@ Your Library 9.15.23

By Beverly Ewart

The Care and Management of Lies: A Novel of the Great War By Jacqueline Winspear  

My unicorn lamp is the kindest, gentlest reading light I have found to date.  No one asks me (as they often have in the past) to please turn off the light and go to sleep.  My lamp is called Moonicorn, because the light he shines is like moonlight, only slightly more helpful for reading purposes than real moonlight.  Plus, he makes me smile. 

Moonicorn illuminated a couple of late-night/early morning reading dates with this poignant, rich novel by Jacqueline Winspear, who is up there, high, in my echelon of favorite wordsmiths.   

Here’s the summary of the novel from our online catalog:  By July 1914, the ties between Kezia Marchant and Thea Brissenden, friends since girlhood, have become strained, by Thea’s passionate embrace of women’s suffrage and by the imminent marriage of Kezia to Thea’s brother, Tom, who runs the family farm. When Kezia and Tom wed just a month before war is declared between Britian and Germany, Thea’s gift to Kezia is a book on household management, a veiled criticism of the bride’s prosaic life to come. Yet when Tom enlists to fight for his country and Thea is drawn reluctantly onto the battlefield herself, the farm becomes Kezia’s responsibility. Each must find a way to endure the ensuing cataclysm and turmoil. As Tom marches to the front lines and Kezia battles to keep her ordered life from unraveling, they hide their despair in letters and cards filled with stories woven to bring comfort. Even Tom’s fellow soldiers in the trenches enter and find solace in the dream world of Kezia’s mouth-watering, albeit imaginary, meals. But will well-intended lies and self-deception be of use when they come face-to-face with the enemy? 

Not only does Winspear craft beautiful prose, but she also brings you so far into the hearts and minds of her people that you feel like you are walking around IN them, INSIDE their story.  The Care and Management of Lies is a hard story to shake…. The ending is unexpected and will leave you with lots to think about.  I am still thinking about it!  How does a person navigate, with love and integrity, the ideological, geo-political, and biological tides of the times (“time and chance”), while prioritizing their most intimate relationships?