Monday, June 27, 2011

Review: The Solider's Wife by Margaret Leroy

The Soldier's Wife

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.
- Summary from Goodreads

I couldn't put this book down. I would pick it up and thinking I would just read a couple of chapters and then go back to chores or whatever other task needed to be done. After what felt like a mere 10-15 minutes I would look up and see that an hour or two had gone by and I'd devoured half the book. Luckily for me, the book is composed of 7 small parts because it was only when I reached that page signaling the beginning of a new part that I was OK with putting the book down.I was so drawn into the story that when I wasn't reading, I found myself thinking about the book and when I could go back and sit down with it.

The story is about a mother, Vivienne, who is left with her daughters and  a sick mother-in-law on the island of Guernsey while her husband is fighting the Germans in WWII. After the island is occupied by German forces, Vivienne finds herself inexplicably drawn to an officer who takes up residence next door. As their affair progresses, Vivienne is faced with the harsh realities of war and the moral dilemma that stems from literally sleeping with the enemy.

I found Vivienne incredibly easy to relate to. She's just the average woman and mother trying to get by,who wants to keep her head down and stay out of trouble for the sake of her children. I get that. Like Vivienne, I'm not a big fan of drama and I try to just stay out of it the best I can. So, I completely understood her thought process. I found it very similar to what I imagine my own would be if I was faced with similar circumstances.

The language of the story was beautiful and the description of the small island made me want to plan a vacation there. It sounded beautiful and I was upset along with Vivienne when the beauty of the island becomes marred by the war.

I would highly recommend this book to anyone looking to get swept up in a great story. It's one I'm likely to pick up and re-read in the future.

*Disclaimer- I was given a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.


Alexis @ Reflections of a Bookaholic said...

I really really want to read this. Thanks for the introduction.

Brasil said...

The Soldier's Wife is the best novel I have read in years. Although Vivienne did some things that weren't morally right, she was a kind and caring person. She was a survivor. She took care of the home and provided for her children and mother-in-law while her husband was away at war. Her husband had a lover before he left for war, but Vivienne never even hinted at that to the children or her mother-in-law. The author did such an excellent job in describing the island and the people, I feel like I've actually been there. The ending was a complete surprise. What a wonderful read.

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