Series: Maisie Dobbs. I read Book 1 in 2016 (and reviewed it).
What I remembered about this series prior to reading this book: Absolutely nothing. I thought I remembered that these took place after World War II, but that was actually incorrect–so, nothing.
Why I stopped reading the series: Clearly, the first book didn’t make much of an impression on me. I thought that was the only reason, but then halfway through Birds of a Feather I went back and read my review of the first one, and then suddenly remembered how annoying I’d found the author’s style of writing dialogue. I really wish I hadn’t read my review, because before that the dialogue in this book hadn’t bothered me, and after, it really, really did.
The plot: Maisie Dobbs, a private investigator in London after World War I, is hired by a wealthy businessman to find his adult daughter, who’s gone missing. Soon she realizes her case is tied up with a series of mysterious poisonings that are happening. Like in the first book, this one spends a lot of time exploring the aftermath of World War I on the people who lived through it.
The good: Quite a bit, actually. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this, considering how I didn’t really like the first one, and this one kind of has some bad reviews on Goodreads. I really enjoyed the way Jacqueline Winspear wrote about World War I. It’s sometimes hard to think about the really BIG moments in history and imagine how they affected individuals, but Winspear really did a wonderful job of personalizing war. I found it very affecting. I liked Maisie, and her assistant Billy. I also kind of like the slightly mystical bent of these books, as Maisie uses her intuition to pick up clues. There’s some time spent on Maisie’s relationship with her father, and I liked that, too–it was touching.
The bad: Ugh, the dialogue. It’s just not realistic. Characters use each others’ names CONSTANTLY when talking to each other, and it’s distracting. There’s also this incredibly annoying thing where characters will repeat themselves, while ALSO using the name of the person they’re talking to. Like this: “You’re so right, Ellesfena, you’re so right.”
Did Birds of a Feather change my opinion of the series?: Yes! I enjoyed this so much more than the first book.
Will I keep reading the series?: Yes! Especially considering how much Maisie Dobbs fans seem to prefer later books to this one–I’m expecting to enjoy future books in this series even more.