Review: Messenger of Truth

Messenger of Truth (Maisie Dobbs, #4)Messenger of Truth by Jacqueline Winspear
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Another wonderful story from Jacqueline Winspear. Although #4 in the Maisie Dobbs series, the book is perfectly able to stand alone. The only book in the series that I feel should be read in sequence, is the first one: Maisie Dobbs.

Shelved as a detective novel in my local library, Messenger of Truth is also a book that covers historical and social aspects of the the time between the Great War and the Second World War. Taking place in 1931, the great depression (1929-1939) is documented here with empathy and sadness. In regard to another novel I read recently, White Houses by Amy Bloom, the great depression in the United States of America is also, albeit briefly, shown in the light of returned service men and women suffering inhumanity and cruelty at the hands of the government. However, I found Messenger of Truth to be more gritty and stronger than Amy Bloom’s book. Winspear addresses the minutiae of life in the historical context. She shows the clothes, the food, the decor – all in focus.

I have to say, I have learned a lot from Maisie Dobbs – about all sorts of things.

I still have a couple of books in the Maisie Dobbs series before I catch up with the latest one.

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Review: Messenger of Truth

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White HousesWhite Houses by Amy Bloom

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The expectation is of serious scholarship, I don’t know why. The reality is not quite there. White Houses is a pleasant read with some interesting insights and historical value. Overall, the story is fairly shallow. Eleanor Roosevelt’s character is not well defined and comes over as shadowy and soft. This left me asking, “Who was this woman?”. The Narrator, Lorena Hickok, is defined in a far stronger light.

I wanted more from this book.

As any regular readers may have realised, I do not offer a synopsis of a book. Rather, I write about the impression the book made on me.

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Smoke Gets in Your Eyes: And Other Lessons from the CrematorySmoke Gets in Your Eyes: And Other Lessons from the Crematory by Caitlin Doughty

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This interesting and informative book was recommended to me by a friend.

Caitlin Doughty writes intelligently and concisely. What may seem a ghoulish book becomes a deep understanding of what happens to our mortal remains (in modern day United States). Doughty brings in the cultural differences surrounding death and dying. I believe this is important for us to take on board. What may seem macabre to us in the Western Industrialised nations is not necessarily so in other cultures. Doughty does not mince her words and I think this is the foundation of her reasoning. The book is not gloomy in any way shape or form. In fact parts of it are amusing. Above all, it is a thoughtful treatise.

There are some excellent reviews of this book on Goodreads and I encourage you to have a look if you are interested in the topic.

For myself, I am glad that I read this book. For one thing it has stimulated me to make an effort to set down what I want to happen to my body when I die. Avoiding the thought of death is ridiculous. Death has to happen to all of us, sooner or later.

The Order of the Good Death is a group that Caitlin Doughty has put together with like-minded people. Her website also offers some interesting reading.

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