Friday, July 11, 2014

The Care and Management of Lies by Jacqueline Winspear

The Care and Management of Lies: A Novel of the Great War by Jacqueline Winspear --- 319 pages

This year begins the centenary commemoration of the First World War, known initially as the "Great War," and "the War to End All War" to those who fought and to those who held things together at home until a little more than twenty years later the maelstrom of war swept over them again.

There will be many books and films produced over the next few years that will revisit the events of 1914-1918 and try to make sense of what happened --- hindsight can provide insights that are obscured by the confusion and stress of living through cataclysmic events.

Winspear says she has been thinking about this book for many years. Her interest in World War I began as a child and was rooted in her relationship to her grandfather, a veteran who, despite severe injuries, survived against the odds, came home and made a life for himself and his family.

The book is about two friends, Kezia and Thea. Kezia marries Thea's brother, Tom, and joins him in running the prosperous family farm. Thea has left the farm behind and teaches in a girls' school in London, where she becomes involved in the fight for women's suffrage. When war is declared, just a month after the wedding, Thea is drawn into the pacifist protests. Tom and Kezia must cope with new wartime regulations and find workers to replace the young men who go off in a burst of patriotism to fight. Nobody expects the war to last long --- the men will all be home by Christmas, surely.

But the war drags on. Tom decides he must enlist, leaving Kezia, with his old foreman to help her, to cope with the farm.  Thea, afraid she may be arrested for treason because of her involvement with the pacifists, decides to volunteer as an ambulance driver on the front.

Winspear has written a quiet but powerful story of ordinary people trying to cope in extraordinary times, and how simple acts of love and friendship helped them remain sane amid the chaos and brutality of battle, and the anxiety and exhaustion at home.

Jacqueline Winspear is the author of the Maisie Dobbs series, featuring a World War I nurse turned private investigator.

Click HERE to visit her web site.

Click HERE to read the author discussing The Care and Management of Lies.

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