Jacqueline Winspear biography

Author Biography  | Interview  | Books by this Author  | Readalikes

Jacqueline Winspear
Photo: Stephanie Mohan

Jacqueline Winspear

Jacqueline Winspear Biography

Jacqueline Winspear was born and raised in the county of Kent, England. Following higher education at the University of London's Institute of Education, Jacqueline worked in both general and academic publishing, in higher education and in marketing communications in the UK.

She emigrated to the United States in 1990, and while working in business and as a personal/professional coach, she embarked upon a life-long dream to be a writer.

A regular contributor to journals covering international education, Jacqueline has published articles in women's magazines and has also recorded her essays for KQED radio in San Francisco. She currently divides her time between Ojai and the San Francisco Bay Area. Jacqueline is also a regular visitor to the United Kingdom and Europe.

Jacqueline's first two novels: Maisie Dobbs and Birds of a Feather, along with her third novel, Pardonable Lies, are set in the late 1920s and early 1930s, with the roots of the story set in the Great War, 1914-1918.

Jacqueline's grandfather was severely wounded and shell-shocked at The Battle of the Somme in 1916, and it was as she understood the extent of his suffering that, even in childhood, Jacqueline became deeply interested in the "war to end all wars" and its aftereffects. As an adult her interest deepened to the extent that, though she did not set out to write a "war" novel, it came as no surprise that this part of history formed the backdrop of Maisie Dobbs and other books in the series. The unique and engaging character of Maisie Dobbs is very much a woman of her generation. She has come of age at a time when women took on the toil of men and claimed independence that was difficult to relinquish. It was a time when many women remained unmarried, simply because a generation of men had gone to war and not come home.

"The war and its aftermath provide fertile ground for a mystery. Such great social upheaval allows for the strange and unusual to emerge and a time of intense emotions can, to the writer of fiction, provide ample fodder for a compelling story, especially one concerning criminal acts and issues of guilt and innocence. After all, a generation is said to have lost its innocence in The Great War. The mystery genre provides a wonderful vehicle for exploring such a time," explains Ms Winspear.

Maisie Dobbs, a National Bestseller, received an array of accolades including New York Times Notable Book 2003, a Publishers Weekly Top Ten Mystery 2003, and a BookSense Top Ten selection. In addition, the novel was nominated for 7 awards, including the Edgar for Best Novel -- only the second time a first novel has been nominated in this category. Winspear won the prestigious Agatha Award for Best First novel, the Macavity Award for Best First Novel; and the Alex Award, which is presented annually by the American Library Association in conjunction with the Margaret Alexander Edwards Trust.

The sequel, Birds of a Feather, which was published in June 2004, became a BookSense Top Ten pick in 2004. It was highly acclaimed by reviewers, garnering nominations for the Southern California Booksellers Association Best Mystery 2004, and that year's Independent Mystery Booksellers Association's Dilys Winn Award.

Jacqueline's third novel, Pardonable Lies, was published by Henry Holt in September 2005 as their lead fiction title. It went on to win the first Macavity / Sue Feder Best Historical Mystery Award. Next came her fourth book, Messenger of Truth, which was nominated in 2006 for an Agatha Award for Best Novel. This honor was gained by each of the first four Maisie Dobbs books!

Further books in the series have followed, as shown below.

Rights to develop a television series based on the Maisie Dobbs books were acquired by Film and General Productions in the UK but, at the time of writing, a series does not appear to be under development.

Series Order to Date

  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)

Jacqueline Winspear's website

This bio was last updated on 03/18/2019. We try to keep BookBrowse's biographies both up to date and accurate, but with many thousands of lives to keep track of it's a tough task. So, please help us - if the information about this author is out of date or inaccurate, and you know of a more complete source, please let us know. Authors and publishers: If you wish to make changes to a bio, send the complete biography as you would like it displayed so that we can replace the old with the new.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $12 for 3 months or $39 for a year.
  • More about membership!

