This Time Next Year We'll Be Laughing

This Time Next Year We'll Be Laughing

A Memoir

Large Print - 2021 | Thorndike Press Large Print.
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"After sixteen novels, Jacqueline Winspear has taken the bold step of turning to memoir, revealing the hardships and joys of her family history. Both shockingly frank and deftly restrained, her memoir tackles such difficult, poignant, and fascinating family memories as her paternal grandfather's shellshock, her mother's evacuation from London during the Blitz; her soft-spoken animal-loving father's torturous assignment to an explosives team during WWII; her parents' years living with Romani Gypsies; and Jacqueline's own childhood working on farms in rural Kent, capturing her ties to the land and her dream of being a writer at its very inception. An eye-opening and heartfelt portrayal of a post-War England we rarely see, This Time Next Year We'll Be Laughing is the story of a childhood in the English countryside, of working class indomitability and family secrets, of artistic inspiration and the price of memory."-- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: Farmington Hills, Michigan : Thorndike Press, a part of Gale, a Cengage Company, [2021]
Edition: Thorndike Press Large Print.
Copyright Date: 2020.
ISBN: 9781432885595
Characteristics: 451 pages (large print) ; 23 cm.
large print


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Mar 20, 2021

I have read and enjoyed all 15 (so far) of Winspear's Maisie Dobbs novels, so I couldn't wait to read this memoir. It was different than I anticipated, as she spent quite a bit of time describing her parents and their relationship with each other as well as with her. But of course she was shaped by her parents so this actually was a way for the reader to learn about her. After finishing the book, I felt that the memoir was also a therapeutic outlet for Winspear, a form of healing from her mother's cruel treatment of her.

I enjoyed recognizing the references to several of her family's experiences which she has used in her novels. In addition, the descriptions of her large extended family and especially her relationship with her parents were revealing in creating this personal self-portrait.

The memoir is not written in a linear format, as it alternates throughout the book in the timeframe of both past and present. But I think this is just the way she wanted to tell her story. At the conclusion she writes, "This memoir is a glimpse at a certain place and a certain time, traveling back and forth across the years before my birth and lingering upon the stopping places of a country childhood that framed who I might become." There were times I felt Winspear could have provided more depth and personal expression, so for that reason I am rating it three stars.

Dec 12, 2020

I just couldn't get through this book. I have a 50 page rule before putting a book aside. It took me 3 days to read 50 pages. Maybe if I had read some of the author's fiction books I would have felt more of a connection.

slawr084 Nov 26, 2020

I have to admit something: I’ve not yet read any of Jacqueline Winspear’s fiction—gasp!—but I do intend to at some point, as many of my library customers enjoy her historical mysteries and request read-alikes. I may nudge her fiction higher up my to-read list, actually, as I found myself rather enjoying her word choices here—descriptions such as “I was effervescent with excitement” stood out in particular.

Winspear spends an inordinate amount of this memoire sharing stories from the lives of her parents rather than just of her own life. This may seem odd—it is a memoire after all—but it’s apparent that her life is at least as influenced by her parents and their life stories as it is by her independent experiences.

Building her parents’ stories into her own is also an interesting way of providing the context for how they came to be who they were in relationship with the author. The parts of the text that explore more closely the difficult dynamics of Winspear's relationship with her mother, for example, are felt all the more viscerally once we’ve had a chance to build empathy for both parties through these stories.

I found her style of weaving forward and backward through time to be somewhat disorienting, however, and at times I lost track of whether she was describing her own or her mother’s experiences, and I occasionally also lost track of which war she was describing during a particular story. But I did love listening to the family stories, and I even appreciated the subtly amusing end-of-life stories with her parents.

I also must admit that I had not realized quite how ignorant I was of Britain’s wartime experience—such as how they evacuated thousands of children away to foster families in areas less likely to be bombed—until now. I also did not know the term “surplus women” existed to describe the population’s gender imbalance after the country lost hundreds of thousands of young men in WWI. I was not expecting to receive a history lesson, but a history lesson Winspear does deliver.

Nov 13, 2020

Winspear's books are among my favorites, however this memoir isn't her best effort. Revealing of a life as it was endured in the post-WWII era for the lower classes, the author's recollections aren't terribly compelling. It's clear that her personal history informs her novels and to that extent, this memoir offers a glimpse into themes and incidents that became fodder for novels.

Nov 10, 2020

If you are a Maisie Dobbs fan, you will enjoy Winspear’s memoir focusing on the years in Britain after World War II and the life of her parents. Stories of London during the Blitz, her mother as a child being sent to Kent for safety during the war, only it was not safe. Until I read this book, I was unaware of the abuse of the children who had to leave London. The stories of her childhood, living in a caravan with Gypsies, and living in a rural setting. If nothing else, I need to find some hops to smell them since they are a trigger for memories in the book.


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