Our third annual One Book, One City – Yorba Linda Reads Together! heralds the Library’s upcoming centennial celebration. From May 1913 through March 1914, Yorba Linda Library service began while permanent funding was sought and secured. During the same time period, thousands of miles away, World War I – the Great War – was brewing. To take a closer look at what was happening internationally while the Yorba Linda Library was in its infancy, the selected title for this year’s One Book, One City is Maisie Dobbs, the first novel in the popular series by Jacqueline Winspear and an Agatha Award winner in 2003.
Maisie Dobbs is formally considered a mystery novel, but to many readers the mystery element plays a secondary role to the character study of an extraordinary young woman living through epic times in World War I era England and France. Maisie begins her working life at age thirteen as a humble housemaid whose brilliance is quickly discovered by an employer who supports Maisie’s climb up Britain’s social ladder to become in turn a university student, a wartime nurse and ultimately a private investigator. A perceptive observer of human nature, Maisie works well with all classes and understands the motivations and demons prevalent in postwar England – important skills for her first case which leads to a trail of war-wounded soldiers lured to a remote convalescent home from which no one seems to emerge alive.
Two accompanying novels have been specifically selected for children/tweens and teens to enjoy during this reading celebration. For children and tweens, Angel on the Square by Gloria Whelan is set in 1913 Russia where young Katya joins the household of Tsar Nicholas II and experiences a world war and revolution. Teens can enter an action-packed alternate history of World War I in Leviathan where Prince Alek of Austria is on the run from the “Clanker Powers” when he forms an uneasy alliance with Deryn, a girl who has disguised herself as a boy to join the British Air Service.
From March 8th – April 6th, everyone who lives in, works in or visits Yorba Linda is invited to participate in a series of free public events based on the World War I era to usher in the Library’s centennial. An appearance by Ms. Winspear, a Downton Abbey Gala, an armchair tour of Britain and France are among the several activities planned. Be sure to review the events listed throughout this program or visit the One Book, One City page at yorbalindalibrary.com/onebook for more details.
Director, Yorba Linda Public Library