Book Review: Leaving Everything Most Loved by Jacqueline Winspear

The tenth installment of Winspear’s Maisie Dobbs series finds our heroine facing changes in all aspects of her life. She’s been feeling the need to travel, and a new case concerning the death of an Indian immigrant (later two Indian women)inspires her to travel first to India, and then (possibly) throughout the world. But loose ends need to be tied up first.

The case is intriguing, and touches on themes of discrimination, gender roles, and even religious bigotry. Maisie finds herself confronted on many occasions with how insular her society has become, which makes her want to travel all the more. In the midst of all this, she receives an “ultimatum” from her fiance that makes her question even more about her life.

It’s tough to say much about this book that isn’t a spoiler, to be honest. I felt through most of the book that the entire point of both cases that are solved was to show why Maisie was leaving to travel the world. The character development in this book is beyond anything in previous books, and Winspear is no slouch in character development. It really seems like this case takes longer than it actually does, because of how much actually happens.

The ending worried me a little bit — Maisie starts to reminisce about past cases in a way that seems as if we’re saying goodbye to her as much as the rest of the cast is. But the promise at the end of the book, “Yes, she would be back,” gives hope that there will be a book 11, and beyond.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again — I really enjoy this series. I started reading it as a change of pace from the fantasy and science fiction I’d been reading, and I was quickly hooked. The time period, the characterizations, the intricate plots — just everything conspires to make me read each one quickly, and then anxiously await the next one. Highly, highly recommended to just about anyone, as long as you enjoy reading and immersing yourself in a story.

Edit to add — I just realized that it has been one year and a day since I reviewed the last Maisie Dobbs book. So maybe I only have another year to wait!!

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