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

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

by Jacqueline Winspear

Audio CD(Unabridged)

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The New York Times bestselling author of the Maisie Dobbs series turns her prodigious talents to this World War I standalone novel, a lyrical drama of love struggling to survive in a damaged, fractured world.

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 Britain 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, 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?

Published to coincide with the centennial of the Great War, The Care and Management of Lies paints a poignant picture of love and friendship strained by the pain of separation and the brutal chaos of battle. Ultimately, it raises profound questions about conflict, belief, and love that echo in our own time.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781483005195
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 07/01/2014
Edition description: Unabridged
Product dimensions: 6.20(w) x 6.70(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

Jacqueline Winspear is the author of the New York Times bestselling Maisie Dobbs series, which includes In This Grave Hour, Journey to Munich, A Dangerous Place, Leaving Everything Most Loved, Elegy for Eddie, and eight other novels. Her standalone novel, The Care and Management of Lies, was also a New York Times bestseller and a Dayton Literary Peace Prize finalist. Originally from the United Kingdom, she now lives in California.


Ojai, California

Date of Birth:

April 30, 1955

Place of Birth:

Weald of Kent, England


The University of London¿s Institute of Education

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The Care and Management of Lies: A Novel of the Great War 3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 24 reviews.
karenwalksthedogs More than 1 year ago
This is a very well written book. Kezia's best friend Dorrit met as scholarship students at a prestigious girl's school. Kezie , a vicar's daughter, is set to marry Dorrit's  younger brother Tom and begin her life as a farmer's wife when on a visit to Dorrit in London she realizes how different their two lives have become. Doirrit now wants to be called Thea. She is very involved in women's suffrage and the pacifist movement while Kezie will soon be trying to adapt herself to being a farmer's wife. Much to Tom's and Kezie's surprise, Kezie becomes an excellent farm wife. She approaches the cooking with very little skill but with great joy and imagination. She and Tom are truly happy on the farm. Then WW1 interrupts their lives. Tom  enlists in the army where he inadvertently becomes the scapegoat of Sargent Knowles. Thea, to escape prosecution as a pacifist, becomes an ambulance driver. Even Kesie's father the Vicar is sent overseas to minister to the troops. Meanwhile Kezie is left home to run the farm on her own with the only two remaining farm workers, an older knowledgeable man and a you g man who is unable to serve because he is lame. She fends off the army who wants her horses, pulls down orchards, as ordered, and works until she is totally exhausted. However she thrives on all the work and impresses the farm hands with her decisions to hire women to do some of the work and also has a German prisoner among  her hands.  At night she writes Tom loving letters of imaginary meals she is cooking for him hiding any of the hardships she's enduring. Tom reads these love letters and writes back about how wonderful her meals taste to him instead of telling her of the horrors of war. This has been touted as a stand alone book so, to my mind, the ending was very abrupt. I don't want to give anything away  and I understand that real life does have very abrupt situations but I really wanted to know what happens next. I want to know where Kezie will go from here and what she will do. 
irishclaireKG More than 1 year ago
What Am I Supposed to Get From This? As usual with Winspear, this novel is well written, and once again, she takes us to WWI Europe just like in the early Maisie Dobbs novels. However, just like the middle to late Dobbs stories, I have to conclude it might be time for the author to explore other time periods and settings because there is absolutely nothing new here. Once again, we have decent people torn apart by WWI complete with devastating personal tragedy, graphic (quite graphic) depictions of battle, plus the subtle and sweeping ways the war changed British society. In this novel, we meet the family triangle of Kezia, her best friend Thea, and Thea's brother Tom who Kezia marries. Kezia and Tom set out on on a pastoral, almost idyllic, life on the family farm while Thea becomes increasingly embroiled in London politics. The problem is that there is no real in depth characterization of anyone--especially Thea. Why she does what she does...well, it seems she doesn't really care about anything but just goes along with what seems good