Instaread Summary of Journey to Munich: A Maisie Dobbs Novel by Jacqueline Winspear
Five out of five stars
When the consequences of World War I to Europe are discussed, the focus is almost always on the dissolution of the three Empires of Eastern Europe and how the peace was the first step to an even more destructive war. While this is true, every belligerent nation in Europe underwent major transformations. In Great Britain, approximately two percent of the population, almost all men, died. There were also even more men that were wounded to various degrees.
This led to a man-deficit in Great Britain, women assumed many jobs during the war traditionally held by men, once the men returned many women continued to work in order to support themselves as well as because there were not enough men to fill the positions. That is one of the major premises of this novel. The two roles typically held by men that are filled by women are intelligence operative and pilot.
Maisie Dobbs is a widow that is now acting as an intelligence agent for Great Britain. She has a cynical, fatalistic attitude as she carries out her mission to extract a valued British inventor from the clutches of the German Gestapo in the late 1930s. Germany is rapidly re-arming and the Nazis under Hitler are tightening their grip of terror on the country.
The author of the summary does an excellent job of setting the historically accurate context of the spy story. Given the way history unfolded in Germany, the general story is one that could have happened. Foreign nationals were arrested in Germany on real and imaginary charges and many different schemes were executed in an attempt to extract the most valuable ones. It is quite likely that Maisie Dobbs characters did in fact carry out similar missions in the 1930’s. The reader should not forget that famous female spy Mata Hari operated in World War I, so female agents were active.
While some knowledge of the history of the 1930’s in Europe is helpful in order to understand the book, that is not a precondition. All of the main points the reader needs are in this summary after being extracted from the book. It appears to be an excellent book of historical fiction, for it could in fact be true.
This book was made available for free for review purposes