Interview

Jacqueline Winspear talks about her Maisie Dobbs mystery series, set in Britain following World War I, why she is particularly interested in this time period and what she hopes readers will learn from it; how many of the books are inspired by stories from her own family; and about Pardonable Lies and An Incomplete Revenge in particular.

Apart from being a series of wonderful mysteries, the Maisie Dobbs novels have helped to acquaint readers with a place and time of which they might otherwise have known very little: England between the world wars. What, at a minimum, would you like for your readers - especially your non-British readers - to know about this period and what the First World War did to British society?

One of the most gratifying things that has happened since the books were published is that so many people have e-mailed or written to me to tell me that my books have encouraged them to find out more about this period of time and how the world was impacted by the Great War and the years until the outbreak of the Second World War. I would like my readers to understand something of history's gray areas, which are often well-served by fiction. For example, we know about the Depression of the twenties and thirties, and we know there was a Roaring Twenties, but that only takes care of rich, poor, and rich becoming poor. The grand parties of the twenties only roared for a certain echelon of society, and there was a whole segment that was virtually untouched by the depression - which in itself was experienced in different ...

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $12 for 3 months or $39 for a year.
  • More about membership!

Books by this Author

Books by Jacqueline Winspear at BookBrowse
This Time Next Year We'll Be Laughing jacket The American Agent jacket To Die but Once jacket In This Grave Hour jacket
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $12 for 3 months or $39 for a year.
  • More about membership!

Readalikes

All the books below are recommended as readalikes for Jacqueline Winspear but some maybe more relevant to you than others depending on which books by the author you have read and enjoyed. So look for the suggested read-alikes by title linked on the right.
How we choose readalikes

  • Boris Akunin

    Boris Akunin

    Boris Akunin is the pen name of Grigory Chkhartishvili, who was born in the Republic of Georgia in 1956. A philologist, critic, essayist, and translator of Japanese, Akunin published his first detective stories in 1998 and ... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    Pardonable Lies

    Try:
    The Winter Queen
    by Boris Akunin

  • Gyles Brandreth

    Gyles Brandreth

    Gyles Brandreth was born in a British Forces Hospital in Germany, where, in the aftermath of the Second World War, his father, Charles Brandreth, was serving as a legal officer with the Allied Control Commission and ... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    Pardonable Lies

    Try:
    Oscar Wilde and a Death of No Importance
    by Gyles Brandreth

We recommend 23 similar authors

View all 23 Readalikes

Non-members can see 2 results. Become a member
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $12 for 3 months or $39 for a year.
  • More about membership!

Join BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten.

Find out more

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Klara and the Sun
    Klara and the Sun
    by Kazuo Ishiguro
    Klara and the Sun by Nobel Prize-winning author Kazuo Ishiguro drops the reader into a fictional ...
  • Book Jacket: The Lost Apothecary
    The Lost Apothecary
    by Sarah Penner
    Sarah Penner's debut novel The Lost Apothecary was rated 4 or 5 stars by 22 of our 23 First ...
  • Book Jacket: The Spymaster of Baghdad
    The Spymaster of Baghdad
    by Margaret Coker
    For the last 17 years, the country of Iraq has known almost constant violence and political upheaval...
  • Book Jacket: Hades, Argentina
    Hades, Argentina
    by Daniel Loedel
    Daniel Loedel's debut novel, Hades, Argentina, opens in 1986 when we meet Tomás Orillo, a young...

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    Smalltime
    by Russell Shorto

    Family secrets emerge as a best-selling author dives into the history of the mob in small-town America.

    Reader Reviews
  • Book Jacket

    The Northern Reach
    by W.S. Winslow

    What is the weight of the stories we choose to tell...and the burdens of those we hide?

    Reader Reviews
Book Club Discussion
Book Jacket
The Narrowboat Summer
by Anne Youngson
From the author of Meet Me at the Museum, a charming novel of second chances.
Win This Book!
Win Band of Sisters

Band of Sisters
by Lauren Willig

"A crackling portrayal of everyday American heroines…A triumph."
— Fiona Davis

Enter

Wordplay

Solve this clue:

W T's Life T's H

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.