Friday, July 25, 2014

See Lizzie Read 5 Minute High 5 with Jacqueline Winspear!!

Hello Bookworms!,
        I have a very special treat to share with you today!! An interview with author of 10 Maisie Dobbs mystery novels and the brand new, stand-alone novel The Care and Management of Lies, JACQUELINE WINSPEAR!! Read what she had to say about the writing experience, her inspirations, and her brand new novel!!
Q: Maisie Dobbs is a strong, independent female character. Was there someone in your life that inspired Maisie's character?

A: No, there’s no one in my life that inspired the character – rather I wanted to reflect the extraordinary generation of women in Britain who came of age in the Great War. They were the first generation of women to go to war in modern times in very significant numbers – and after the war so many had to forge a life alone because so many men had been killed in the war.  That generation blazed a trail, and have inspired me since childhood.

Q: Your mystery novels are continually nominated for and winning awards. What has the experience been like for you?

A: Very rewarding you could say!  Of course it’s wonderful when your work is enjoyed by a very broad range of readers, however, the fact is that you have to get up the next day and write, and as a writer I want to stretch myself and ask how I can be a better writer.

Q: There are 10 Maisie Dobbs novels right now for readers to enjoy. You've also said that Maisie will be returning in 2015. What drew you to writing mysteries and what keeps you writing them?

A: When I wrote MAISIE DOBBS I did not set out to write a mystery – I simply wrote a story that was in my head. Many booksellers did not shelve the book in the mystery section, instead putting it with historical and literary fiction – it was more “cross genre” given the emphasis on the back story.  Then it seemed there were more stories to tell, but for me the focus is the main character and companion characters – they are the true mystery. 

Q: You have a new standalone novel, THE CARE AND MANAGEMENT OF LIES, being published in about a month(from the time of the interview). What can readers look forward to in this new book?

A: It’s not a mystery and it’s not part of the series. Set in the opening months of the Great War, it juxtaposes life at the battlefront with life at the home front.

Q: Some of the Maisie Dobbs novels and THE CARE AND MANAGEMENT OF LIES are set in war time. Particularly, the First World War. What draws you to write novels set in this time period?

A: In answer to this question, here’s a excerpt from the “About” page on my website:

Jacqueline's grandfather was severely wounded and shell-shocked at The Battle of the Somme in 1916, and it was as she understood the extent of his suffering that, even in childhood, Jacqueline became deeply interested in the "war to end all wars" and its aftereffects. As an adult her interest deepened to the extent that, though she did not set out to write a "war" novel, it came as no surprise that this part of history formed the backdrop of Maisie Dobbs and other books in the series. The unique and engaging character of Maisie Dobbs is very much a woman of her generation. She has come of age at a time when women took on the toil of men and claimed independence that was difficult to relinquish. It was a time when many women remained unmarried, simply because a generation of men had gone to war and not come home.

"The war and its aftermath provide fertile ground for a mystery. Such great social upheaval allows for the strange and unusual to emerge and a time of intense emotions can, to the writer of fiction, provide ample fodder for a compelling story, especially one concerning criminal acts and issues of guilt and innocence. After all, a generation is said to have lost its innocence in The Great War. The mystery genre provides a wonderful vehicle for exploring such a time," explains Ms. Winspear.

Buy Maisie Dobbs on!

Buy The Care and Management of Lies on!

     There you have it readers! The Writing Experience, Maisie Dobbs, and The Care and Management of Lies from Mrs. Jacqueline Winspear herself!

     A special thanks to Mrs. Winspear for agreeing to do an interview with See Lizzie Read!

     Keep checking See Lizzie Read here and on Facebook for more interviews, reviews, and more!!

Until Next Time,
           Lizzie <3

Mansfield Park by Jane Austen

Hello Bookworms!,

      As some of you may know, I am a pretty huge Jane Austen fan. I have loved Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility for ages and I can readily quote lines from and make reference to both.


      Fanny Price did not come from a rich family. Quite the opposite. Her family has very little money and many children. When her uncle takes her in, and raises her in the lap of luxury, it is a blessing for dear Fanny. However, there is always a marked difference between herself and her four cousins and if she ever forgets it, which she does not, Aunt Norris is there to remind her.

      From her shy corner of the world, Fanny observes much about the family. Including some uncouth behavior between her engaged cousin and a handsome friend in town for a few weeks. However, when this handsome friend turns his attention of fanny in earnest, she does not know what to do.


      This is the fourth Jane Austen Novel I have read. Unfortunately, it was not her best. Please don’t grab your torches and pitchforks yet Jane Austens fans everywhere, I’m still a diehard fan, I’m just a little disappointed in this novel. After the first 250 (roughly ½ of the book) pages I thought “Okay, this was just the uphill climb. These are the details that are going to make this second half all make perfect sense.” And in a way, it was true.  There were certain complex emotions and decisions that would not have made sense in the second half of the book if you hadn’t paid attention in the first half. Unfortunately, the second half of the book wasn’t the downhill thrill-ride that I’d been hoping for.

      The second half of the book was sadly not much better than the first. There were great moments in the story but the telling of them was long and drawn out. I felt like several parts of story was slow-paced with no purpose. All of the most exciting details happened in the last 5 of the sixty-four chapters of the book. The largest part of the excitement really hit in the last 2 chapters. And while sometimes, this is enough to save my opinion of a book, in this case it felt a bit half-hearted. I as the reader had endured four hundred and eighty-one pages of hoping something exciting was about to happen and in the last 15 pages every major conflict was magically resolved. These were the details that I had been waiting for and they were left out!!! I felt cheated! I had listened to every character whine and complain for pages and pages thinking “just one more chapter and the fun will begin” and suddenly the author just glossed over it all, discussing it in the most general way and then….the end. It was over. *Insert Frustrated Wail Here*

      So, if you are a Jane Austen fan, read Mansfield Park just to say you did. That you’ve read all of her works. If you are looking for classic novels to read, This wouldn’t crack my top 20. There are too many other novels too choose from.


Buy Mansfield Park on!
Until Next Time,
                  Lizzie <3