Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Pardonable Lies - TLC Book Tours

Pardonable Lies by Jacqueline Winspear
Picador 2005

Format? paperback
Source? the publisher via TLC Book Tours

**FTC Disclaimer:  I received a complimentary copy of Pardonable Lies from the publisher in exchange for a review.  However, the review below and the opinions therein are my own and offered without bias.

Title? Lies that are not necessarily a bad thing...and how does a person know the difference...Perfect
Cover? Maisie in contemplation as she crosses the sea...also perfect.

Why? I've heard a lot about the Maisie Dobbs series and wanted very much to see what all the fuss was about when I read Elegy for Eddie.  I was somewhat disappointed in Elegy for Eddie but chalked my disappointment up to beginning the series so far into it rather than following my law of beginning at the beginning...where all good beginnings should begin...Ahem.
I wasn't, however, disappointed enough not to give Maisie another try but this time further towards the beginning.  I was not disappointed this time and definitely see what the fuss is about. 

What Now? Can't wait to get my hands on #1 and #2 :)

Golden Lines

"Yes, it's one thing protecting oneself from the dead, but only too easy to forget the damage that the living can do, eh?" Hartnell smiled at Maisie, then at a place beyond Maisie's shoulder, as if sharing a secret with another. (57)

"Brave and secret?  That sounds like a Boy's Own adventure."
James laughed.  "Just a bit tongue-in-cheek.  Of course, some of us thought the whole war was going to be a Boy's Own adventure.  Then we got over there, and things were not quite as we imagined." (112)

All cases challenge us: to reconsider who we are, how we see ourselves in this world, and how we view the past, the present, and the future from the unique observation point of our individual humanity. (146)

"Listen, pal, I think the man will be good for Germany."
"What? Have you read his book, Mein Kampf?  The man is nuts. Nuts!" (169)


"What do you want?" Maisie covered fear with indignation.
The man retained his firm hold on her elbow. "Remain calm, Miss Dobbs.  Please act as if delighted to unexpectedly see an old friend." The man smiled broadly, his lips closed, his gray eyes cold.  He kissed her cheek. "Do not scream or otherwise draw attention to us.  Give me your luggage and come with me now. (256)

Walking slowly, Maisie approached the cemetery.  This was the place where she had stood, day after day, night after night, in the operating tent, where she had watched blood flow from the terrible wounds of war, where she had seen young lives ebb away, and on each boy's lips a cry for mother, wife, or sweetheart. (272)


Maisie's benefactor asks her to help a friend of his.  Sir Cecil Lawton's wife made him promise on her death bed that he would find proof of their son's death.  Missing since his airplane crashed during WWI behind enemy lines, Ralph Lawton was his mother's son and his father's disappointment.  Hesitantly, Maisie takes on the Lawton case as well as that of her best friend Priscilla's brother Peter Evernden who is also thought killed in the war.  The Lawton and Evernden cases take Maisie back overseas to France and into the wounded parts of her mind after witnessing death and destruction as a very young nurse at a casualty station during the war.  In her quest for truth, Maisie's touches a sensitive nerve quickly and fears for life after several near accidents...but who is responsible?  Who doesn't want her to find out the truth?  Which truth? Which secrets should stay buried? And which ones should be unearthed?  The answers aren't as clear as one would think.

What I Liked

I swear I don't remember noticing Winspear's impeccable descriptions of the period clothing in Elegy for Eddie.  Maybe it's there and I missed it somehow, but I loved how clearly I could see the pictures of the characters from their overcoats, to their cashmere shawls, to their Coco Chanel fashion sense, and on and on and on.  I hope this is a pattern of Winspear's bc I fully enjoyed it.

This story had many roads which led away from one another but also came right back around and met in the middle seamlessly.  I sometimes get confused with a story with so many things going many characters who may or may not be related, but not with Pardonable Lies.  

I think it's no secret by this point to mention that I like espionage...especially the early stuff...who knew??  I didn't realize Pardonable Lies would delve into early WWI spying and secret groups but was certainly intrigued even more when it did.

Madame Chantal Clement - I would love to read this supporting character's story!! Such a colorful woman with a history that is more than worth telling!

There is no romanticized vision of war here...and that's as it should be.  The lines between "good guys," "bad guys," and the "guys in the middle" are not always clear.  Reality.

What I Didn't Like

The sadness...but what's a story about the after effects of war without sadness.  The sadness that is Pardonable Lies, however, is not a sadness that you feel as you're reading and then you wish those events hadn't happened to certain characters.  It's a sadness that I felt deeply...and still do...for those who've we've forgotten...the times and lessons learned right after war that we also seem to have forgotten...the utter destruction of the land, the homes, the human beings, a culture, a society, towns, families, etc.  This is my kind of historical fiction...the kind that makes you contemplate the lessons of the past that we could and should apply to the present.

