This Time Next Year We’ll Be Laughing: A Memoir
Coming November 10th
The New York Times bestselling author of the Maisie Dobbs series offers a deeply personal memoir of her Kentish childhood and her family’s resilience in the face of war and privation.
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.
Praise for Jacqueline’s Memoir
“Jacqueline Winspear has created a memoir of her English childhood that is every bit as engaging as her Maisie Dobbs novels, just as rich in character and detail, history and humanity. Her writing is lovely, elegant and welcoming.”
—Anne Lamott, bestselling novelist, essayist, memoirist, author of Bird By Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life
“Jacqueline Winspear’s memoir—This Time Next Year We’ll Be Laughing—takes the reader through the early and adolescent years of the author’s life as well as the history of her parents’ young marriage in a fashion that is simultaneously endearing, touching, amusing, heartfelt, and astonishing. It’s filled with affectionate details of family and friends and a life lived in rural Kent where entire families—including the author’s—work together on the farms harvesting hops, picking apples and strawberries, preparing fields to be planted, and simply making do. It’s a beautifully written piece of work in which the author explores the complexity of parent/child relationships (and in this case mother/daughter relationships) at the same time as she subtly underscores the bonds that hold nuclear families and extended families together. It’s a wonderful experience to visit a period of time and a way of life that no longer exists in England. It’s a love letter and a beautiful work of gratitude toward the people and the place that made the author what and who she is.”
—Elizabeth George, author of the Inspector Lynley Mysteries
“The countless admirers of Maisie Dobbs novels will discover in the pages of This Time Next Year We’ll Be Laughing how thoroughly the life of Jacqueline Winspear has imbued her compelling characters and stories. This is a memoir both evocative and unflinching. Without a trace of self-pity, Jacqueline Winspear portrays a childhood of rural poverty overcome by hard manual labor, lifelong love amid emotional wounds, and a profound understanding of how “the gift of place” creates meaning. Winspear pays homage to her parents and grandparents by describing their indelible wartime experiences, applying compassion and clarity in equal measure. As in her novels, she brings her keen eye to little known corners of British life such as hop-pickers in the Kentish countryside and the Romany people her parents came to know after World War II while living in an eight-foot-by-five-foot caravan. Keenly observant even as a small child, Winspear absorbed every texture and scent and sound from fields and woodlands, family gatherings, ancient cottages, and dusty treasure-filled attics. She has woven it all into an illuminating portrait of a time and place that is as optimistic as it is deeply moving.”
—Sally Bedell Smith, author of Prince Charles: The Passions and Paradoxes of an Improbable Life