Paperback, 416 pages
Published June 28th 2011 by Hyperion
(first published May 20th 2011)
A novel full of grand passion and intensity, The Soldier's Wife asks "What would you do for your family?" "What should you do for a stranger?" and "What would you do for love?"
As World War II draws closer and closer to Guernsey, Vivienne de la Mare knows that there will be sacrifices to be made. Not just for herself, but for her two young daughters and for her mother-in-law, for whom she cares while her husband is away fighting. What she does not expect is that she will fall in love with one of the enigmatic German soldiers who take up residence in the house next door to her home. As their relationship intensifies, so do the pressures on Vivienne. Food and resources grow scant, and the restrictions placed upon the residents of the island grow with each passing week. Though Vivienne knows the perils of her love affair with Gunther, she believes that she can keep their relationship and her family safe. But when she becomes aware of the full brutality of the Occupation, she must decide if she is willing to risk her personal happiness for the life of a stranger.
This book had me captivated from the beginning. It flowed easily and kept me coming back for more. I have been very interested in historical fiction lately specifically books relating to the war so the decision to pick this book up was an easy one. What I liked about The Soldier's Wife is that the story was told from an angle that was different then most I have read. The German soldiers take over the island of Guernsey and although Vivienne can still live in her own home with her two daughters and mother-in-law she as well as the rest of the island are forced to live by strict rules and regulations. Vivienne's own husband is away fighting in the war and she is taking care of the family on her own. To add to her stress, German soldiers take over the house next door. Then she has to deal with the moral dilemma of having feelings for another man who also happens to be a German soldier. The book takes you on an emotional roller coaster as Vivienne tries to cope with the changes in her life, her secret love affair and the things that she witnesses happening at the hands of the German Soldiers.
I do not want to say much more for fear of giving too much away. If you are looking for an easy read with a good story then I highly recommend picking this book up.
This review again comes with an apology as I read this book about a month and a half ago and have gone on to complete three other books before commenting on it so it may not be fresh in my head anymore.
I found this an easy read from the beginning. A story of wartime hardships and a story of forbidden love. Kristine described most of it above so I will focus on what the book made me think while reading it. The main plot of the novel was that the heroine was dealing with falling for a soldier that was part of the enemy and occupying her island. Although I went along for the ride and enjoyed how it played out, I couldn't help but think how would I react in that situation. Perhaps I may just be standing on my moral high horse however I do not think that could allow someone in my life that had taken so much from my country and its people. Even though every person is individual, and may have redeeming qualities, the whole foundation on which they entered in to my life could not be forgotten. Yes there could be gratitude for a kind deed or gesture however for that to develop in to a genuine love seems impossible to me. Perhaps I am too bull headed or stubborn. Perhaps that is why I enjoyed the book. Although I could not put myself in Vivienne's shoes, I could still feel her struggle with her emotions.
A solid 4 star.