The Consequences of Fear: A Maisie Dobbs Novel

Jacqueline Winspear

It’s 1941 when 12-year-old Freddie Hackett, a government message runner in London, witnesses a murder. Freddie and the killer soon meet when he delivers a message directly to the killer. Freddie reports the crime to the police but no body is found and the case is dismissed. Determined Freddie contacts Maisie Dobbs who takes his eyewitness account seriously. The killer has some unusual facial characteristics that Freddie can identify. In addition to her detective work, Maisie works for the “Special Operations Executive” helping to recruit and interview workers for the French resistance. Maisie’s American boyfriend, Mark Scott, also works for his government and is in and out of the story. He adores Maisie and Anna, the little girl she adopted.

These are fun books for those who enjoy light British mysteries. I heartily recommend reading all of them in order to get the background story of Maisie. her friends, and family.

Maisie Dobbs
   1. Maisie Dobbs (2003)
   2. Birds of a Feather (2004)
   3. Pardonable Lies (2005)
   4. Messenger of Truth (2006)
   5. An Incomplete Revenge (2008)
   6. Among the Mad (2009)
   7. The Mapping of Love and Death (2010)
   8. A Lesson in Secrets (2011)
   9. Elegy for Eddie (2012)
   10. Leaving Everything Most Loved (2013)
   11. A Dangerous Place (2015)
   12. Journey to Munich (2016)
   13. In This Grave Hour (2017)
   14. To Die but Once (2018)
   15. The American Agent (2019)
   16. The Consequences of Fear (2021)



The Windsor Knot: A Novel

(Her Majesty the Queen Investigates, 1)

by S.J. Bennett

Set in 2016, Queen Elizabeth II is in residence at Windsor Castle where she hosts a “dine and sleep”. This is a coveted invitation where participants enjoy wonderful food, entertainment, and get to spend a night at the castle. A young Russian musician is found dead in his room. Staff want to shield the Queen from the news and horrific circumstances of the death, but she soon finds out. The Queen quietly participates in solving the murder with the help of her Nigerian assistant, Rozzi.

This is a winning premise for a new series with lots of name dropping. I particularly enjoyed Queen Elizabeth II and her assistant Rozzi and look forward to more installments. Fans of “The Crown” and “Downton Abbey” will enjoy the novel.


Gretchen Berg COMING SOON – April 6th

You are cordially invited to author Gretchen Berg’s presentation of  The Operator.

Join us on Tuesday, April 6th from 7:00 – 8:00 pm.

Please register for the Zoom event at –

The early 1950’s in Wooster, Ohio is the setting for this debut novel. Vivian Dalton is a switchboard operator who has a penchant for eavesdropping on telephone conversations. The operators are not supposed to listen in on  conversations, but they all do. When a rumor about Vivian’s husband is discussed over the phone lines, it’s not fun anymore. Vivian needs to find out who is spreading the rumor and if there is any truth to it. Vivian does not confront her husband initially but attempts to discover the truth on her own. Has she been living a lie?



Band of Sisters by Lauren Willig

It’s 1917 when 19 graduates (1888-1914) from Smith College formed the Smith College Relief Unit and headed to Grecourt, France. The French government had asked the volunteers to work there. People were desperate. Their lives and homes had been totally disrupted and destroyed by the Germans. They needed basic necessities.

There are three main characters in the novel including: kindhearted Emmie Van Alden, Kate Moran a good friend of Emmie’s who was a scholarship recipient at Smith, and Dr. Julia Pruyen disliked by Kate and a cousin of Emmie’s. All of the women came with necessary know-how and willingness to learn new skills including assembling a truck delivered with all the parts in boxes, driving, taking care of livestock, and basic nursing care.

The story is based on real-life experiences found in documents stored in the Smith College Archives. Those records include directors’ reports, financial information, letters, journals, photographs and albums, news clippings, correspondence with the War Service Board and information about the reconstruction. The novel showcases bravery, perseverance, a little romance and a few secrets revealed in the midst of constant danger. This is a treat for fans of historical fiction.


The Four Winds

by Kristen Hannah
The story begins in Texas in 1921. Having suffered from scarlet fever as a young girl, Lisa Wolcott's family over-protected her. She wasn't allowed to finish her education and could rarely leave the house except for church. At 25, Lisa decides to attend a dance in town where she meets the man who would become her husband, Rafe Martinelli. Rafe doesn't really love her but marries Lisa when she becomes pregnant. The wealthy Wolcott family will have nothing to do with Lisa and her new family, but the Martinelli's welcome her. 

The promise of a better life in California convinces Rafe to abandon his entire family. Lisa and her two children stay in Texas as long as they can. Eventually they head to California where life for them is just as difficult as it was in Texas. They pick cotton where the owner takes advantage of his workers with low wages, a nasty migrant camp, bigotry and the constant threat of violence.
This is a story of a mother's love, perseverance, friendship, courage and sacrifice. It's hard to imagine the suffering these people endured. 

