The Care and Management of Lies, by Jacqueline Winspear

Jacqueline Winspear's stories take place largely in Great Britain around the time of World War I.  Although her Maisie Dobbs series are murder mysteries, Care and Management gives the reader an idea of what it was like to be a young woman living in England right before and during that war.  At the heart of the story are newlyweds Tom and Kezia Brissenden.  Tom volunteers to fight in France while Kezia runs Tom's family farm in Kent.  The two exchange letters frequently and, trying not to worry each other, both leave out the bad parts of their lives while focusing on fun memories, stories, and food (through Kezia's increasingly exotic cooking).  I loved this book partly because it gave me a very strong sense of how hard it must have been for everyone during that war, both men and women and both sides of the trenches.  For example, I never thought of how thoroughly terrifying it must have been for the English living near the coast, expecting to be overrun by the German army any day.  And all the women from both sides who would never marry and have families because so many young men were killed...

The name Kezia, by the way, is from the Hebrew for cassia. 


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