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The Care and Management of Lies: A Novel of the Great War Hardcover – July 1, 2014

4 out of 5 stars 383 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

What kind of farm wife would educated Kezia Marchant make in 1914, wonders her dearest friend, Thea Brissenden? Just before Kezia marries Thea’s brother, Tom, who runs the family farm, Thea gives the bride-to-be an ironic gift, The Woman’s Book, the actual volume, published in 1911, that inspired this novel. As it turns out, Kezia brings a different, lighter tone to the farm, particularly in cooking, which is new to her. After Tom feels duty bound to enlist in the Great War, Kezia fills her letters with mouth-watering accounts of the meals she is preparing for him, descriptions that become ragingly popular as he reads them to members of his unit on the front lines in France. As Kezia proves proficient in managing the farm and keeping discouraging news from Tom, who has become the whipping boy of his hard-nosed sergeant, Thea, in danger of arrest for her pacifist activities, also joins the war effort. In a stand-alone departure from her popular post-WWI mystery series featuring psychologist Maisie Dobbs, Winspear has created memorable characters in a moving, beautifully paced story of love and duty. --Michele Leber

Review

“Winspear has returned—via a good new, standalone, non-mystery novel called The Care and Management of Lies—to the wartime period that clearly continues to haunt her. In a publishing season crowded with commemorations of the outbreak of World War I...Winspear’s books more than hold their own.” (Maureen Corrigan, NPR's Fresh Air)

“Captivating….It is in Kezia’s imagination and kitchen where this tragic story of war, passion, love and friendship comes alive. Winspear illustrates how food-whether it’s imaginary or real-can provide the perfect amount of tenderness and compassion when it’s needed the most….A suspenseful wartime narrative.” (San Francisco Chronicle)

“Jacqueline Winspear is one of our best….Beautifully imagined and executed….As with every Winspear novel, there is beautiful writing-and in Kezia and Tom, two characters you won’t soon forget.” (USA Today)

“Fiction at once fresh and timeless, intimate and sweeping that chronicles the challenging friendship between a suffragist and a farmer’s wife….A rare stand-alone novel by the author of the beloved Maisie Dobbs series.” (O, the Oprah Magazine)

“In a stand-alone departure from her popular post-WWI mystery series featuring psychologist Maisie Dobbs, Winspear has created memorable characters in a moving, beautifully paced story of love and duty.” (Booklist)

“Winspear knows the history of the war that changed the world. In The Care and Management of Lies, she’s telling us the story, she’s bringing it home. Beautifully, tragically, indelibly.” (Bobbi Dumas, NPR Books)

“Captivating.” (Good Housekeeping)

“A winning stand-alone tale….While questioning war’s value and showing its terrible effects off the battlefield, Winspear fashions a stunning trajectory for her main characters.” (Publishers Weekly)

“Without questioning either the cause of the war or the dubious tactics employed…these characters simply get on with it, reaffirming our faith in the possibility of everyday nobility....A sad, beautifully written, contemplative testament.” (Kirkus)

“s much a story of the home front as of the battlefield, this new stand-alone novel is, above all, a moving tale about the beauty of those very virtues—fortitude, faithfulness, compassion—that the Great War called into question.” (Washington Post)

“Just as strong [as the Maisie Dobbs series]-enough to guarantee satisfaction for even the most fervent Maisie fan.” (Seattle Times)

“A moving and remarkable book.” (Washington Times)

“Without questioning either the cause of the war or the dubious tactics employed…these characters simply get on with it, reaffirming our faith in the possibility of everyday nobility....A sad, beautifully written, contemplative testament.” (Kirkus Reviews (starred review))

“Winspear’s fans should welcome the keen period detail and thoughtful tone so familiar from the Maisie Dobbs books, while historical fiction readers will be gripped by this sensitive portrayal of ordinary men and women on the home front and battlefield.” (Library Journal)

“An engaging picture of the human spirit in a distant time of war, World War I, from the battlefields to the home front in an English village.” (Herman Wouk, author of The Winds of War and War and Remembrance)

“In this dazzling novel Jacqueline Winspear writes irresistibly about the First World War, both in the trenches of France and the fields of England. Her characters walk off the page and into our imaginations, as we fight with them, farm with them, cook with them. I devoured this book.” (Margot Livesey, author of The Flight of Gemma Hardy)

“A haunting evocation, from an unusual angle, of the war that cast such a shadow over the whole 20th century. Jacqueline Winspear knows her native England, and the human heart, very well indeed.” (Adam Hochschild, author of To End All Wars: A Story of Loyalty and Rebellion 1914-1918)

“There is power in subtlety. This one is a stunner.” (Martin Cruz Smith, author of Tatiana and Gorky Park)

