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April 11, 2011


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Julie P.

I thought this book was terrific too, but I always feel that way after I finish each and every Maisie book. Here's the link to my review:

1) I wasn't entirely surprised by this match! I was happy to see it them together and I loved that Maisie was willing to take some chances in her personal life. And I loved how Maisie was forced to look at herself and her even change her beliefs about James. I'm very excited to see where their relationship goes.

2) I was very surprised as well and I hope that this "new beginning" will further help to heal Doreen. I'm hoping they stay in London (if they are happy) because I do love what Billy brings to some of the cases.

3) I know next to nothing about WWI so the role of the cartographers was new to me. However, I think almost anything having to do with history was something new to me.

4) I think he's a great character but I was extremely sad that Stratton was moved to a different position. I always thought Maisie and Stratton should at least try to be together, so I missed him. Having said that, I did enjoyt he dynamics between Maisie and Caldwell. Once again, I liked that Maisie was forced to examine not only herself, but her impressions of a character.

5) I cried like a baby! I think the wealth part might makes things a little easier for her and James (and his family.) But I agree that she might have a bigger role in the political arena. I'm not sure I've thought much about her future beyond that.

6)Very interesting! I'll be curious to hear what she has to say!

Thanks for the opportunity!

Word Lily

1. I'm over the moon about Maisie and James getting together! I'd been pining for this relationship since book 5.

3. I loved seeing the cartographers, too! Such an intriguing discipline.

4. It was great to see Caldwell come into his own. But yes, I'll miss Stratton if we don't see more of him.

5. As sad as it is that Maurice is gone, it means great things for Maisie. In particular, I'm thrilled that she'll finally be called upon to exercise her abilities in a greater arena.

6. I made that connection, too. I look forward to hearing Winspear's answer. Loved that aspect of the book, though.

I haven't written my review yet; hopefully today, though!


I love the match... I am such a sucker for a successful romance for a MC. Plus, of course, it illustrates the progress in acceptance for an upstairs/downstairs relationship in English society... well, the Comptons anyway. (Though I dare say they are thrilled because it's Maisie and wouldn't have been, necessarily, for any old maid. For instance, even though it is years later, I still doubt they'd be quite so accepting of Enid.)

I'm happy for the Beales, but I really want Canada to happen for them. (Drinking game: If you take a sip from your cuppa every time Canada is mentioned, you'll really need to use the bathroom...) I know a new baby won't replace Lizzie, but perhaps it will help Doreen look more to the future?

We should get a research librarian to create a non-fiction reading list to pair with each of the Maisie Dobbs book. OR... perhaps I'll ask Winspear herself for some suggestions on the radio show.

I often thought Stratton and Maisie should give it a go, but then I feel like it would make a statement that Maisie could only have someone of her "class" and that wouldn't make for a good story.

I don't want to comment on what I think is next for Maisie since I've already read the next book... but some of what I thought was next actually happens in Lesson in Secrets, so I was excited about that.

Yes, Winspear does seem so enamored of the California coast. I love that she lives in Ojai. I've always been a little obsessed with Ojai because it was home to Jamie "Bionic Woman" Sommers.

I can't wait until the 25th and 26th! And then we'll have to form a support group to get us through until the next book comes out.

Dawn ;)

Hi..I'm finishing up Mapping of Love and Death and can't wait to read A Lesson in Secrets. Have been anxiously awaiting to do so since receiving the email from Jacqueline announcing its debut. I currently don't have a copy and would love to receive one if it is available. I'll be back later in the week to post my answers to your questions.


1. I was so surprised to see Maisie and James together - but I love the idea. I'm curious to see how their relationship won't be without obstacles.

3. The cartography details were fascinating...almost all new to me, and so intriguing.

4. Caldwell seems to have finally found his human side. I enjoyed seeing him interact with Maisie here.

5. I welled up when Maurice passed away...but I wonder if his death will free Maisie to truly take the reins of her own life and career.

I've already read A Lesson in Secrets (got to hear Winspear read in Cambridge!), so I'm looking forward to the final discussion.

Jen - Devourer of Books

1) Maisie + James = <3<3<3
I am SO excited about this development, it is the reason I wasn't able to wait until, well, now to read A LESSON IN SECRETS but instead had to read it right away. I think Maisie is finally starting to let herself be a little vulnerable, something she never did with Dene.

2) I certainly hope they stay in London, just in a better area, for some time longer. The books just wouldn't be the same without Billy!

3) The role of cartographers was something that made perfect sense once I read about it, but it wasn't something I'd ever thought about before. Similarly, I was only aware of the Americans who had gone over in medical corps, but it makes sense that some other people with specialized skills like cartographers would go as well.

4) I'm sort of ambivalent about Caldwell, but I'm glad he's going to be a bit less obnoxious if Maisie is going to have to work with him.

5) Hmm, I can't answer this one, it would be cheating since I've already read A LESSON IN SECRETS

6) I am DEFINITELY going to have to try to make the call on the 26th!

Julia - pagesofjulia

Here's my review.

1. I’m pleased to see her with James. I don’t feel that we ever got to know him much, so I’m not pleased out of any sense that he’s a great guy – although in this one book where we get to know him, he does seem to be. Rather, I think it’s the first time she’s had a fully emotional tie to someone. With Dr. Dene she was sort of going along, but didn’t feel deeply pulled to him. So I think she’s making real emotional progress; I’m glad to see her so interested and he seems fab. I’m very impatient with Lady Rowan’s protest and Maisie’s consideration of it; I want her to just put her foot down. Love and life is risk. She needs to just jump in!

