Excerpt from Pardonable Lies by Jacqueline Winspear, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Pardonable Lies

by Jacqueline Winspear

Pardonable Lies by Jacqueline Winspear
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Aug 2005, 352 pages
    Paperback:
    Jun 2006, 368 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
BookBrowse Review Team

Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt


Maisie smiled and inclined her head. "Thank you, Lord Julian."

"Very well. Good. I'm off to my lair for ten minutes or so. I'll be back shortly."



 

Sir Cecil Lawton fidgeted in his seat, then stood again with his back to the fire. Maisie leaned back slightly in her chair, a move that caused Lawton to clear his throat and begin speaking.

"This is most unusual, Miss Dobbs. I had not imagined that I might one day be seeking assistance in this matter. . . ." Lawton shook his head, his eyes closed, then looked up and continued. "My only son, Ralph, was killed in the war."

"I'm sorry, Sir Cecil." Maisie issued her regret softly. Sensing that Lawton had a burden to shed, she leaned forward to indicate that she was listening closely. He had pronounced his son's name Rafe in the old-fashioned manner.

"I was in a position to ask questions, so there was—is—no doubt in my mind that Ralph was lost. He was in the Flying Corps. Those chaps were lucky if they were still alive three weeks after arriving in France."

Maisie nodded but said nothing.

Lawton cleared his throat, held his fist against his mouth for a second, folded his arms, and continued. "My wife, however, always maintained that Ralph was alive. She became very—very unstable, I think you would say, after we received the news. She believed that one day he would come back again. She said a mother knew such things. Agnes suffered a nervous collapse a year after the war. She had become involved with spiritualists, mediums, and all sorts of quackery, all in an attempt to prove that Ralph was still alive."

"There were many who consulted such people, Sir Cecil. Your wife was not alone in that respect."

Lawton nodded and pressed on with his story. "One of them even said that a spirit guide—" He shook his head and once again took a seat opposite Maisie. "I'm sorry, Miss Dobbs. The mere thought of it all makes my blood boil. The fact that one person can wield such power over another is abhorrent. Is it not enough for a family to endure loss, without having a witch—" Lawton appeared to falter, then regained composure. "Anyway, my wife was told that a spirit guide had passed on a message from the other side that Ralph was not dead, but very much alive."

"How difficult for you." Maisie was careful to maintain a middle ground as she listened to the story. There was something in Lawton's manner as he spoke of his son that made her feel uneasy. Her skin prickled slightly at the nape of her neck, where the scar left by an exploding shell was etched into her scalp. His regard for his son was compromised.

"My wife spent the final two years of her life in an asylum, Miss Dobbs, a private institution in the country. I could not afford rumors that might jeopardize my position. She was cared for in very comfortable circumstances."

Maisie looked at the grandfather clock in the corner of the room. She needed to move on. "Tell me, Sir Cecil, how may I be of service to you?"

Lawton cleared his throat and began to speak. "Agnes, my wife, passed away three months ago. There was only a small funeral and the usual notice of her passing in The Times. However, on her deathbed, she begged me to promise that I would find Ralph."

"Oh." Maisie placed her hands together and brought them to her lips, as if in prayer.

"Yes. I promised to find someone who is dead." He turned to face Maisie directly for the first time. "I am duty bound to search for him. That's why I have come to you—at Julian's suggestion."

"Lord Julian was at the War Office during the war. I am sure he has access to records."

From Pardonable Lies by Jacqueline Winspear. Copyright Jacqueline Winspear 2005. All rights reserved. No part of this book maybe reproduced without written permission from the publisher.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • 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 $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

One-Month Free Membership

Discover your next great read here

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Castle of Water
    Castle of Water
    by Dane Huckelbridge
    When a whopping 24 out of 27 readers give a book 4 or 5 stars, you know you have a winner on your ...
  • Book Jacket: Havana
    Havana
    by Mark Kurlansky
    History with flavor...culture with spice...language with gusto...it would be hard to find a better ...
  • Book Jacket: Temporary People
    Temporary People
    by Deepak Unnikrishnan
    In this powerful and innovative collection of 28 short stories, Deepak Unnikrishnan presents a ...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
The Nest
by Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney

A funny and acutely perceptive debut about four siblings and the fate of their shared inheritance.

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    No One Is Coming to Save Us
    by Stephanie Powell Watts

    One of Entertainment Weekly, Nylon and Elle's most anticipated books of 2017.
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    If We Were Villains
    by M. L. Rio

    An intelligent and captivating story of the enduring power and passion of words.
    Reader Reviews

Who Said...

No pleasure is worth giving up for the sake of two more years in a geriatric home.

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!

Word Play

Solve this clue:

Y S M B, I'll S Y

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 books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.

 
Modal popup -