The Kitchen Front


by Jennifer Ryan

Due to rationing during WWII, feeding one’s family became a real challenge. Four very different women decide to enter a cooking competition sponsored by a local BBC radio show. Contestants must use ingredients with food rationing in mind. The winner will co-host the popular  “Home Front” radio show. Those competing included a widow with 3 boys, her wealthy sister, a timid kitchen maid, and a single pregnant chef. Due to a variety of unforeseen circumstances, these women end up living together, becoming friends and ardent supporters of each other’s talents and endeavors. In the end, it really didn’t matter who won the contest.

During the Second World War, millions of people actually listened to an early morning five-minute BBC radio program called “The Kitchen Front”. The Public Relations Division of the Ministry of Food gave the public guidance about the healthiest way to feed themselves and to make the best use of their rations. This is a heartwarming book with bonus wartime recipes.

The Paris Library

by Janet Skeslien Charles

In 1939, Odile Souchet is working her dream job at the American Library in Paris. She loves being surrounded by books, co-worker friends, and wonderful subscribers (patrons) including her boyfriend who shows up on a regular basis. When the Nazis occupy the city, the library director, Miss Reeder, cannot guarantee the safety of the collections, employees or patrons.  Soon the Nazis dictate who cannot use the library, especially French Jews, and what materials can be available.

Much later in 1983, Odile is living in rural Montana. 7th grader Lily Jacobsen befriends her elderly neighbor. Odile becomes Lily’s confidant and support when her mother becomes ill and dies. At times Odile’s home becomes an escape after Lily’s father remarries and she has two brothers to help take care of. Regrettably Lily snoops through Odile’s things, and their friendship is almost destroyed. By invading Odile’s privacy Lily uncovers decades old secrets.

The novel is based on some historical facts. Dorothy M. Reeder was the director of the American Library. During WWII, the library did manage to stay open. It started the “Soldiers’ Service”, providing books and magazines to British and French troops. When Jews were barred from the library, Miss Reeder and her staff personally delivered materials to them putting themselves at great risk.

This is a great book for lovers of historical fiction. 


If Today Be Sweet

Book Jacket

by Thrity N. Umrigar

Tehmina (Tammy), recently widowed from India, is visiting her only son Sorab, American daughter-in-law Susan, and young grandson Cavas (Cookie) in upscale suburban Cleveland. She needs to decide whether to return to Bombay or remain in the United States. Having previously relied on her husband, Rustom, to make all major decisions, Tammy cannot decide what to do. She realizes that as a longtime guest in Sorab’s home, that situation has put a lot of stress on her son’s marriage. When Tehmina witnessed the neighbor abuse her 2 little boys at Christmas, the police are finally called and the boys are taken away. Tehmina is a hero for intervening. Eventually Tehmina decides where she will live but only on her own terms.

A beautiful story published in 2007.




Our Darkest Night: A Novel of Italy and the Second World War

by Jennifer Robson


Antonina Mazin, a young woman living in Venice with her father plans to become a doctor like him. However, in 1942-1943, it is illegal for Jews to practice medicine. In order to keep safe, with the help of a local priest and family friend Antonina assumes a new identity, Nina. Posing as the wife of Nicco Gerardi, Nina moves into his family’s home on a rural farm. All of a sudden, the “city girl” is expected to help with chores, cooking, cleaning, etc. At first their “marriage” is a sham, but eventually Nicco and Nina fall in love. Nicco works for the Resistance, helping other Jews escape, and is eventually arrested. A local Nazi official is suspicious of Nina from the beginning and eventually digs deep enough to learn her true identity. She is arrested and sent to a concentration camp. 

A novel of acceptance, survival, sacrifice and kindness. I highly recommend this novel to fans of WWII historical fiction.




Non-fiction Recommendations

All of these titles are available through CLEVNET

Michelle Obama, Becoming (2018): First Lady of the United States, 2009-2017

John Lewis, Across That Bridge (2012): United States Representative, D-GA, 1986-2020

Shirley Chisholm, Unbought & Unbossed (1970): United States Representative, D-NY, 1969-1983; Presidential candidate, 1972

Kamala Harris, The Truths We Hold (2019): United States Senator, D-CA, 2016-2021; Presidential candidate, 2020; Vice-President, 2021-present

Barbara Lee, Renegade for Justice and Truth (2008): United States Representative, D-GA, 1998-present

Condoleezza Rice, No Higher Honor (2010): National Security Advisor, 2001-2005; Secretary of State, 2005-2009

Barack Obama, A Promised Land (2020): United States Senator, D-IL, 2005-2009; President, 2009-2017

Stacey Abrams, Our Time Is Now (2020): Georgia gubernatorial candidate, 2018; voting rights advocate

Andrew Young, A Way Out of No Way (1994): United States Representative, D-GA, 1973-1977; United Nations Ambassador, 1977-1979; Mayor of Atlanta, Georgia, 1982-1990

Colin Powell, My American Journey (1995): National Security Advisor, 1987-1989; Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, 1989-1993; Secretary of State, 2001-2005