A Dangerous Place by Jacqueline Winspear - A couple of years ago I finished Leaving Everything Most Loved with Maisie Dobbs headed to India to reflect on her future and whether it would be with James Compton who loves her so deeply. I was hoping she would say “yes” after 6 months, but unsure. I thought often of Maisie who is so real to me. At Christmas I finally bought A Dangerous Place.In a mere 9 pages of the opening chapter I went through a rush of emotions I have seldom experienced in any series. For those who have not read A Dangerous Place or are earlier in the series it is best not to read further in this post.
Maisie, I’m not one for writing long letters, but there are things that need to be said, and if you know this already, then consider it a reminder. Your father and I both understand what you’ve gone through - your dad watched your mother die of that terrible disease, and I lost my first husband and child. Between us women, we all know that the death of a child, even one not born, is a terrible thing to bear - and you were so late on, really. Then on top of seeing your dear James lose his life, well, that’s just beyond imagination. My heart aches for you, Maisie, really it does. But that doesn’t stop me saying what needs to be said now. Your father wouldn’t want me to write this letter, so this is between you and me. Frankie isn’t getting any younger. He’ll be eighty years old next year, and though his only complaint is that limp from the accident a few years ago, time is written across his face, and he misses you. We all miss you.
It’s time to come home, Maisie. I know you must be scared, imagining how difficult it will be seeing the places where you and James courted, and having to face the grief all over again. Not that I think grief is something you put behind you in the snap of a finger. But come home, Maisie. If for nothing else, come for your dad. You’ll be safe at home, dear love - we’re family. We’ll look after each other. I promise you that.
Yours most truly,
BrendaAs a front line nurse in the Great War, wounded in the same attack as Simon, Maisie had experienced death on a scale that may be rivaled but never exceeded by other wars.
We who are left, how shall we look again
Happily on the sun or feel the rain,
Without remembering how they who went
Ungrudgingly, and spent
Their all for us, loved too the sun and rain?
A bird among the rain-wet lilac sings –
But we, how shall we turn to little things,
And listen to the birds and winds and streams
Made holy by their dreams,
Nor feel the heart-break in the heart of things?An author has captured the heart and soul of a character when you grieve for their losses.