or safe at the time. Kezia and Tom are cardboard: sweet,loving, bound to the earth; at times, they are almost saint-like to the point of boredom. Only Hawke, a neighboring landowner and Tom's battle commander, shows some shades of gray--but even that is never really explored to any satisfaction. I found the title totally misleading--I won't give anything away but will say I'm not sure how or why it stayed the title as the action doesn't really reflect its implications. As for the letters and LONG food/recipe descriptions within them that Kezia sends Tom: yes, this is to offer comfort and escape, to bring the beauty of home to the horrors of the war--but they go on way too long; it got to the point where they seemed to be page fillers. Maybe this should have been a novella? And while subtlety has its beauty, there's WAY too much in this novel to give the reader any satisfaction. I just kept thinking, 'what are we supposed to gleam from this other than the war was horrific and tore people apart?' The ending is another puzzle: this thing just ENDS. Is it the set up for another installment? Are we going to learn more about this family? I'm not sure I'm interested. Generally well written, but frustrating and ultimately (for me) waste of time.
SherreyM More than 1 year ago
I only recently discovered Jacqueline Winspear and her delightful Maisie Dobbs series. With little reading experience of those delightful mysteries, I make no comparison between those works and The Care and Management of Lies. Winspear provides in her notes the catalyst for this story of World War I was a book on home management she found in an antique book shop. Over time, she imagined a story of a young couple starting life together when the war rips their existence in half, sending the husband off to war and leaving behind a young wife, only recently uprooted from a more social existence, to manage a farm. Tom, the husband, is eager to prove to his laborers his feeling of equality with them by fighting the enemy. His sister, Thea, always the suffragette and feminist, sees Tom's wife, Kezia, her lifelong good friend, as someone leaving all her dreams behind to run the farm. Yet these good friends keep up a flame of hope by lying to one another in their letters or lack thereof. A favorite piece of the intimacy continued by Kezia with Tom is found in her letters to him describing the meals she is cooking daily for the farm hands. Quite the concoctions, she has Tom reading the letters aloud to his bunker mates whose mouths drool and stomachs growl. However, Kezia isn't cooking such sumptuous meals at all. She only wants Tom to dream of coming home to her and the farm. The setting is bucolic and pleasant, the potential is great for a strong plot and story line, the characterizations are good, but in the end this book fell flat for me. The ending anticipated, whether good or bad, should have been a stronger one. I do credit Winspear with excellent historical research. Any fact checking you might do will find that her writing is spot on with truth and substantiated by fact. Recommendation I do not encourage or discourage you from reading The Care and Management of Lies. There are some very enjoyable parts. But there are also some places where you'd like the pace to pick up a bit and then there's the ending. If you are a lover of historical fiction and World War I, you might give it a try after reading some other reviews.
Henry_McLaughlin More than 1 year ago
It was with some trepidation that I opened Jacqueline Winspear’s newest novel, The Care and Management of Lies. I am a fan of Ms. Winspear’s Maisie Dobbs novels. A big fan. Have been since the first novel.  This new novel is entirely different. It’s not a mystery. It’s not set in England in the years between the world wars. There’s a whole new cast of characters to get to know. Approaching this new novel was like going to my favorite restaurant after it has completely revamped its entire menu. The colors may be the same but I had the feeling of entering a new world where no one has gone before and I didn’t feel all that bold about it. And this book delightfully surprised me. Winspear’s writing, as always, pulled me into her story world of France, London and the English countryside of Kent. I was in the trenches with the mud and the muck and the blood and the stench. I was on the farm with the crops and the animals. In June 1914, Kezia Marchant and Tom Brissenden marry. Shortly afterward, war breaks out and Tom enlists. The novel focuses on Kezia and Tom and on how the war tests them, their beliefs and their love. Kezia is a young woman, a preacher’s daughter and schoolteacher, who becomes a farmer’s wife.  