father for quite some time. Eventually, Maisie finds herself working in a wealthy household as housemaid (think Dowton Abbey). While there, she impresses her employers who send her to Cambridge to gain an education. From there, she enters World War I as a nurse. When she returns, the world has changed and she cannot resume the life she once had. She opens her own investigative business and begins a dangerous mission to uncover deadly secrets. It's Downton Abbey meets private investigator. It's fabulous.
The story is fleshed out from beginning to end. There is just enough of each segment of her life to satisfy. The glimpse into the early 1900's is delightful. The front lines of the war, in France, are harrowing and real. The investigation is tense and fantastic. Oh, the whole book is fantastic. This is a must read.
Here are a few of my favorite passages, regarding veterans of the war. They are really touching and insightful.
“Shame, isn’t it? That we only like our heroes out in the street when they are looking their best and their uniforms are ‘spit and polished,’ and not when they’re showing us the wounds they suffered on our behalf.”