"No one can be lonely who has a book for company." ~ Nelle Reagan

Saturday, June 7, 2014

The Care and Management of Lies by Jacqueline Winspear

The Care and Management of Lies
Author:  Jacqueline Winspear
Publication Date:  July 2014
Source:  a complimentary copy was provided by the publisher and TLC book tours in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.

The New York Times bestselling author of the Maisie Dobbs series turns her prodigious talents to this World War I standalone novel, a lyrical drama of love struggling to survive in a damaged, fractured world.
By July 1914, the ties between Kezia Marchant and Thea Brissenden, friends since girlhood, have become strained—by Thea’s passionate embrace of women’s suffrage, and by the imminent marriage of Kezia to Thea’s brother, Tom, who runs the family farm. When Kezia and Tom wed just a month before war is declared between Britain and Germany, Thea’s gift to Kezia is a book on household management—a veiled criticism of the bride’s prosaic life to come. Yet when Tom enlists to fight for his country and Thea is drawn reluctantly onto the battlefield, the farm becomes Kezia’s responsibility. Each must find a way to endure the ensuing cataclysm and turmoil.
As Tom marches to the front lines, and Kezia battles to keep her ordered life from unraveling, they hide their despair in letters and cards filled with stories woven to bring comfort. Even Tom’s fellow soldiers in the trenches enter and find solace in the dream world of Kezia’s mouth-watering, albeit imaginary meals. But will well-intended lies and self-deception be of use when they come face to face with the enemy?
Published to coincide with the centennial of the Great War, The Care and Management of Lies paints a poignant picture of love and friendship strained by the pain of separation and the brutal chaos of battle. Ultimately, it raises profound questions about conflict, belief, and love that echo in our own time.

My Thoughts:
I noticed that the author's name took top billing on this new historical fiction scheduled for release next month.  Her name will sell this book!  Jacqueline Winspear is the well-known best-selling author of the Maisie Dobbs mystery series.
Jacqueline Winspear has long wanted to write a novel set during the time of war.  The Care and Management of Lies brings that desire to fruition.  On the author's website you may read her letter to her readers about the inspiration for The Care and Management of Lies. (see the link included with the links below.)
100 years ago the First World War commenced and there have been and will be several memorials in honour of those who fought, survived, or gave their lives in the cause.  It was the first war, according to Winston Churchill, wherein man realized he could completely obliterate himself. This leaves an enormous impression upon this generation of today.
On this theme, the author transports the reader to a tumultuous time that had long term effect for good and bad on so many.  Kezia, Thea and Tom provide a viewpoint for the reader from their perspectives as Tom is enlisted leaving behind his new young wife Kezia.  Their letters of love during their separation share the longings, fears, and trials.  They are in turn heart-wrenching and touching.
Thea, Tom's sister and Kezia's best friend, becomes an ambulance driver on the war torn fields.  What she sees will surely haunt her for years to come.  This is also a time when women were found doing the work of men, as was Thea; and, at home, Kezia in charge of the farm. It was a burdensome task with little labour and shortage of food.  Kezia's letters embellished the situation as she wrote of meals one could only dream of.  It was her way of assuring her husband he need not worry about her but focus on coming home alive.  Little did she know, those letters would buoy up the spirits of the troupe of soldiers Tom would serve with as well. Little lies to assuage the soul.
Each of the three protagonists face tremendous trials and through the pages we see their growth.  The little secrets they keep to themselves are rather selfless in that they are done to protect those they love.  You can't help but admire the lengths to which each will go to offer that protection.
The Care and Management of Lies is rather slow to get going with a lot of detail about the period in which the story takes place.  It serves a purpose in setting the scene, allowing the reader to visualize the land and the times.  The narrative too, though, is rather slow-paced compared with what I usually read.  That said, Jacqueline Winspear tells herein a haunting tale of the horrors of war with a deft hand and sympathetic heart.  You won't soon forget the impact she leaves.

PS to Maisie Dobbs fans, she will reappear in a new series the spring of 2015!

 Goodreads. Purchase links are: Amazon, IndieBound, Barnes & Noble

Jacqueline Winspear is the author of the New York Times bestselling novels featuring Maisie Dobbs, a former World War I nurse turned investigator. Originally from the United Kingdom, Winspear now lives in California. Find out more about Jacqueline at her website, www.jacquelinewinspear.com, and find her on Facebook.


  1. This sounds like an interesting book and thanks for letting us know it's a slow start. One book I started reading was all historical information for the first 57 pages and I probably wouldn't have continued if it hadn't been a book club read. I was glad I stuck with it because it turned out to be a great novel.

  2. I love this time period that Winspear writes about. I'm so glad you enjoyed the book. Thanks for being on the tour!


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