Historical Fiction about WWI The tone of this book was odd and slightly off The beginning of the novel before WWI commences was pastoral and had an old fashioned feel Kezia is engaged to marry Tom, the brother of her best friend from school, Thea Tom owns and works a farm in Kent and Kezia is the daughter of a Anglican minister so there will be some adjustment to helping her husband run a farm Thea is slightly jealous of the distance that has grown between her and Kezia Kezia is taking a traditional path in life by becoming a wife, while Thea works as a teacher in London and is involved with the suffrage movement There were lots of lovely descriptions of the countryside, farm life, and most importantly food.After the war breaks out, Tom enlists and Kezia is left to run the farm alone in his absence She writes him loving letters about all the delicious food she is cooking for him which is all imagined since shortages have been created due to the war Tom reads the descriptions of food to his fellow soldiers and they all look forward to Kezia s next meal Thea becomes an ambulance driver in France and Tom s officer is the large landowner who lived near him in Kent There is a subplot about a sergeant who hates Tom and makes his life miserable.The initial tone of the novel was gentle and reminiscent of feel good novels of small town English life from early in 20th century When the war breaks out, the tone shifts but not entirely There are still lovely descriptions of food and stalwart British people but there is also violence and despair and a tragic ending I am not sure who the audience for this book is Readers who like foodie fiction and gentler stories probably won t like the sections set in the trenches of WWI and readers who want a story about WWI will find the beginning slow to get through There is no mystery element to attract fans of Winspear s Maisie Dobbs novels I think the food element was the strongest element of the story and wasmemorable than the trench warfare scenes which are similar to other novels that I have read This was a strange little book I like reading about WWI but I don t know that I would recommend this book for that aspect Interesting but not fully successful. The Care and Management of Lies shows the comfort of love and friendship during the dark days of World War I Best friends Thea Brissendon and Kezia Marchant were scholarship students, and later taught together, at a private school Kezia, the daughter of a vicar, married Thea s brother Tom to become a farmer s wife Thea went in a different direction, becoming very passionate about the women s suffrage movement and other causes.Tom enlisted when World War I started, leaving Kezia to manage the farm in Kent with just a few men who were physically unable to become soldiers It was a big challenge for a town girl, but soon Kezia was out in the fields plowing, planting crops to feed the troops Thea became an ambulance driver, transporting injured soldiers from the French battlefields.There are vivid descriptions of trench warfare and the terrible carnage where Tom is stationed in France Kezia, an inventive cook, makes a special effort to send baked goods to Tom and Thea, which they share with friends Tom also reads them parts of Kezia s letters where she writes about the delicious imaginary dinners she is preparing for him There is so much warmth and love baked into her cakes and her pretend dinners, a piece of home sent to the battlefront Tom responds with loving, upbeat letters, although he is living in constant danger in the muddy trenches with death all around him The title, The Care and Management of Lies, refers partly to the way Kezia and Tom put a happy, positive spin to their letters so they would not worry their loved ones The families of deceased soldiers always received letters from the commanding officers that their family member had fought courageously and had died instantly without any pain, which is a comfort to the family but often a lie.The book starts off very slowly, introducing the reader to the characters, setting the scene, and including lots of historical details It picks up pace as it gets into World War I with the spotlight on Kezia and Tom Many chapters begin with a quote from The Women s Book about household management, published in 1911, which was the inspiration for the author to write this novel The military chapters start with quotes from the Field Service Pocket Book of 1914 Kezia was such an endearing character that I was hoping that Jacqueline Winspear might consider writing a sequel. This was a giveaway book so thanks to Goodreads and Allison and Busby A beautifully written but deceptive book It begins by wrapping you up in warmth like a cosy dressing gown, but gradually the effects of war strip this away This creates a sense of sadness and loss, the realisation that things will never be the same again Jacqueline Winspear skilfully shows the changes brought by the Great War, not just to those fighting, but to those left behind as well The novel follows the fortunes of Kezia, her husband Tom, and her best friend Thea Tom s sister in the pre war period and into the first year of WWI These are likeable, believable characters that you come to care about I did find Kezia just a bit too saintly and sunny, everyone loves her and admires her, and she is capable of rising to every challenge This was a bit irritating initially, but as she faces real hardships