The White Lady
The White Lady introduces yet another extraordinary heroine from Jacqueline Winspear, creator of the best-selling Maisie Dobbs series. This heart-stopping novel, set in Post WWII Britain in 1947, follows the coming of age and maturity of former wartime operative Elinor White—veteran of two wars, trained killer, protective of her anonymity—when she is drawn back into the world of menace she has been desperate to leave behind.
A reluctant ex-spy with demons of her own, Elinor finds herself facing down one of the most dangerous organized crime gangs in London, ultimately exposing corruption from Scotland Yard to the highest levels of government.
The private, quiet “Miss White” as Elinor is known, lives in a village in rural Kent, England, and to her fellow villagers seems something of an enigma. Well she might, as Elinor occupies a “grace and favor” property, a rare privilege offered to faithful servants of the Crown for services to the nation. But the residents of Shacklehurst have no way of knowing how dangerous Elinor’s war work had been, or that their mysterious neighbor is haunted by her past.
It will take Susie, the child of a young farmworker, Jim Mackie and his wife, Rose, to break through Miss White’s icy demeanor—but Jim has something in common with Elinor. He, too, is desperate to escape his past. When the powerful Mackie crime family demands a return of their prodigal son for an important job, Elinor assumes the task of protecting her neighbors, especially the bright-eyed Susie. Yet in her quest to uncover the truth behind the family’s pursuit of Jim, Elinor unwittingly sets out on a treacherous path—yet it is one that leads to her freedom.
—Booklist, Starred Review
—The New York Review of Books
A poignant story of courage, misogyny, and misused power. A tense history-based thriller filled with anguish and suspense.
—Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review
—Daily Mail, UK
No one does this better than Jacqueline Winspear.
“Winspear is an absolute master of the character-driven thriller . . . [and] the real strength of the novel, lies in the poignant and beautifully written backstory of Elinor’s childhood in war-torn Belgium and her personal losses in a devastated London.”
—Booklist, Starred Review
“The award-winning author of the Maisie Dobbs series skillfully juggles three timelines in a riveting stand-alone about a woman whose wartime experiences overshadow her post-war retirement.”
—Library Journal, Starred Review and Pick of the Month
“A poignant story of courage, misogyny, and misused power. A tense history-based thriller filled with anguish and suspense.”
—Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review
“Fans have a new character to love: Elinor White, an enigmatic war hero at the center of The White Lady, Winspear’s second stand-alone novel. White is very much her own woman, but she’s just as inspirational as Maisie (Dobbs).”
“Smart, nuanced… The chapters illuminating Elinor’s dramatic backstory add vulnerability to her characterization, enriching the suspenseful main narrative. This will please both Winspear’s fans and new readers.”
“Ms. Winspear ties her story elements together in a remarkably exciting manner.”
—The Wall Street Journal (read full review)
“The White Lady is a perfect fit for lovers of historical mysteries featuring intrepid, resourceful women who emerge as equal to their male colleagues and sometimes are more courageous. As a neighbor comments about Elinor, ‘She’s handy with a gun.’ And she’s very clever. This is an excellent outing for Winspear.”
—The New York Journal of Books
“Jacqueline Winspear has struck gold with another indomitable heroine of wartime Britain.”
—Daily Mail, UK
“Jacqueline Winspear’s Maisie Dobbs books have explored the intersection of criminality and war—the chaos of battle and bombs providing the perfect cover for a variety of criminal enterprises—and she expands on the subject with characteristic intelligence and psychological acuity in The White Lady. Elinor is an obsessive planner, but there’s a limit to what can be anticipated, and she learns that a life spent on high alert is no life at all.”
—Airmail, Best Mystery Books To Read March 2023 (read full review)
“They say it’s always the quiet ones that you’ve got to watch… and no truer is that than with Elinor White. Locals call her ‘the White Lady’ though it’s unlikely that they know her history—or that she’s a trained killer formerly involved in espionage … A cracking standalone from the author of the Maisie Dobbs series.”
“… a gripping, suspenseful story full of surprises that is as captivating, finely crafted, carefully plotted, beautifully written and engaging as any of [Winspear’s] previous works.”
“Listeners hear the emotional, physical, and long-term impacts of two wars and learn of the unrecognized roles of women. Cassidy’s tone, pace, and pitch drive up the tension in the frightening war scenes. An engrossing experience of Winspear’s beautifully written work.”
—BookTrib on the audiobook narrated by Orlagh Cassidy
“The White Lady doesn’t shy away from dark subjects, and historical mystery readers searching for a bit of grit and a complex main character will admire its uncompromising storytelling.”
“This book spans two wars, is epic in scope, yet feels very intimate.”
“In this engrossing, fast paced tale, readers get to escape their own realities, meaning there’s plenty of guilty pleasure in Winspear’s latest outing.”
—East Bay Express
“If Daphne du Maurier rewrote a John le Carré manuscript, it might resemble The White Lady.”
“Packed with action, The White Lady delivers a high-quality reading experience thanks to well-developed characters and an intriguing plot.”
“Yet another extraordinary heroine from the creator of Maisie Dobbs…. heart-stopping.”
—My Edmonds News
“The White Lady is a phenomenal read. You are prisoner from the opening paragraph until the suspenseful conclusion … This thrilling book reveals much about mankind. Humans can be brutal, tender, kind, treacherous, cold, friendly, tremendously loyal, deceiving, brave, cowardly. Jacqueline Winspear includes all of these traits in The White Lady.”
—Army Lieutenant Colonel (Ret.) Donald Maccuish (read full review)
“Winspear skillfully juggles three timelines in a compelling story of a woman whose wartime experiences overshadow her post-war retirement. She does an excellent job in bringing Elinor’s heroic actions to life, but she also excels in creating the atmosphere in post-war England. Elinor herself stands out in The White Lady. It may be a standalone, but Jacqueline Winspear has created an unforgettable character.”
—Lesa’s Book Critiques
“Though darker than the Maisie Dobbs series, this standalone adventure is cleverly plotted, deftly assembled with layers of narrative that take us through the first half of the twentieth century, developing the backstory of a fascinating heroine … Altogether, it makes for a gripping historical novel.”
—Reviewing the Evidence
“In The White Lady, as in her Maisie Dobbs series, Winspear demonstrates a deep and multifaceted understanding of the effects of war on those forced to fight. Her books are thought-provoking, emotionally satisfying, and well worth your time.”
—My Books Network
“The White Lady is a triumph of storytelling. Rarely have I been swept up into a novel, into the lives of the main characters, so quickly and thoroughly. Winspear creates in Elinor White (The White Lady), a complex, endearing, achingly flawed hero. This is both fast-paced and thoughtful, bold and nuanced, a thriller that is thrillingly human. I loved it.”
“The White Lady is wonderful … a tense and twisty character-driven thriller, a heartfelt tribute to the twentieth century’s bravest women, and a perfect match between story and storyteller. No one does this better than Jacqueline Winspear.”