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February 13, 2011


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First, thank you for my copy of Messenger of Truth, I'm so excited. Now to discuss, this one was so rough for Maisie but I was so glad she was finally dealing with all her "stuff" from the war. I think we're really going to see some growth from our Maisie now.

1)I liked the change of scenery for this one. I thought taking her out of her comfort zone really pushed her to deal with her past. I also think she was able to open herself up to emotions she might not have let herself feel in her old environment.

2)I wasn't surprised about Maurice's past but I was surprised by the way he revealed it to Maisie. I was a little uncomfortable with this section of the book. It bothered me Maisie lost a little of her tight connection with Maurice. I think in the long run it will make her and their relationship stronger but with everything Maisie had to deal with in this book it just all seemed too much.

3)I'm want her to be in love with Andrew because I think he brings out the lighter side of Maisie but in the end I believe it will turn into a friendship. I really think she'll end up with Stratton.

5)I love, love, love Pris and love her with Maisie. She doesn't let her get away with not dealing with herself. She also drags her out of her inner self and out into the world. I love Pris's sense of fashion and how she makes Maisie a little more fashion forward. (I want a Pris to buy me clothes) I'm so glad Maisie was pushed into moving out on her own, it gives me such hope for her. My fingers are crossed we'll see more Pris in books to come.

5) There were so many Pardonable Lies. Maurice's lie about the work he did. The governments lie about Peter and the work he did. Madame Clement's lie about Pascale's past as well as her own. And most pardonable, I think, is Maisie's lie about Ralph. It was necessary for both Ralph and his father.

I really like the way Maisie keeps growing. I love how everyone else grows along with her. The stories get more complex and seeing the long reaching impact war has on those who served and those left at home are just heartbreaking.

Julie P.

Wow -- Martha kind of said it all! :) Here's the link to my review:

1) I enjoyed the setting, but I'm hoping the next book takes her back home.

2) I was extremely surprised by Maurice's secret and I felt terrible for Maisie. I think she considered Maurice to be a very stable part of her life (and someone she depended on) so he definitely turned her world upside down.

3) I'm not sure that Maisie is ready for a romantic relationship yet. It's like she can't quite let go enough to fall in love. I'm not sure I think they'll end up together. I like him, but....

4) It was nice to see that Maisie had a friend. I also thought Priscilla was a great character. Definitely did Maisie some good to have someone her own age who knew her before the war!

5) Martha pretty much summed this one up. I really appreciated how Ms. Winspear tied the theme of lies and dishonesty into the entire frame of the novel.

Thanks again for my copy!

Dawn - She Is Too Fond of Books

Here's a link to my thoughts on the third Maisie Dobbs:

1 - I'm glad for the change of scenery. As part of her post-war healing, it was important for Maisie to "slay the dragon" of her lingering fear/discomfort with what she experienced as a nurse in France. The resulting break-down is bound to make her stronger in the end.

2. - I was so disappointed in Maurice! I felt he took advantage of his friendship/mentorship with Maisie. Yes, it was "for the good of the country," but with horrific results for Priscilla's family. I wonder if this will be a permanent schism between Maisie and Maurice; will she be able to trust him, or will it necessarily make her even more independent?

3. - Andrew Dene is SO patient with Maisie and her inability to commit to even a standing date, nevermind marriage! I'd like to see more of them as a couple (and I love the way Ms. Winspear keeps folding scenes from the past into each novel, to give us those pieces we've missed).

4. - Yes! Maisie needs a girlfriend! There was some hint of friendship with Sandra and the other 'downstairs' girls in BIRDS OF A FEATHER. I love Pris's character - so opposite Maisie (party girl, mother, well-to-do), but similar in the losses and independence.

5. - The title is perfect, and one that is not at all random. I've been thinking about 'pardonable lies,' esp. in the context of 'don't ask, don't tell.' Very interesting how relevant this thread of the novel is with the recent repeal.

Thanks to you and Picador for my copy of PARDONABLE LIES; I really enjoyed it. On to MESSENGER OF TRUTH!

nomadreader (Carrie)

Great discussion, Julie and Martha! (Here's my review:
1. While I enjoyed Maisie getting to travel (especially to Biarritz), I hope future travel will be either leisure or business related. I fear Maisie dealing with her past so much is getting a bit old for me (allow it sounds callous to say so.)
2. I was pleased with the outcome of the Maurice storyline. Initially, I worried a bit because I want Maisie's bond with Maurice to continue to provide her strength, both personally and professionally.
3. I was pleasantly surprised to see so much Dr. Dene in this novel. I think often series mysteries hint at love while never letting it happen. I think his move to teach in London will be wonderful for them too and hope the two continue (although part of me prefers her with Stratton). I so want Maisie to come to love again.
4. I loved Priscilla! I love that she has a dark time and is so happy and generous now. I think both she and Maisie need female friendship, and I hope to see more of her. I wish now I had remembered the names of the past characters from the first novel to see what clues were in Maisie Dobbs about their continued friendship.
5. I think the title comes from the biggest pardonable lie: Maisie finding a way to word her findings to Lawton. The secondary one was from Maurice to Maisie. I appreciated the synchronicity of Maisie telling and hearing pardonable lies, as she so often prides herself on not telling lies.

Although this was my least favorite in the series so far, I still enjoyed it and am really looking forward to starting the next one! I can't wait to see where Maisie will go next!

Word Lily

This one was my least favorite of the series up to this point, which is probably why I took such a long break from the books. I hope it goes uphill from this one.