2. I think the Canada thread has been too hyped to go nowhere. I think they’re headed to Canada eventually. I also think Maisie’s newfound personal wealth will benefit the Beales; in fact, this may be the time for their move.

3. All new to me, but these great historical framing elements are one element of what makes this series so fun! I love historical fiction with all these sideline items of interest.

4. It was nice to see Caldwell develop as a character – like, getting more comfortable in his new position, and presumably feeling more confidence which allows him to treat Maisie a little better. I appreciate that Winspear allows ALL her characters to develop, not just a few major ones.

5. What’s next for Maisie? I think the foreshadowing is pretty clear, that she’ll follow Maurice’s path in intelligence. I’m really a bit sorry she won’t find her own way a little more. I see Maurice’s death (though very tragic!) as an opportunity, just as Simon’s was.

I think I tend to be a bit more critical than some of us. I hope you all realize I do really enjoy these books! I just like to pick things apart, perhaps.
Thanks for playing!

M Denise C

1. I have been waiting for Maisie and James to get together ever since poor Enid died and Simon was injured. It is good to know that James is a good guy as I had doubts about him earlier. I like his personality. I guess Maisie’s inheritance from Maurice gives her more social credibility with anyone who thought she might not be “good enough” for James. I just love that term “walking out.”

2. I hope the Beales will remain in London to further the story lines and keep Billy assisting Maisie. I can’t imagine another assistant for Maisie. I adore Billy Beale.

3. The cartographers are a group you don’t really think about and take for granted. I work in an industry that uses different kinds of maps and love maps and have them hanging on all walls in my office. I can only imagine how difficult mapmaking was during WWI as compared to the technology we have today. I think anyone who fights in a war that is not their own on principle (not as a mercenary) deserves great respect.

4. I picture British actor Eddie Marsan (Inspector Lestrade in the 2009 Sherlock Holmes movie) as Caldwell. I think Caldwell was extremely insecure with the competent Stratton above him. Now, he can be himself and he realizes how Maisie can help him at times and knows how competent she is. I am enjoying the nicer Caldwell.

5. Since we know that there is another war ahead in Maisie’s future, I can only speculate that someone like her will be needed as Maurice was needed previously.

6. When Ms. Winspear had Clifton go to and fall in love with California, I saw the connection. Can’t wait for the show on the 26th!


I like your discussion questions!

1. I enjoyed the way that she had to rethink her opinion of James--it was rather Elizabeth Bennett-like. In earlier books I found myself wishing that Maisie would not be so measured and cautious in everything she did, and it looks like she's made a change!

2. The talk of Canada has gone on for so long that if the Beales don't go, it will seem tragic. With Maisie's new affluence and James' connection to Canada, I believe we will see it in the next book.

3. My education about the events of the first half of the 20th century is appalling. Fortunately my own children seem to be getting a much better education. I loved Darsa's suggestion of a nonfiction reading list and, as I am a reference librarian, I have a new project. I think I will start on the next title and then work backwards.

4. I don't like Caldwell much and I miss Stratton, but I imagine that Caldwell represents attitudes of the times.

5. Maurice had been almost a background character lately. I was glad that they had come to terms well before his death. The inheritance just made sense, when you think about it, but I still had no clue until she was called to sit for the reading of the will.

6. I grew up in California, so the the history of the area was familiar. I can see why someone from the Northeast would fall in love with it at that time.

I don't have a copy of "A Lesson in Secrets" yet and would love to get a copy. I tried to get an ARC, but my library powers failed me!

jenn aka the picky girl

I cannot wait to get my hands on this one and am waiting for my library to (hopefully) get a copy. The series just gets better and better, but I'm nervous about the continuation of Maisie's relationships with James. I want it to be a good one, but I don't know...I'll be biting my fingernails to see how the series proceeds.

Bobbi (Anglophile as long as I can remember)

Is it still possible to get a free copy of a Lesson in Secrets? (Not sure, there are plenty of posts here). I'd love to have one. Was so thrilled to have stumbled on the Mapping of Love and Death at the library last month as I hadn't read any new Maisies in a great while. (I feel very deprived without a good mystery). And yes, I'm very happy she decided to change her mind and take a chance on James. (Now if only Charles Todd would do the same for Ian Rutledge!)

Diane (bookchickdi)

My review of The Mapping of Love and Death is here:

As for the questions:
1) I am so happy about Maisie and James! I did not see this coming at all from the earlier novel, and I love that Maisie has found love in a unexpected place.

2) Now that they have a new place to live and a fresh start, I think the Beales will remain in London. Doreen so needed this, and I'm looking forward to more slang from Billy. I loved "Bob's your uncle"- one of my favorites.

3) The cartographer storyline was interesting, I never thought much about their role in war, but it makes sense. I do enjoy learning something new about history in these books.

4) Caldwell keeps Maisie on her toes, and his antagonism towards her shows us another side to Maisie. I love that she gives it right back to him.

5) I see Maisie becoming more involved in war intelligence as Britain moves closer to WWII. She will take on Maurice's role, and maybe she will see things from his perspective in regards to the ethical dilemmas of intelligence. Since she also saw war up close, she will have a different take on war than perhaps Maurice did.

6) I did enjoy the trip to California in this novel. Perhaps Maisie will visit there in a future novel as Winspear now lives there.

Sue Wardrep

I just finished reading The Mapping of Love and Death and loved it like I have every book in the series. I feel like I know all the characters and can't wait to see what happens next. I was saddened by Maurice's death and Maisie certainly deserves her inheritance. And how exciting that Maisie and James have gotten together! I hope tier romance blossoms. I love Billy and Doreen and hope they will remain in London and that the new baby will help Doreen to cope with her grief. I really hope I will win a copy of the new book and I can't wait to read what happens next.

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