“A simply told, beautifully written story.” (Bill Goldstein, "Bill's Books," Weekend Today in New York)
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Harper; 1st edition (July 1, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062220500
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062220509
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (383 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #175,386 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Jacqueline Winspear is the author of the New York Times bestsellers Among the Mad and An Incomplete Revenge, as well as four other Maisie Dobbs novels. She has won numerous awards for her work, including the Agatha, Alex, and Macavity awards for the first book in the series, Maisie Dobbs. Originally from the United Kingdom, she now lives in California.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
The Care and Management of Lies is the story of the lives of a few people and how those lives were forever changed by the first World War.
Kezia and Thea have been best friends for ages when Kezia marries Thea's younger brother Tom. Thea believes that Kezia is going to have a difficult time being the wife of a farmer. Meanwhile, Thea is busy with the suffragette movement until the beginning of the war throws her in a more dangerous direction.
As the British enter the war, Tom feels that he must enlist, since so many of the men and boys that work on his farm are going. Thea is compelled to volunteer as an ambulance driver in order to keep from being arrested for her war protesting activities. Kezia is left to keep the farm running, with an old man and a lame boy to help her with the work.
I really liked this book and I like that Kezia, a woman who had never had to cook or clean in her life, so successfully keeps the farm running and makes everyone around her feel loved and cared for. The characters in this novel have been meticulously created and are not just one-dimensional stereotypes.
I have read all of the Maisie Dobbs novels by the same author and I liked this book much better. Read it!
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
When I first learned that this was not the latest book in Winspear's Maisie Dobbs series, I did feel a moment of disappointment. I've grown to love Maisie, and I look forward to seeing how her life changes; however, this book-- written to coincide with the centenary of World War I-- is about one of my favorite time periods, and I wasn't about to ignore it. I'm glad I didn't.

This elegiac and slow-moving narrative was inspired by a book Winspear found in a London book stall. The battered book on household management was inscribed to a bride on the occasion of her wedding in July 1914, and Winspear couldn't help but wonder about the changes that young woman's life underwent in the succeeding years. In The Care and Management of Lies, we see the hardworking, honorable and compassionate Tom enlisting after several of his farm workers do. (The war was going to be over by Christmas after all.) Kezia, a vicar's daughter totally unused to the workings of a prosperous farm, is left to carry on with the help of a couple of the old and disabled and a variety of workers brought in to make do. Thea reluctantly finds herself learning how to repair ambulances and driving them back and forth to the front lines. Each, in his or her own way, depends on letters and care packages from the others to help them cope with the seemingly overwhelming difficulties and horrors of what they must do.

Kezia, the only one of the three left behind, finds herself the primary caregiver to the other two. Her letters to Tom become eagerly awaited items by Tom's entire outfit. In them, she describes in detail the meals she has lovingly prepared for her husband, and while Tom reads them aloud to his mates, each one is comforted by the memories these words from home evoke.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The settings: Kent, the breadbasket of England; and Belgium during the Great War, WWI. The characters: Kezia, a clergyman's daughter; her best friend Dorrit, also known as Thea, a schoolteacher; Tom, Thea's brother, a farmer; and a lesser character, Edmund Hawkes, the local landowner. The conflict: surviving the Great War in body and in spirit. The challenge: balancing humanity and love with separation, hunger of all kinds, and the horrors of war.

If you are a fan of Jacqueline Winspear's Maisie Dobbs detective series, you may be a bit disappointed, as I was, in The Care and Management of Lives. Sometimes the characters are one-dimensional or put in place to illustrate an important historical point, rather than to come alive in the reader's mind and heart as they do in the best Maisie books. The contrasts between rich and poor, home front and war zone, domestic women and activists, can seem forced and make the story a bit disjointed. Last, a reader really has to believe care about food and see it as a metaphor for love to be able to tolerate the constant references to meals, real and imaginary, in the novel. I found it interesting and creative in the beginning and tedious at the end.

Despite those drawbacks, the book reveals the lives, challenges, and courage of the English people during a terrible time in their history. As with the Maisie books, Winspear's historical detail and love and admiration for the people who endured this terrible "war to end all wars" grounds the book and makes this important world-changing event come alive in the day-to-day world of ordinary people. Her treatment of motivations: for joining the army, for fighting for women's rights and pacifism, and for relating to the enemy, is nuanced and humane. If you think you can ignore my reservations, I believe you will find it worth a read.

Also recommended: Skylarks Above No Man's Land, an essay on the author's website.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I love the Maisie Dobbs books so was very interested to read this. It is a bit different but also really worth reading. It gives a good picture of life at the time of the first World War, especially as it regards the lives of women in towns and in the countryside. The main character Kezia is a town girl, a teacher, who marries a farmer. When her husband goes off to war, she and many other women have to learn skills until then though to be for men. There is a lot of sadness and a lot of description, some of it long. The reader gets a good feel for that era and the way of life and concerns of the people then. Men, women and teens might enjoy it. School libraries would also be a good place for copies.
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