A few months ago Lynn did a post here calling for more romances set in Italy. Soon after, Jean wrote about her desire for more romances set in France. I heartily agree with both of those posts; I’d love to read more romances set not only in Italy and France but also in places such as Egypt, Malta, and Greece.
However, I’ve recently been thinking not so much about my desire for different place settings, but for different time settings. In the past year I’ve become hooked on two mystery series set in Post-World War I England. The first is Jacqueline Winspear’s Maisie Dobbs series featuring former WWI nurse and now professional investigator and psychologist Maisie Dobbs. The second is Rhys Bowen’s Royal Spyness series featuring Lady Georgina.
While these series share the same time period and are both set in England, they’re very different, and give just a glimmer of the possibilities for the Post-World War I period. Maisie grew up in relatively impoverished circumstances, and became a servant for a wealthy London family while still a young girl. Her life was fairly miserable, until she began to sneak into the library of the home and read books. Caught in the library one night, it seemed as if things were going to get much worse. Instead, her employer brought in a rather mysterious man to interview Maisie. The man turned out to be a famous investigator. He not only sensed Maisie’s intelligence, but began years of tutoring to help her reach her potential.
In contrast, Lady Georgina, great-granddaughter to Queen Victoria, is 34th in line to the English throne. Lady Georgie’s received the traditional education for a woman of her class, and is expected to make a “good” marriage, something Georgie rebels against.
While the two series have a very different feel, they both touch on many realities of post-World War I England, including such themes as unemployment among war veterans, the rise of fascism in Europe, and the role of women in society. Although Lady Georgina finds a lot of dead bodies, and is generally strapped for cash, there’s a lot of humor in the books. Lady Georgina travels at the upper levels of society, and is periodically called in by the Queen to help out with various royal problems.
The mood of the Maisie Dobbs’ books is generally very dark. Maisie and her doctor fiancée were seriously injured in the war, leaving Maisie with permanent scars, and her fiancée permanently hospitalized with serious brain injuries. Although Maisie has risen far socially, she routinely deals with working class people. However, in the most recent book, things seemed to be improving for Maisie on a personal level, with the potential for love.
I’m finding these glimpses into post World War I England fascinating, and am eager to read more books set in this time period, but in particular, I’d love to read some romances set during this time period. However, I don’t recall seeing any recent romances set in this time period. I’m sure there must be some older romances set during that time, but again, I don’t remember seeing them.
I’d love to get some suggestions from you about some books you’ve loved set during this time period. Any suggestions?
- LinnieGayl AAR