The White Lady: A Novel
Instant New York Times and National Bestseller
“A triumph. . . . 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.” —Louise Penny
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.
Praise for The White Lady: A Novel
"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." — Louise Penny
"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." — Lee Child
“Ms. Winspear ties her story elements together in a remarkably exciting manner.” — Wall Street Journal
“After 17 Maisie novels, 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. . . . . she is such an appealing character—and one I hope readers will get to know better.” — Washington Post
"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." — Air Mail
"With focus on White's interior experience and a subplot involving the post-war London crime syndicates, this book sees Winspear taking things up several notches in terms of theme and character development. However, she also turns up suspense with a structure that toggles between present, her war-torn childhood and her Special Operations Executive doings during World War II." — NPR
“A poignant story of courage, misogyny, and misused power. A tense history-based thriller filled with anguish and suspense.” — Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“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)
“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.” — Publishers Weekly
"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." — New York Journal of Books
"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
"Jacqueline Winspear has struck gold with another indomitable heroine of wartime Britain.” — Daily Mail
"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." — BookTrib
"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." — BookPage
"If Daphne du Maurier rewrote a John le Carré manuscript, it might resemble The White Lady." — Star Tribune
“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.” — New York Journal of Books
"This book spans two wars, is epic in scope, yet feels very intimate." — Mystery Scene
"Packed with action, The White Lady delivers a high-quality reading experience thanks to well-developed characters and an intriguing plot." — Novels Alive
"With her keen talent for British accents, narrator Orlagh Cassidy masterfully delivers a stand-alone from Jacqueline Winspear, which introduces powerful, brave heroine Elinor White . . . . 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, Best Audiobooks
"While The White Lady is filled with the horrors of two world wars, the people here are inspiring. It's both thrilling and humbling to read about the unsung heroes, ordinary villagers and even children (like Elinor and her sister) who risked their lives to do the right thing." — Book Reporter
“A war story that explores the struggle for survival, a postwar tale that examines the hardships of victory, and a manifestation of bravery, The White Lady represents absorbing fiction delivered with brio and authority.” — Freelance-Star/ Fredericksburg, VA
"Yet another extraordinary heroine from the creator of Maisie Dobbs . . . . heart-stopping." — My Edmonds News
"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
"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." — New Books Network
"Jacqueline Winspear's The White Lady spans two wars. Despite the epic scope, the book has the feel of an intimate character study . . . . [Elinor] is another indelible character from Jacqueline Winspear's talented pen." — Deadly Pleasures Mystery Magazine
"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. The heist investigation, while absorbing, is almost a MacGuffin for the deeper mystery: what past tragedy made Elinor who she is, and will she be able to overcome it? Altogether, it makes for a gripping historical novel." — Reviewing the Evidence
"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
“Winspear creates another fascinating and fully realized character in Elinor White, and it will be interesting to see if we get more of Elinor in the future.” — Auburn Citizen
“The White Lady is a phenomenal read. You are prisoner from the opening paragraph until the suspenseful conclusion!” — Oh Murder!
"With the Maisie Dobbs series, Winspear has demonstrated her talents for bringing alive life in Britain and Europe during both world wars. The White Lady alternates between those two wars and life in post-war Britain . . . . Has Elinor had enough of war? Will she return? We hope so." — Woman Around Town