Immediately, we are in a tense situation. Will she make it as a farmer’s wife? Can she overcome her background and make the drastic changes to succeed? When Tom leaves for war, these questions magnify as she must manage the farm and get the help to trust her. Kezia is a very interesting character as she matures into a competent and capable farmer. Her growth is compelling. The reader is rooting for her right away. Cooking is one of the issues facing Kezia, one she challenges with varying degrees of success. Cooking and meals also become a symbol of her love for her husband. In her letters to the front, she describes meals she has cooked, different experiments she has tried. In his responses, Tom tells how her delicious her cooking is. The other soldiers in Tom’s unit look forward to her letters as much as Tom does. They beg him to read them aloud. They become a means for the men to feel connected to their own homes. Tom’s quiet strength as a man who won’t break is inspiring. One of the entertaining subplots is the suspense between Tom and his commanding officer, Edmund Hawkes, a neighbor at home. There is a definite undercurrent that Hawkes may be setting Tom up to be killed so Hawkes can pursue Kezia. Is Edmund Hawkes setting Tom up to be killed so he can have Kezia—echoes of David, Uriah and Bathsheba? Hawkes’ growth into a commander who cares for his men and who seeks to protect Tom is very subtle and believable. He’s really creepy when we first meet him. He becomes heroically brave and self-sacrificing. Tom’s conflict with his immediate superior, Sgt. Knowles, is on-the-edge-of-your-seat nail biting. How long will Tom take the bullying and animosity of Sgt. Knowles? How long before Knowles sends Tom to his death. Thea, Tom’s best sister, and Kezia’s best friend is the most interesting character. From pacifist suffragette to ambulance driver risking her life for the troops. This character could have been an over-the-top caricature. Winspear’s talent makes sure she isn’t.  Winspear captures the mental, spiritual and emotional anguish of the war. Through her writing we war, as one of the characters describes it, as a living thing. This novel makes the setting of the Maisie Dobbs novels even more real and alive. The portrayal of pre-war London and the run-up into the war is in sharp contrast to the horror evidenced in the Maisie Dobbs novels. The attitude before the war almost saw it as a lark that would be over in a few months. The post-war reality in the Dobbs novels shows the long-lasting physical and psychological damage of the years of brutal fighting and slaughter. This novel bridges that gap by putting us in the trenches and on the battlefields. There is a poignant seen early in the book where Kezia has a conversation with the mailman who is burdened with having to deliver a death notification to a family. In their conversation, the postman shares his personal knowledge of the boy killed and all in the town who knew and liked him. Winspear masterfully weaves in the inter-connectedness of the times. When someone died, everyone in the town was affected.  Similar to how it seemed like every American was affected by every soldier fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. In the story, people talk of returning to the normal before the war. Winspear brings out they will never see that normal again. The ending is moving and poignant. But I will not spoil it for you.
Grammykf More than 1 year ago
Kezia and Dorritt/Thea started out to be great characters but they never developed. I found my self half way through the book wondering when it would end. Loved the Maisie Dobbs series so I was anticipating a great novel. Right from the beginning I didn't care for the name given to the lead character: Kezia. How can I tell you how much I wished she had been name Rose or Catherine or Bonnie or anything except something that was unpronounceable and unrelated to anyone or thing. Ms. Winspear it was a good try but I get the feeling that you lost your interest in this one.
nhr3bookcrazyNR More than 1 year ago
Not as brilliant as I had hoped. I wanted to love this book because I love the Maisie novels and I love historical novels. But I found I truly had to trudge through this one. It has some special qualities to it, but ... just not as good as I had hoped. Sorry, Jacqueline Winspear. I hate not to write a glowing review.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have enjoyed the Massie Dobbs series but this book was tedious to read. Got halfway through the book and said enough. Ms. Winspear is an excellent writer but this book does reflect her best. The story line meander and never came together. I will stick to the Dobb's books.
YoyoMitch More than 1 year ago