trying to run the farm while Tom is at the front, her resilience and optimism are tested, and she becomessympathetic as a character Thea wasnuanced, basically a good person but struggling to find her place in the world, and I found myself really involved in her story.The narrative moves gently but steadily along The horrors of war are not glossed over, but this book does not dwell on them, it shows how these events affect ordinary people, changing their ideas and thoughts The use of food and recipes is a clever device to connect Kezia and Tom during their separation, and a fascinating glimpse of life at that time.I loved this book and would recommend it as a gentle and intelligent read to anyone who enjoys fiction from this period. Jacqueline Winspear s Maisie Dobbs mysteries often deal with the repercussions of the Great War, World War I, on the people of England But, according to the author s note in The Care and Management of Lies, the seeds for this novel were planted long before she became an author Here is a powerful story of The Great War, the story of four innocent people from Kent caught up in a nightmare that was unexpected And, Winspear said this novel began when she found a dogeared copy of The Woman s Book, a book about household management covering topics including cooking, children, business, and dress Published in 1911, on the eve of the war, Winspear could only imagine the life of the woman that owned it So, she gave that woman her great grandmother s name, Kezia, and set out to tell her story.In June 1914, when Kezia Marchant prepared to marry her best friend s brother, Tom Brissenden, she never dreamt of what was coming The country was in the early weeks of a summer that would become memorable for its warmth, and despite worries farther afield, there was a sense of being cocooned in Englishness But, no one really knew what to expect in the near future Not, Thea Brissenden, who was passionately supporting women s suffrage, nor Tom, who had taken over the family farm, nor Edmund Hawkes, whose family owned much of the land neighboring the Brissenden farm All four, in their late twenties, if they even thought of war in June, thought it would be over quickly They were caught up in their own lives, passions and dreams.Kezia was a little hurt when Thea gave her a copy of The Woman s Book, insinuating that Kezia was leaving behind her life as an educated woman, a teacher, to become a farm wife But, Kezia would not be the only one leaving behind the life she knew In fact, she became the one to keep the farm going, the dreams of home burning, as the other three left for war And, all four managed to lie about their situations, trying to keep hope alive.With the anniversary of World War I in August, there will be many books published about the war But, Jacqueline Winspear has always grasped the brutality of war, and the effect on the people at home in England Her Maisie Dobbs books never romanticized the aftereffects of war In The Care and Management of Lies, her characters come to life as they try to put a positive spin on life in order to appear brave But, it s those very stories that show how tragic and terrible the war was, both on the battlefield and at home Kezia Brizzenden represents so many women who courageously took on roles they were unprepared for If you re looking for a novel that tells the truth, the emotional truth of war, reach for The Care and Management of Lies. I love Jacqueline Winspear s Maisie Dobbs series, but was disappointed in this effort.It s well researched and gives one a clear feeling of what it was really like for the English before and during World War I It is beautifully written, with some absolutely poignant and profound moments, and insightful nuances But a compelling story needs to take you somewhere at the end, one should feel that there was a reason for being on this journey When I finished this book, I just felt deflated While I m not a person who insists on a happy ending, I felt the denouement of this story was a bit hollow and dissatisfying. Disclaimer I received this from the First Reads Giveaway Additionally, I do not summarize the plot that is at the top of the page.If there was only one thing I was allowed to rave about The Care and Management of Lies it would be how much I came to care about the characters At a critical point of the novel, I even broke my readers code no reading ahead but my break was over and I couldn t leave the character hanging Please read this novel the emotions the characters put you through are genuine At the conclusion of this book, I had a book hangover I could not pick up another book as I was still thinking about this one I still do catch myself thinking about it in random parts of my day. The New York Times Bestselling Author Of The Maisie Dobbs Series Turns Her Prodigious Talents To This World War I Standalone Novel, A Lyrical Drama Of Love Struggling To Survive In A Damaged, Fractured WorldBy July , The Ties Between Kezia Marchant And Thea Brissenden, Friends Since Girlhood, Have Become Strained By Thea S Passionate Embrace Of Women S Suffrage, And By The Imminent Marriage Of Kezia To Thea S Brother, Tom, Who Runs The Family Farm When Kezia And Tom Wed Just A Month Before War Is Declared Between Britain And Germany, Thea S Gift To Kezia Is A Book On Household Management A Veiled Criticism Of The Bride S Prosaic Life To Come Yet When Tom Enlists To Fight For His Country And