This Time Next Year We’ll Be Laughing

Soho. Nov. 2020. 314p. ISBN 9781641292696. $27.95. MEMOIR
Winspear (“Maisie Dobbs” mystery series) delivers an affecting, personal memoir of her family’s history and her own upbringing in postwar England. The story is anchored by reflections on her parents’ experiences and memories of a childhood spent in the countryside. Winspear effectively transports readers into each moment with rich descriptions of even the smallest details. From recalling the fragrance of the hop fields she worked in to exploring her anxieties as generational trauma, her writing is visceral and beautiful. Winspear thoughtfully examines her “parents’ war” and its resulting impact on her life. Her words are hopeful and bright, and imbued with a resilience that will resonate with readers.
VERDICT Fans of Winspear’s Maisie Dobbs books will appreciate the connections she draws between her childhood and themes throughout the series. Yet the book will appeal well beyond Winspear’s fan base as a literary memoir deeply linked to history and as a meditation on place and family. Readers of literary memoir and coming-of-age stories may also enjoy Frances Mays’s Under Magnolia.
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