Belinda’s Book Nook Review: Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear


Hello, my bookworm friends! I thought I would share another book review for the Literary Voyage Around the World Reading challenge.






Title: Maisie Dobbs
Author: Jacqueline Winspear
Copyright: May 25, 2004
Genre: fiction
Format: book
Pages: 309


Summary (from Goodreads):

Maisie Dobbs isn’t just any young housemaid. Through her own natural intelligence—and the patronage of her benevolent employers—she works her way into college at Cambridge. When World War I breaks out, Maisie goes to the front as a nurse. It is there that she learns that coincidences are meaningful and the truth elusive. After the War, Maisie sets up on her own as a private investigator. But her very first assignment, seemingly an ordinary infidelity case, soon reveals a much deeper, darker web of secrets, which will force Maisie to revisit the horrors of the Great War and the love she left behind.

About the Author (Jacqueline Winspear):


Truth walks toward us on the paths of our questions. As soon as you think you have the answer, you have closed the path and may miss the vital new information. Wait awhile in the stillness, and do not rush to conclusions, no matter how uncomfortable the unknowing.”

– Jacqueline Winspear

While looking up Ms. Winspear’s information online, I came across quite a lot of wonderful quotes from her. If you don’t know it, I am a quote hoarder!! I love writing quotes in a little book and in my journal. So I thought I would share the one above with you.

Jacqueline Winspear was born and raised in the county of Kent, England. Following higher education at the University of London’s Institute of Education, Jacqueline worked in academic publishing, in higher education and in marketing communications in the UK.

Jacqueline found her inspiration in the ordinary people of wartime from her grandfather who was severely wounded and shell-shocked at The Battle of the Somme in 1916, and it was as she understood the extent of his suffering that, even in childhood, Jacqueline became deeply interested in the “war to end all wars” and its aftereffects.

My Thoughts:

I have been collecting the books in this series prior to reading this first book for some time from thrift shops. I love the covers and I liked the premise of the story so I was hoping that I was investing in a good series. Now that I finally read the first book, and I now know I am happy I have been collecting them.

The first book provides readers with Maisie’s backstory. Some critics say that it spent too much time on her backstory but I found it both interesting and helpful for me to understand her character. It helps to develop the reader’s investment in the character. It also provided us with a mystery to keep things interesting.

The story is told alternating back and forth in time and I kept coming back to see what next was in store for her.  I liked that Maisie was such a strong and independent character throughout the book and it was great to watch her confidence grow as the story develops.

Being an avid reader, I have come to the realization that not everyone’s first book might wow you but quite often if you stick with an author, you get to witness them grow and you connect more with their stories. I feel this way with this book. I enjoyed the story and I switched back and forth between reading the printed edition and listening to the audiobook. Which also provides a different experience. I love series because I always feel like with each book you are visiting a old friend. The beauty of starting this series so late is that I believe there are already 13 books in the series so I have plenty more to explore. I look forward to tagging along with Maisie in her next case.

For these reasons, I give this book 3  1/2 butterflies!
Happy reading!


Belinda’s Book Nook Review: The Icarus Girl by Helen Oyeyemi


Title: The Icarus Girl
Author: Helen Oyeyemi
Copyright: April 11, 2006
Genre: fiction
Format: book Pages: 352

So I finally started this book that I’ve had since my birthday.  I thought that this book might sound good if I read the entire book outloud. I decided that I give it a try. I wanted to hear my mouth try to pronounce the names and hear the words coming through my lips as opposed to just in my head.It started off fine and then challenges presented themselves when my kids arrived home from school early on half days or my husband working from home. So finding time to read out loud needed to be scheduled. Early mornings mid-day when the kids are at school are the prime times when I was able to do this. I was successful for much of the reading of this book.

Quick Synopsis (from Goodreads):

Jessamy “Jess” Harrison, age eight, is the child of an English father and a Nigerian mother. Possessed of an extraordinary imagination, she has a hard time fitting in at school. It is only when she visits Nigeria for the first time that she makes a friend who understands her: a ragged little girl named TillyTilly. But soon TillyTilly’s visits become more disturbing, until Jess realizes she doesn’t actually know who her friend is at all. Drawing on Nigerian mythology, Helen Oyeyemi presents a striking variation on the classic literary theme of doubles — both real and spiritual — in this lyrical and bold debut.

My Thoughts:

I had heard about Helen Oyeyemi about a few years back and then last year on Booktube. Then a show that I watch that talks to author’s about books interviewed her. So my approach to this author and her works is to take the opportunity and the time to explore all of her writings to date in the order published. I don’t always do this but I would like to see how she evolves as a writer from book to book and what similarities or common themes she may have throughout her books. I also really wanted to just hear her stories and learn more about Nigeria and it’s people through her stories. Of course my other motive was to support a black female author.

This book was written by Oyeyemi while she attending college and published at the age of 19 started out very strong. I felt very engaged while reading this story. There were a few areas where the pacing slowed a bit too much but she was building up background information. I think she did a great job of trying to convey the feelings of a biracial child trying to find friendship and ward off bullies. The main character, Jess was a bit of an introvert but wanted to try to figure out how to navigate the world of friendships. Oyeyemi did include the challenges that a young girl of mixed race growing up in a predominantly white environment.

I really enjoyed the way that Oyeyemi included so much detail that help to bring the story to life. For example, I like the description of the grandfathers wrinkles and the lighting in the room and the aromas that she smells when she arrives in Nigeria for the first time. She captured the senses well.

One thing that bothered me about in this book was her portrayal of Jessamy’s father. He is a British white male and his wife is a Nigerian woman and he came off as very weak to me in the book.  There’s were many instances where I just wanted him to have a backbone. The first few instances of that happening in the story I just brushed off as him being a person who wants to avoid conflict and keep the peace. But after a while it just felt like it felt like it was a deliberate characteristic she intended to portray. Perhaps to balance out the stronger characteristics of the wife (Jess’s mom). I do wish she provided more background information of the father. Perhaps that would have brought to light the reasoning for his behavior.

I found the story very interesting and the only thing is the ending that bothers me. I will leave that for any of you that decide to reads it to see what you decipher. I would love to hear from anyone that has read it because I’m not really sure but there was a bit confusion on my part with the ending.

Overall, I would recommend the book and look forward to reading her other books.

Happy reading!



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