Maisie Dobbs

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Maisie Dobbs

by Jacqueline Winspear

October 2015

I believe I’ve mentioned that I’m a part of a book club. We meet monthly, are super laid back, read a wide variety of genres, and eat amazing treats! Our monthly meetings are so cathartic for me and this club is what single-handedly keeps me reading when life is crazy and tumultuous. Like this month: we recently moved to a different town (about 45 min away) to a house that was a partial gut job (meaning two months of my husband working every spare minute before we moved). I have not read anything but my book club book in October! And, actually I read this after we had moved in, in about 3 or 4 days. So, thank you, book club! 🙂

Maisie Dobbs was such a nice reprieve from the craziness of moving. I’ll say right away that Winspear’s writing style did not appeal to me at certain times. The way she described the characters, how they thought and talked was at times a little odd to me. You might pick up on that too, or it might be my own personal quirk, but I would not dissuade anyone from reading Maisie Dobbs. It was a delightful little mystery with heart and suspense. There are a handful of characters that are kind and genuine, making the book warm, inviting, and a joy to keep reading. Those few for me are namely, Carter, Cook, Frankie, Billy, Simon, and Maisie herself. Overall, I really enjoyed how Winspear wove the story. She divided it really interestingly (it was a little confusing while in the midst of reading, but I liked it after I finished), with a large flashback in the middle of the book. She had a lot of little details that were very clever and sweet, like those coincidences life brings where you realize the world is small. The connection between Maisie, Simon, and Billy was my favorite, and second was Priscilla’s story line. I really liked that she tied up her loose ends . . .that was very satisfying and part of what would make me read another one of her books. Which, actually, I’m going to do because I’ve already requested it from the library. Stay tuned!

Summing it up: there were some flaws, but I really enjoyed (and sped through) this book and I look forward to reading the other ten books in the series! I’d recommend it easily.

All the best, Abbey

The 101 Dalmatians

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The 101 Dalmatians

by Dodie Smith

September 2015

For whatever reason, this little book took me FOREVER to finish! I do have a lot going on in life, so I’m sure that contributed to it, but I had a hard time getting into and finishing this book. I’m glad I persevered and read through to the end, but I did not really like this one as a whole. There were elements I enjoyed, like a few of the asides to the reader — some were quite humorous! And I’m a sucker for a happy ending, so I loved that this book had a perfectly happy ending in every way. That being said, I didn’t enjoy the style of writing and I think that’s a big part of why I didn’t like the book and why it took so long to finish. The biggest reason for dislike though was the character, Missis. But before I elaborate, a brief synopsis: Pongo and his “pet” human meet Missis and her “pet.” The pairs fall in love and Pongo and Missis have a litter of 15 puppies. A friend of the family, Cruella de Vil, is very interested in buying the puppies (for their coats), but her offer is refused. She kidnaps the puppies one night and it’s up to Pongo and Missis to rescue them. It is a very cute premise and I love the Twilight Barking used by all the dogs in the book. However, Missis is a very silly, not quite “with it,” character and that really bothered me. All throughout the book she’s not smart enough to follow directions, understand certain words, or process what is going on around her. Even though it’s just a dog, I hated reading such a negative slant on a woman’s ability to have common sense and understanding. It wasn’t cute and unfortunately, tainted the whole story for me, even with all the sweet, happy parts. Has anyone else read it and felt the same? Did it bother you as much as me? 😉

All the best, Abbey