The death of an Indian immigrant leads Maisie Dobbs into a dangerous yet fascinating world and takes her in an unexpected direction in this latest chapter of the New York Times bestselling series “that seems to get better with each entry” (Wall Street Journal).
London, 1933. Two months after the body of an Indian woman named Usha Pramal is found in the brackish water of a South London canal, her brother, newly arrived in England, turns to Maisie Dobbs to find out the truth about her death. Not only has Scotland Yard made no arrests, evidence indicates that they failed to conduct a full and thorough investigation.
Before her death, Usha was staying at an ayah’s hostel alongside Indian women whose British employers turned them out into the street–penniless and far from their homeland–when their services were no longer needed. As Maisie soon learns, Usha was different from the hostel’s other lodgers. But with this discovery comes new danger: another Indian woman who had information about Usha is found murdered before she can talk to Maisie.
As Maisie is pulled deeper into an unfamiliar yet captivating subculture, her investigation becomes clouded by the unfinished business of a previous case as well as a growing desire to see more of the world, following in the footsteps of her former mentor, Maurice Blanche. And there is her lover, James Compton, who gives her an ultimatum she cannot ignore.
Bringing a crucial chapter in the life and times of Maisie Dobbs to a close, Leaving Everything Most Loved marks a pivotal moment in this remarkable series. – Goodreads
Maisie Dobbs is my girl. I have loved her since my friend Julie told me about her about years ago. She’s strong, she’s independent, she’s a feminist, three things that were not common during the early twentieth century. She is supported by her beau, James Compton, her father, and her group of friends, who accept her the way she is. While society around Maisie wants her to change, and turn into the proper woman, those who love her don’t want her to change.
Of course, times are changing and Winspear covers this throughout Leaving Everything Most Loved. In the first book of this series, Maisie is a young lady, now she is almost 40. The time between the two world wars was a hostile environment in the world, and Winspear does not have Maisie hide from this; particularly because Maisie served in World War I and still has those wounds, even if they are hidden. England felt those wounds possibly worse than other parts of the world.
Maisie also fears marrying, she wants to stay herself and isn’t sure she can still be herself if she marries. This has been a common theme for Maisie throughout this series. In Leaving Everything Most Loved, Maisie still worries about her life now that she has money. James has always had money, but Maisie just came into it and she is confused how to treat staff as she was always part of the staff herself. It has been interesting to see Maisie’s growth throughout these novels. Although I took a break in reading them, because I went through a historical fiction binge, I did enjoy being welcomed back into Maisie’s room. Although she often hurts my hearts, because I just want her to be happy and safe, I also recognize that it is easier said than done in Maisie’s world. James wants to marry her and move to Canada and start their life together. This panic Maisie’s and it also panics James, who loves and adores her and just wants her to be happy.
The mystery involved in Leaving Everything Most Loved involves an Indian woman who had moved to London, who is not living the life that everyone around her believes her to be living. This is one of the few mystery books that I found the mystery aspect to be the not the forefront of the novel. While Maisie is always at the forefront, this book more so than usual. James gives her an ultimatum on the marriage front, her right hand man at the agency has to leave her and Maisie has this need to leave England.
Leaving Everything Most Loved is very much an end to Maisie’s life and while the series does continue on, there is a particular tone in this novel that Winspear makes it clear, that it’s okay if part of your life ends, while it also in its own right, continues on.