I was a little taken aback by the story elements involving spiritual connections, reading minds, etc.  I also don't remember any mention of this in Elegy for Eddie, but obviously this is a large part of Maisie's story and her recuperation after the war with one of her mentor's, Khan.   I definitely want to know more of this history about Maisie.

Charmaine Hazelton - while I was able to summon some semblance of sorrow for her husband Jeremy and his connection to the lost Ralph Lawton, I felt no such thing for his ambitious and selfish wife.  

Overall Recommendation

If you like realistic historical fiction with an impressive, intelligent and independent heroine at the helm of an investigation, Maisie Dobbs is your gal.

The Author

Other Stops on the Tour

Monday, March 4th: The House of the Seven Tails – Maisie Dobbs
Monday, March 4th: BookNAround – Birds of a Feather
Wednesday, March 6th: Peppermint PhD – Pardonable Lies
Thursday, March 7th: Melody & Words – Birds of a Feather
Thursday, March 7th: The Adventures of an Intrepid Reader – Messenger of Truth
Thursday, March 7th: Anglers Rest – Messenger of Truth
Thursday, March 7th: Lavish Bookshelf – An Incomplete Revenge
Friday, March 8th: Olduvai Reads – Maisie Dobbs
Friday, March 8th: 5 Minutes For Books – Pardonable Lies
Friday, March 8th: In the Next Room – An Incomplete Revenge
Friday, March 8th: Anglers Rest – Among the Mad
Friday, March 8th: The Road to Here – Among the Mad
Friday, March 8th: A Bookish Way of Life – The Mapping of Love and Death
Friday, March 8th: The Book Garden – The Mapping of Love and Death
Monday, March 11th: The House of the Seven Tails – A Lesson in Secrets
Tuesday, March 12th: Starting Fresh – A Lesson in Secrets
Wednesday, March 13th: A Book Geek – A Lesson in Secrets
Thursday, March 14th: Lit and Life – A Lesson in Secrets
Friday, March 15th: Nonsuch Book – A Lesson in Secrets
Monday, March 18th: Short and Sweet Reviews – Elegy for Eddie
Tuesday, March 19th: Veronica M.D. – Elegy for Eddie
Tuesday, March 19th: Helen’s Book Blog – Elegy for Eddie
Wednesday, March 20th: guiltless reading – Elegy for Eddie
Thursday, March 21st: Booktalk & More – Elegy for Eddie
Friday, March 22nd: Library Queue – Elegy for Eddie
Monday, March 25th: A Bookworm’s World – Leaving Everything Most Loved
Monday, March 25th: cakes, tea and dreams – Leaving Everything Most Loved
Tuesday, March 26th: Oh! Paper Pages – Leaving Everything Most Loved
Wednesday, March 27th: The Written World – Leaving Everything Most Loved
Thursday, March 28th: Quirky Bookworm – Leaving Everything Most Loved
Friday, March 29th: nomadreader – Leaving Everything Most Loved


  1. Great review! I read this on and totally agree with your review. I think you do enjoy the books more when you have read some of the earlier ones and know more about Maisie and the other characters.

    1. Anne, I also think I was in the mood to slow down a little and enjoy the detail :) I really can't wait to read the first one now :)

  2. Elegy for Eddie ticked me off after reading two previous Masie books. I felt the character was well, out of character. Trish kept this one away from me until it tours in paperback so as to give me a break. heh

    I didn't read the very first books so I don't know the full backstory behind Khan either.

    1. That actually makes me feel better, Patty because I really couldn't figure out what everybody was wowing over after I finished Elegy for Eddie, but I loved Pardonable Lies.

  3. I read and reviewed the first one, and thought that the historical bits were excellent, but the mystery didn't keep me hooked. I gave up after the first book, and have heard good things about the others, so I might try again.

    1. From what I've seen recently, it seems the books may be hit and miss. I love the history mostly so I'll definitely back up to see where the story actually began.

  4. thanks for your post. I just discovered this writer through #10 of the series, which I did not like too much. your review is encouraging me to persevere. here is my review:

    1. I loved Pardonable Lies but was only meh about Elegy for Eddie so there definitely seems to be some variability to this series. I'm intrigued enough to keep reading though :)

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  6. So far I've only read the first book in this series but the rest are on my TBR list - Maisie is quite a characters!

    Thanks for being on the tour.