Thea Is Drawn Reluctantly Onto The Battlefield, The Farm Becomes Kezia S Responsibility Each Must Find A Way To Endure The Ensuing Cataclysm And TurmoilAs Tom Marches To The Front Lines, And Kezia Battles To Keep Her Ordered Life From Unraveling, They Hide Their Despair In Letters And Cards Filled With Stories Woven To Bring Comfort Even Tom S Fellow Soldiers In The Trenches Enter And Find Solace In The Dream World Of Kezia S Mouth Watering, Albeit Imaginary Meals But Will Well Intended Lies And Self Deception Be Of Use When They Come Face To Face With The Enemy Published To Coincide With The Centennial Of The Great War, The Care And Management Of Lies Paints A Poignant Picture Of Love And Friendship Strained By The Pain Of Separation And The Brutal Chaos Of Battle Ultimately, It Raises Profound Questions About Conflict, Belief, And Love That Echo In Our Own Time I found this story very, very dull I could not get into, nor grow to care for the characters It pontificates, telling us the same thing over and over, in just different words She loves Tom She loves Tom She has never cooked before, never worked a farm This person s great grandfather had a gambling problem Thea is growing away from Kezia.I get it I do I got it the first time it was mentioned.What I don t get is all the cooking and how in the world it ties into the war I grew terribly bored with Kezia s cooking and what ingredients she was using and how long she cooked the fish.I feel like something was there but I could not see it I just know that halfway through the book, I declared, Let s get on with it already I don t care what you make for his high tea or dinner Just wasn t for me I will say, however, I was intrigued with how everyone in different parts of the country reacted to the idea of war There s the country folk who think it won t touch them, the pacifists and their protests, the young men who sign up thinking it s an adventure, and the poor who just want three square meals a day. This book was totally astonishing What I found the most remarkable is that Ms Winspear covers the human side of World War I better than any other fiction book I ve read that has been set during the Great War Ms Winspear wrote this book to commemorate the 100 anniversary of the beginning of this terrible war The setting is a farm in Kent and of course in France where the fighting was occurring The time is 1914 and 1915 The book is all about Kezia Marchant who becomes Kezia Brissendon when she marries Tom Brissendon in early 1914 Kezia is a parson s daughter and well educated for the times She is a school teacher when she marries Tom, a farmer in Kent Kezia gives up her London life to become a farmer s wife She has not got much experience in cooking, keeping house or farming for that matter, but her love for Tom encourages to embrace her new life with both arms Kezia and Tom are deeply in love, but then Tom decides to join the army at the very beginning of the war August 1914 At the time everyone thought it would be all over by Christmas Kezia is left to manage the farm and the house on her own She is only a few months married, but her optimism and the letters that she and Tom send to each other help her cope The letters that Tom and Kezia exchange are the main things that drive the plot along in this surprising book As we know, there was so much misinformation and outright lies divulged about the war and what it was actually like for the soldiers in the trenches, that people at home in England never really understood the enormity of the war and the huge toll it took on lives on both sides This is apparent in Tom and Kezia s letters as neither one tells the other one what is actually going on with them Neither one wants to worry the other one Ms Winspear introduces the real story of what happened in the trenches in between these wonderful warm letters and it is done in such an understated way, that it makes the war evenvile than what we the readers have thought it was World War I was a despicable war with no redeeming qualities and nothing is solved by it as is made apparent when World War II began only 21 years after the end of WWI The book raises a good many questions about patriotism, war time sacrifices, and the damage done to human lives and psyche both at home and in the trenches This is a remarkable book It is both very dark and very warm at the same time. Unfortunately, just as the Maisie Dobbs series fizzled out at about book 4, this departure, also centered around WWI, does the same No doubt Winspear is a talented writer, but it may be time to explore new territory I am not entirely sure what I m to get from this other than WWI was horrific and tore people s lives apart The characters are not really developed Kezia and Tom marry and create an almost pastoral, bucolic, existence on the family farm while Thea Dorrit scrambles from one cause to the other without much reason other than to avoid the police or because she s bored Details of the battlefield are graphic be prepared and the end Well, it just ENDS I kept thinking what the Is this a set up for another book A new series All in all, I felt like I was treading the same, tired, overdone, territory Winspear and others have done countless times before IF, however, you are a new reader of Winspear this might not be a bad introduction.
- Kindle Edition
- 352 pages
- The Care and Management of Lies
- Jacqueline Winspear
- 21 March 2019 Jacqueline Winspear