Lori Barnes

Just wanted to pop in and say Happy Valentines Day !


I forgot to link my review with my earlier comment. Here it is:


It was good to see Maisie stepping even more outside of her comfort zone in this book ~going back to France and learning that sometimes the "whole truth and nothing but" is not the best way to handle a situation.

I felt as if she overreacted somewhat to Maurice's "double life" during the war years. Her standard's are quite high in terms of the behavior she expects from the people she admires and loves, so it's probably a good thing that she realized everyone is fallible and doesn't always make the perfect choices.

Michelle B

Jennifer, I am really enjoying reading the Maisie books - thanks for the on going challenge.

1) I enjoyed the change of scenery to France, but held my breath for Maisie - I knew that the return there was going to resurrect some feelings that she wanted to keep at bay.

2) Yes, Maurice's secret did catch me off guard (did I miss some key clues?). I thought all the secrecy to get her to the home for the 'reveal' was a little much on Maurice's part. I feel like Maurice has really hurt Maisie through all this - I'm curious where their relationship goes from here.

3) I also really like Dr. Dene, but I think Maisie still has too much emotional baggage to get into a serious relationship with him, or anyone else at this point. But, I'm pulling for Dr. Dene!

4) I like that Maisie has a relationship with a woman friend...I just wish she were local to London.


I read this book a while ago, but hopefully my memory will serve me as I think about these great questions.

I thought the move to France for this book was very interesting. It gave a different perspective on the horrible effects of the war, which is such an important theme in the series. I also think Winspear is wonderful at evoking a sense of place and I enjoyed seeing her try her hand at different country. I was surprised by Maurice's secret and felt almost as hurt as Maisie. It changed how I feel about him as a character--I don't trust him as much, despite all he has done for Maisie. Dr. Dene seems like a very decent fellow, but I'm not sure he fully understands Maisie. I love Pricilla--she is a great character to read about and a great friend for Maisie. I love how different they are, but still so supportive of one another. And I love the descriptions of her clothes!

What I really enjoy about these books is the portrait they paint of people who were hurt deeply by horrible events beyond their control and their attempts to live their lives in productive ways afterwards. This book especially took that topic on and illustrated the difficulty of that challenge. Somehow Winspear takes on a such a weighty topic but writes about it in such an entertaining way. A delicate balance.

Diane (bookchickdi)

I thought Pardonable Lies was the best Maisie yet. There was so much here to ponder.

My review is here:

1) We see a more vulnerable Maisie, and her trip back to France was deeply moving. I think Winspear's take on war and its aftermath resonates with people facing the same situation today. The technology of war may have changed, but the human emotions will always be the same.

2) Maurice's secret hurt Maisie,and I think it will affect their relationship permanently, but I understand why he did it.

3) Maisie seems to put her work first, and Dr. Dene second. This is probably unique to women of this time, or perhaps he is not the man for her. Time will tell.

4) I like seeing Maisie with Priscilla. We haven't seen her interact with friends her own age, and she needs to have a female confidante. I hope we see more of Pris, she's a good character.

5) The 'Pardonable Lies' of the novel force Maisie to realize that sometimes she may have to bend her principles for a good cause. Maurice lied to her because he had a higher calling in his work during the war. Maisie has to decide whether to keep Daniel's secret from her client. She also has to balance her relationship with Pris with turning the life of a young girl upside down.

nomadreader (Carrie)

It's been interesting to see the range of reactions with several saying it is the least or most favorite in a series. It's nice to read them all so close together because you really can get a feel for the subtle differences and changes between books!

Light Flashlights

The mission will bring her to France and reunite her with her old friend Priscilla Evernden.

Jen - Devourer of Books

1) I liked the move to France. It was something that Maisie really needed to face, and I think that we are at a good place in the series to introduce that switch.

2) I didn't expect Maurice's secret, but it didn't surprise me either. I do wish he had been more forthcoming with her, though. It makes me question their relationship.

3) I think if something doesn't change, Maisie is going to break Dr. Dene's heart. I can't really tell whether or not she loves him, and I don't really think that she knows herself.

Julia - pagesofjulia

Well I'm very late to catch up with this one, but here I am. My review is here. As you will observe, I got a little impatient with Maisie in this one. But, I'm still invested in her journey (and having read the next two books, then come back to this one, has helped with that).

Thanks for the good questions!

1. I enjoyed traveling to France, and was glad Maisie faced some demons, er, dragons. I think I enjoyed the exotic nature of the gypsies in An Incomplete Revenge even more, though.
2. I fully agree with Martha that Maisie overreacted a little bit. Maurice was perhaps a bit out of line on a personal level; but this whole series emphasizes war and country, and on that level he was in the right. He was as gentle as he could be (aside from having Maisie kidnapped, that is!). I wasn't all that surprised at his wartime involvement, considering his strengths.
3. Clearly Maisie is not smitten with Dr. Dene. She likes him, but not terribly much; she's so detached. I don't think it's any shortcoming of his, though. Clearly she's not ready for romantic involvement. I think she's treating him deplorably; this is one of my greatest areas of impatience with her in this book. I'm not sure they can be friends after this is over. At the rate they're going here, there's going to be too much hurt (on his side).
4. I love Priscilla and feel she's a humanizing influence on Maisie. Maisie definitely needs friends who play to the fact that she's a complete person, with emotions and shortcomings, and not a robot investigating machine. Priscilla is also really fun.
5. Pardonable Lies... these are well covered above by my fellows. And I found them all to be truly pardonable. :)

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