The title of this novel intrigued me. It seemed to offer an explanation of life and a response, to misuse Shakespeare, as to how one is to withstand “the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune.” Noticing the subtitle further complicated the decision – another anti-war propaganda piece riding “The Great War” commemoration wave. Ms. Winspear uses a horrific era to magnify the power of words – to offer comfort, influence justice, to bring nourishment in the presence of famine. It is not propaganda beyond the stark descriptions of the obscenity of war, particularly the barbaric prosecution (by all parties) of the First World War. Kezia Merchant, a wealthy “townie,” and Thea Brissendon, the daughter of a hard-working, successful farmer, have been friends since childhood. When Kezia marries Thea’s brother, Tom, the relationship shifts – now Kezia has to learn to “be a farmer’s wife” and Thea continues to shed her “yokel” clothes by remaining in London (where she attending finishing school) and becoming involved in the Woman’s Suffrage and the Anti-War movements of the early 20th century. Both find difficulties in their new lives: for Thea – how to remain true to her up-bringing and avoid prison; for Kezia – how to “set a proper farmer’s table” hold its own perils, a least in her mind. The beginning of “The Great War” intrudes on their world when Thea “joins up” to drive ambulances when her activism puts her freedom in jeopardy. Kezia has to move from farmer’s wife to Farmer when Tom, who refuses to accept a draft deferment, enlists. The pain, violence and inhumanity against which she fought in London is now Thea’s daily experience. Kezia’a responsibility goes from keeping Tom well fed to include helping feeding the whole of England and, somehow, continue to keep her Tom’s stomach full. As the war intensifies, the hardships sharpen for all. Thea must keep her ambulance running regardless of weather, bombs or lack of suitable resources. Kezia is now supplying more of the produce assigned to their farm by the War Department but has less and less to serve at her own table. The letters Kezia and Tom write each other speak of the safety and plenty neither enjoys but both lie with convincing certainty of such realties in hopes of bringing about what they cannot manage. Tom and his platoon anticipate his letters from home with the hunger of the famished, each letter describing a meal prepared by Kezia for Tom (as if he were sitting at the table) with clarity sufficient to smell the aroma from the kitchen. Kezia expects Tom’s letters to be filled with the hope and careful attention she knew of him when he was home, an expectation he does not disappoint. Neither suspects the very real paper they hold in their hands contain letters of deceit; each is an honest lover choosing to lie to protect the focus of that love. The book ended on a note of dramatic dishonesty. The Great War was horrid, being the first “modern” war fought which lead to devastating death totals for all countries involved. The book is a study in the lengths individuals will reach to keep a modicum of pain from those they love; the ability of the human spirit to exceed the hurtles set before them, irrespective of their height; and of the obscene cost of fighting for something no one can ever possess. It did not need the weak attempt at “memorable impact” offered in its final pages. Those moments did much to eviscerate the vivid story told in the majority of the book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It just didn't seem to be going anywhere.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
And everything stays the same
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A well-written book but ATROCIOUSLY edited (the electronic version. "Nook.") Paragraphs so long and dense as to render them unreadable. What a shame. Shame on the publisher to have been so lazy.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I gave one star because it ended abruptly with so much unanswered. The author just stopped writing and that is unfair to the reader. Angry at author
tedfeit0 More than 1 year ago
The old adage that an army travels on its stomach certainly is an apt description for this standalone by the author of the terrific Maisie Dobbs series. Like those novels, it is sent in and around World War I and captures the horrors of the Great War, the muddy trenches, the deaths and its effect on the folks back home. The plot centers on Kezia Marchant who marries Tom, the younger brother of her good friend, Thea Brisenden, with whom she went to school, both becoming teachers. Then upon marrying Tom, Kezia becomes a farm wife. All this takes place shortly before the outbreak of hostilities, and when the war breaks out, Tom feels imperiled to enlist, leaving Kezia to manage the farm. In the brief time before Tom leaves for France, a ritual develops, as Kezia learns to cook with a flourish, using ingenuity and good sense to set a table unlike anything her husband had ever experienced. And when he receives letters in the trenches they are filled with glowing accounts of dinners Kezia has prepared for him, filling his drudgery with lightness. And the rest of the soldiers in his unit take to the descriptions as well, adding to their joy in the face of the poor rations they have to endure. This is a novel demonstrating the ability of people to withstand all sorts of horrible experiences and survive, and it is recommended.
JKW24 More than 1 year ago
