Leaving Everything Most Loved by Jacqueline Winspear

Leaving Everything Most Loved

Reviewed by Caryn St. Clair

Maisie Dobbs has come a long way over the course of the series. Now it seems there maybe major changes in Maisie’s future brought on in part by the case she is called to solve in Leaving Everything Most Loved.

A young Indian girl with big dreams of returning to her home and starting a school for disadvantaged children is murdered. Her brother travels to England to claim her body and find out what happened to his sister. When Scotland Yards is unable to solve the case, Maisie Dobbs is called on to look into it. As Maisie, investigates, readers are drawn into the lives of the victim meeting the hotel owners where the victim lived, her former employees and friends. One of the more puzzling questions Maisie has is why the victim had remained in England long after she had the money to return home. Hoping to understand what the victim was thinking, Maisie intended to speak with a friend of the victim, also a young Indian woman. Unfortunately she is murdered in the same manner before Maisie has a chance to interview her. Fueled by the second death, Maisie takes a hard look at the way those from India are treated in England.

Plot wise, this is not one of the strongest of the series. There are just a few too many things that rely on coincidences and there are a good number of “self pondering” passages that interrupt the flow. However, in terms of the series’ development and as a historical novel, Leaving Everything Most Loved is probably the most powerful of the ten books. The thirties in England were a unique time. The country was in recovery mode from the First World War, but there was a growing sense of unease that another war with Germany was coming. Women were working in jobs a decade earlier would have been off limits, and because of the number of young men killed in the war, a large number of those women would remain single their entire lives. Many British citizens from India arrived in London and began to form their own communities but were looked down on by many. Winspear gets all of this right and paints the scenes so well the reader is transported back to that time and place. Personally, Maisie is at a crossroads. Her fiancé is leaving for Canada and wants Maisie to come with him. Her business is thriving, but Maisie feels like she needs to travel to grow into her mentor’s shoes. After this case she is drawn to the idea of visiting India. She comes to realize that in order to be herself she may need to leave all that she loves most behind for awhile. Which way will she go? Readers will have to wait for book eleven to find out the answer.

Sometimes a long running series needs things to be shaken up a bit. In Leaving Everything Most Loved author Winspear does just that.

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