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Wednesday, December 17, 2008

An Incomplete Revenge

Winspear, Jacqueline. An Incomplete Revenge.

6 words: A village shares a secret shame.

Now I'm caught up with this series.

Working for James Compton, son of her benefactor, Maisie seeks to discover the origin of some mysterious fires in the village of Heronsdene. The villagers act as if the fires are accidental, but they occur annually in September, and are both deliberate and symbolic.

Winspear seems to be closing out the WWI angle and preparing to introduce increasing concerns about Hitler and Germany. One chapter is closing, and another about to begin.

I did enjoy this book, but found it a bit didactic. The information about the rigid class system of the time seems forced and a little preachy. The same with the prejudice against those who are different (introduced in at least 3 circumstances in this novel). A more subtle approach to these problems would have been better. It didn't have to be spelled out again and again.

One of the positives in this series is that the characters change and grow. They respond to circumstances, to social customs that are in the process of change, to economic pressures, and to the frailties of human nature. Winspear is laying the groundwork for future novels with her references to Germany, various kinds of prejudice, economic depression, and Oswald Mosley.

Her characters have been molded by one war and its aftermath; they will soon be forced to respond to the encroaching shadow of a second war.

Looking forward to the next in this series.

Fiction. Mystery. 2008. 320 pages.


  1. It amazes me how much one can learn about a book from six well chosen words!


  2. I wish I was caught up in a few series! I am behind in like everything!

  3. I felt this book wasn't quite as good as the earlier ones, and I was wondering if it had to do with the fact that I was reading it rather than listening to it on audio, which I did with all the earlier ones. Maybe the book just isn't quite as good as the others, no matter how you experience it? I did enjoy it, but I know what you mean about it being didactic.

  4. Mary - Sometimes the 6 words are fairly easy, but sometimes I just can't quite do it! The idea originated with Eva at A Striped Armchair, I've just co-opted it!

    Kailana - I'm behind in so many things that it felt really good to get one series caught up!

    Dorothy - There may very well be a difference between reading and listening, especially if the reader is good. However, I don't think this book was as good as the previous ones. Still a fun read, but not quite as good.

  5. I wish I'd have read your review a few days earlier. I finished up a book and was deciding what to read next. I didn't want to read one of the ARCs pressing for my attention. This Winspear would have been just the thing. It's been sitting on the shelf since it first came out and it's always nice to read a book that's been waiting for awhile. (I should have tried to say that in 6 words!)

    Sorry to hear about the preachy parts. I don't like that either.

  6. booklogged - It was still a good read!