The Era of WWI in England is told from the life of a farm outside a small village. Ms. Winspear has captured the ambiance of each part of this outside world from the beginning rumblings of war to the war itself. She touches on childhood friendships and true love. Her characters are complete and authentic in their feelings and unbridled essence of living. We are totally submerged in their daily lives. There is an innocence in the writing that sweeps us away, even knowing the outcome of that Era, we still believe because we want to. I was totally captivated by this story.
KrittersRamblings More than 1 year ago
Check out the full review at Kritters Ramblings Kezia, our main character didn't pull me in and I had a hard time connecting to her. Thea her friend and sister-in-law was easier to relate to and get to know, I enjoyed each time she was given a voice to tell her side of things. A slow going historical fiction that moved at such a slow pace that it was hard to keep my interest. I am not saying there wasn't action because there was as the author greatly captured the anticipation of war before it begins, but for some reason it felt as though things were repeated that weren't worth repeating and feelings were told over and over when once was enough.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was an amazing read. WW1 was so different through British eyes as I am constantly reminded by work such as this. The characters have connections to each other: Tom Brissenden and his sister Dorthea; her best friend Keziza Marchant, the vicar's daughter, and Edmund Hawkes, the Lord of the Manor on the property next door to Marshals Farm where Tom and Kezia set up housekeeping after their wedding. Thea, Tom's sister, is unable to wrap her head around how her friend Kezia will do as a farmer's wife, and gives her a book about being a good wife as a "dig" to what Kezia is giving up. Married under the threat of The Great War as the Brits call it, Tom is compelled to enlist soon after reports of the death of a Village boy. As a farmer, he is not required to, but he feels its his duty, and leaves for France to do the best he can. Thea, a sufferagist and pacifist, lives in London and teaches children. Her attending rallies almost gets her arrested, and just as she ran from the farm, she runs from the pacifists when she volunteers to drive Red Cross jeeps at the Front. Edmund has run his inheritance well, and enlists to fight as an officer on the Front Lines. What compelled him was some sense of duty. He still seems to just be an observer though, peeking through the windows of his soldiers lives as he censors the mail in and out for the troops. I really liked Winspear's style, alternating the war and the homefront seamlessly as she describes things and sequences as if the character is right there. One character that overshadows all the others is the War itself, and how each is changed by force, by faith and by love. A compelling read, I recommend it
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Virginiaw More than 1 year ago
I wasn't sure I was going to like this at first since it was not a Maisie Dobbs novel but after the first few chapters I really got in to it.  I could taste and smell the food that she wrote about.  I am not sure I liked the ending but it was what it was.  I look forward to many more of her novels.
MaxSD More than 1 year ago
The entire Maisie Dobbs series wonderfully describes the era of the First World War ... what an entertaining way to learn about the war and how it affected so many people. Makes one wonder why we keep getting into wars!!
Grammanessa More than 1 year ago
If you've read and loved the Maisie Dobbs novels, you'll want to read Winspear's departure from the detective genre into a more pastoral exploration of the impact of the Great War on an English family.
JacksonvilleReader More than 1 year ago
Possibly a new series? This era is one that has been of great interest to me for some time. The stories of how ordinary people continued with their lives during both World Wars helps bring reality to us and not just a focus on the fighting. It appears Care and Management may be the initial book in a new series and I hope this is so. I don't want to be a spoiler and tell others the fate of characters, but there are enough unanswered questions I can see this possibility. Ware is not something one dimension and seeing the struggles at home along should make us stop and think of today's news events. And ask the tough questions Ms. Winspear implies....
orionova More than 1 year ago
The author has long had a fascination for WWI, and her years of research show in this wonderful story about life both at home and at the front during the opening months of the war, when everyone was still predicting it would all be over 'by Christmas'.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book builds. The characters grow. The story becomes more involved. Highly recommended. I hope there is a second book about the couple. Great historical information from many angles. Another great historical fiction is The Partisan by William Jarvis. Based during WWII, it too is very engaging. Both deserve A++++++