Review: Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear

Maisie Dobbs

My book club this month read Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear. I listened to the audiobook on Hoopla, and–full disclosure–I suck at retaining audible information. I’m very much a visual learner, but I’m so busy that I don’t get to read just for fun anymore unless it’s while I’m shuttling children around town or cooking dinner or going for a jog (walk, really…). Anyway, my point in sharing this is that I don’t focus very well when I listen to audiobooks, but I still loved this story. I couldn’t tell you all the finer points of the plot, but Maisie Dobbs is a kicka** private detective just oozing with coolness.

I loved this book for a few reasons. First, Maisie is a good role model. She’s smart, resourceful, brave, intuitive in her work, and lives with integrity. Second, this book covers a period of time which I’m not as familiar with as others. Maisie goes off to serve as a nurse during World War I. I’ve read many books about WWII, but not as many about WWI, and it was nice to experience this period through a new perspective. Third, it provided a great blend of cozy murder mystery, plot, history, and a touch of love story. The ending was heartbreaking and unexpected, but somehow fit the book and mood perfectly.

The only thing I didn’t like was the transitions to the many flashbacks. I didn’t mind the flashbacks themselves or jumps in the story, but there was no indication that the scene or time had changed, which made it especially hard for me to keep track of things in the audiobook. A note of the year at the beginning of each flashback would have been helpful.

I’ve learned that there is a whole series of Maisie Dobbs adventures and I hope to read some more someday! I definitely recommend this one!

4.5 stars out of 5

Find the book on Goodreads.


Book Review: The Angel of Innisfree

angel of innisfreeI’m not sure how to begin this post. I’m in a sort of reading coma–like a food coma, but experienced after over-indulging on a good book. The Angel of Innisfree, by Patrick F. Rooney, is a seriously fantastic read and can be found on Book Club Reading List.


The story begins in Ireland in 1848 during the Irish Potato Famine. Landlords are ruthlessly evicting their tenants and thousands are dying in the streets. When 16-year-old Elizabeth Reilly nurses Brian O’Rourke back to health after nearly starving to death, the young lovers’ fates become intertwined. After Brian’s family is killed by English soldiers, he and his sister Mary are forced to flee to America on a famine ship and start a new life, but not before promising Elizabeth that he would find her someday. Elizabeth moves to France to study with Chopin and pursue her dream of becoming a concert pianist. Elizabeth and Brian each take incredible journeys that give the reader a glimpse into the rich history of the telegraph, the Underground Railroad, and the American Civil War. Will Brian and Elizabeth find each other in a country ripped apart by war?


I’m always excited when I find a really good historical fiction novel. I detest history books but I enjoy learning about the past. Historical fiction, for me, is the best way to learn history because it makes those time periods come alive in ways that text books can never achieve. I don’t know if I can express emphatically enough how much I loved The Angel of Innisfree. There was so much action–far more I would ever expect from this genre!–and the story line was consistently moving along at the perfect rate: slow enough to savor the setting, but quick enough to keep me interested in what was going to happen next.

The main characters were phenomenal; I couldn’t believe the hardships both Brian and Elizabeth endured and overcame so that they could be together. Brian refers to Elizabeth throughout the novel as his angel of Innisfree. My favorite quote of the book came in the very last paragraph:

“I remember him playing his violin on the Viking rock to comfort the dying then, how he rescued Mary, how he helped the Negroes escape on the Underground Railroad, how he helped the wounded soldiers at Antietam, and a hundred other kindnesses over the years, and it occurs to me that he may have been the angel of Innisfree all along.” (Elizabeth, epilogue.)

The writing style is clear and strong, the history is fascinating and informative, the characters are compelling, and the love story is one for the ages.


In a book this strong it is hard to come up with any weaknesses. It was perhaps a little long, but it really was a story I wanted to savor and take my time with. (Unfortunately, I didn’t have that luxury!)


I am at a loss for why this book only has a few reviews on Amazon and Goodreads. It is as good a book as any I have ever read. Readers, let’s band together and share the word about this good tale! If you haven’t read it yet, go get a copy now. I promise you won’t regret it!

I give The Angel of Innisfree a full 5 stars, wishing I could give it more.

[stars color=”aqua” number=”five” width=”300px”]


Schedule the author at Book Club Reading List

Buy it on Amazon

Add it to your bookshelf on Goodreads