Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Mapping of Love and Death


I'm up to the seventh novel in the Maisie Dobbs series, The Mapping of Love & Death, for bookclubgirl's Mad About Maisie Readalong.

There are some dramatic changes in this novel for Maisie. Following the death of her mentor, Dr. Maurice Blanche, Maisie is his heir and now lives very comfortably without any money worries. Having this money enables Maisie to help her assistant Billy and his family move to a more hospitable home, one that will give them a new start after the tragedy of losing their daughter.

She also has a new love in her life, James, the son of her benefactor, Lady Rowan. This is a surprising turn of events, one of the reason I enjoy the Maisie series so; the author constantly surprises the reader with new characters and unexpected relationships- much like life itself. Maisie and James make such a lovely, companionable couple, I'm rooting for them to be happy together.

We also see a new side to Maisie in her interactions with Detective Caldwell. He makes some snide comments about Maisie moving up the ladder because of Lady Rowan and Maurice, and Maisie gives it right back to him. Usually Maisie is more circumspect with her words, but she spars with Caldwell and I found this side of Maisie intriguing.

The character of Khan, a wise man who Maurice introduced Maisie to many years ago, is reintroduced here. He has many words of advice for Maisie, including
"Extremes live within us all. What is given will be taken, what we have is often only of value to us when it is gone."
and
"Anger is a conduit for wonder, a tool for adventure. But it is also an instrument of power- and like all things, power has two faces."
Maisie's case takes us back to the war once again, as she investigates the death of a American cartographer who fought with Britain in France. We get another valuable history lesson about mapmakers and their contribution to the war effort. I did not realize how valuable their skills would be in war, and it was interesting to read about it.

Seven books down, one more to go in the series so far. I really think that Maisie is such a terrific role model for young ladies, and these books would be wonderful gifts for high school girls.

Rating 4 of 5 stars

2 comments:

  1. Diane, I hadn't thought about these books as teaching tools for teenage girls, but you're so right! I'm glad we can get so many different perspectives in this read-along.

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  2. I have a few nieces who love to read and I just think Maisie is such a terrific character for them to identify with. And I agree with you- this readalong has given me so many terrific ideas to ponder. I 'mglad I did it!

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