Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Massie Dobbs Book Tour - The Mapping of Love and Death by Jacqueline Winspear

Welcome to the today's stop in the celebration of Jacqueline Winspear's inimitable Massie Dobbs, psychologist and investigator.  Today I review The Mapping of Life and Death, the seventh in the series.  Before I dive into my Massie Dobbs novel, if you'd like to learn more about the series or this March's celebration of Massie Dobbs, head over to the Jacqueline Winspear page on Facebook.

The blurb:
August 1914. As Michael Clifton is mapping land he has just purchased in California's beautiful Santa Ynez Valley, war is declared in Europe -- and duty-bound for his father's native country, the young cartographer soon sets sail for England to serve in the British army. Three years later, he is listed as missing in action.

April 1932.  After Michael's remains are unearthed in France, his parents retain London psychologist and investigator Massie Dobbs, hoping she can find the unnamed nurse whose love letters were among their late son's belongings.  It is a quest that leads Massie back to her own bittersweet wartime dugout.  Suddenly an exposed web of intrigue and violence threatens to ensnare the dead soldier's family and even Maisie herself as she attempts to cope with the impending loss of her mentor and the unsettling awareness that she is once again falling in love.

I'd fully expected to enjoy The Mapping of Life and Death as I'd heard so much about Massie Dobbs and I'm fascinated by this period of history and the stories that have come out of it from War Horse to Downton Abbey to all sorts of wonderful reads.  This was my first taste of Massie Dobbs, so here is what I loved about The Mapping of Life and Death.

Jacqueline Winspear takes us to the period with considerable historical detail.  I felt that I was there - as she captured what you might see, feel, hear,  and even the sense of space.  In little ways you realize that this was the time when certain technology was just beginning; cars and telephones were becoming part of the daily lives of those able to afford them.  Winspear conveyed so well what distance meant in those years before, during, and after World War I. 

Winspear gives us complex, sympathetic, and interesting characters in Massie Dobbs, her colleague Billy, and her close friends.  From the mentoring, patronage, and mutuality that characterizes her friendships with Priscilla and Douglas, Lady Rowan and the Compton family, and Dr Maurice Blanche help us understand and care for Massie.  Even the Cliftons, parents to the young cartographer, are fully fleshed out and I grew to care about them, their son, and this woman that he loved.  The story is complex and progresses with just the right balance of suspense, drama and human interest. 

The Mapping of Love and Death is an engrossing read and a wonderful escape. Highly recommended! I plan to read all others in the series.

ISBN-10: 0061727660 - Paperback $14.99
Publisher: Harper; 1 edition (March 23, 2010), 352 pages.
Review copy courtesy of the publisher and TLC Book Tours. 

About the Author:
Jacqueline Winspear has received numerous honors for her New York Times bestselling Maisie Dobbs novels, including the Agatha, Alex, and Macavity awards. Originally from the United Kingdom, she now lives in California.  Learn more about her and Massie Dobbs at


  1. I've been hearing great things about this series for a while - I can't believe I haven't yet made time to read it!

    Thanks for being on the tour.

  2. I've never heard of this series, but I'm very interested in WWI, so I think I'll check this out, thanks for the great review!

    -Kate the Book Buff
    Recent Post: Better Book Titles: Round 2