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A Young Wife: A Novel Hardcover – June 14, 2011

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Editorial Reviews


"...the unexpected twists in Minke's story and her feisty appeal will keep readers eager to turn the page." - Publishers Weekly

"In this compelling read, Lewis beautifully captures the essence of a place, from the lushness of the Netherlands to the wilds of Argentina to the inhospitable urban streets of New York." - Booklist

"...a stirring journey...its images are undeniably alluring." - BookPage

"Carrington MacDuffie reads with emotion and clarity, bringing Minke's spirit and innocence and growing independence and toughness to life." -

--This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

About the Author

Pam Lewis lives in rural Connecticut with her husband, Rob Funk. Since 1991, she has worked as a freelance writer of business and marketing communications. She is the author of the novels Perfect Family and Speak Softly, She Can Hear and her short fiction has appeared in The New Yorker and various literary magazines.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster; First Edition edition (June 14, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1451612729
  • ISBN-13: 978-1451612721
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,630,859 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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More About the Author

Pam Lewis was born in Burbank, California to a pair of highly ambitious parents who moved the family every few years as her father sought greater responsibilities in the then-bourgeoning aviation industry. The family finally settled in New York City for long enough for her to attend high school. She was a shy, observant girl, a little too tall too soon and only excelled at school when she finally set her sights on Stanford University and squeaked in on so-so grades. She married immediately after college and set about raising two magnificent children, Lukas and Joshua Casey who are now well into their adulthoods.
She worked at a motley assortment of jobs including Welcome Wagon lady, treasurer to a small corporation, reporter and swim instructor. When more serious money was required she wrote marketing copy for insurance companies in which the objective was to make the reader see his or her diminishing health and retirement benefits as a welcome change. During this time she wrote fiction furiously every morning, more as pleasure and a touch of therapy than with an eye to publication, which, at that point in her life, seemed unlikely. On the cusp of her 59th year, her first book was taken by Simon and Schuster, then a second and now, with the upcoming publication of A Young Wife, a third.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Angelscryhavoc on June 13, 2011
Format: Hardcover
A Young wife, was a splendid read. I found myself captivated and pulled into the authors account of her grandmothers troubling journey through growing up and the theft in so many ways of her innocents. The story unfolds in the beginning of a young girl cousin to Sanders wife asked to come live with them to take care of said wife as she lays dying. Upon the woman's death Minke, the young wife in said book is thrown into a whirlwind of life.

Marrying, living, loving and finally being betrayed by family and people she loved with all her heart she has her first born child stolen and kept hidden from her. I found myself rooting for the girl as she finally grew a backbone and took care of herself. Found her stolen son and pulled her life together. Going back to the place her one life in Comodoro.

It's a book that will make you laugh, cry , and cheer as this young woman braves her world and comes into her own. Standing up for the justice she deserves and sees the evil of man only to steal back her happiness and life before it's to late.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Julie A. Smith on September 6, 2011
Format: Hardcover
The inspiration for this story was the author's own grandmother, who was "hired at fifteen to tend a dying relative in the home of my then thirty-five-year old grandfather, that he took her to South America to start a store there, that their union was a scandal in the tiny town where she lived, that he ultimately abandoned her with four young daughters ...."

In this novel Sander DeVries pays a visit to the home of Minke van Aisma in the Netherlands. It is 1912, and Sander's wife Elizabeth is very ill. Minke's parents know that he needs a nurse for his wife, and their belief is that Fenna, Minke's 16-year-old sister, will be the daughter that goes with him to Amsterdam. Minke, however, is caught out as she tries to listen in on the conversation, and Sander decides to take her instead, leaving Fenna resentful as always.

Minke quickly grows fond of Elizabeth, however, when Elizabeth suddenly dies, Minke is made to suddenly leave, returning to her parents' home with more questions than answers. When Sander asks her parents to marry her, Minke is not certain what to think, but in the end, she agrees and the couple travel to Comodoro Rivadavia in Argentina with Sander's friend Dr. Cassian Tredegar.

In this far-flung new country, populated by gauchos that don't quite meet up with Minke's romantic ideals, Minke gives birth to a son named Zef, who is kidnapped while they are playing together. When Sander's business interests collapse, she must journey to America, leaving behind her hope of gaining Zef back.

This is a story of love, betrayal, lies, and the ultimate deceit. I felt for Minke, a young, gullible girl taken in by an older man.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Novel Chatter on June 19, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Author Pam Lewis tells a hypnotic tale of love, intrigue, foreign adventure and personal growth. In 1912 fifteen year old Minke is chosen (over her older sister Fenna) by Mr. Sander DeVries to accompany the much older and dashing man to Amsterdam, where Minke is to to care for De Vries' dying wife, Elizabeth. Minke's FIFTEEN! I kept reminding myself that if she were alive today she'd be a sophomore in high school. Elizabeth soon dies and within hours Sander weds the young, naive and sheltered Minke so they can board the ship that will carry them to the new and developing Argentine oil fields where they will open a store.

We quickly learn that people and situations are not always what they seem and that the trusting Minke has fallen wildly, crazy in love with Sander. Again, I kept having to remind myself that Minke is only fifteen when I am frustrated by her easy trust in people. She's soon pregnant and her dashing husband isn't quite so dashing anymore.

In A Young Wife, Lewis writes a story that is loosely based on the events of her maternal grandmother's life. I couldn't help but wonder what events and happenings were true and which were developed for this story in which the young Minke sees her first child abducted, she sees the aftermath of betrayal by people she cares for, and she sees the damage that happens when lies and money become more important than the soul and human relationships.

Lewis writes Minke's responses to the events of her life as a young girl would react! Lewis chronicles the development and growth of Minke's own survival skills and maternal instincts. One thing that does not betray her is the Comodoro Rivadavia area of the Argentine. Minke loves its people and its land. Somewhat like Scarlet O'Hara, Minke belongs to the Argentine land.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Harriet Klausner #1 HALL OF FAME on June 13, 2011
Format: Hardcover
In 1912 wealthy businessman Sander DeVries arrives in Enkhuzen, Netherlands and hires the younger of two sisters, fifteen years old Minke van Aisma over the angry objection of her sibling Fenna, to nurse his wife Elisabeth as she is dying. Sander selected her because he believed she had the quiet toughness Elisabeth will need. He escorts Minke to Amsterdam.

A few hours after Elisabeth dies, Sander stuns Minke by proposing; he wants her to become his spouse and live with him in oil city Comodoro Rivadavia, Argentina. Although frightened, she accepts. They travel across the Atlantic as Minke grows mentally stronger and becomes buddies with her husband's friend Cassian and Pieps a ship steerage boy. In Comodoro Rivadavia, Minke gives birth to a son Zef. However, her idyllic life is dangerous as her son is abducted while she carries her second offspring. Zef forces them to flee to New York, leaving behind her kidnapped child. He underestimates the will of a mother when it comes to her cub.

Based on the life of Pam Lewis' grandmother, A Young Wife is a superb early twentieth century thriller. Minke holds the story line together with her courage and caring. She and readers will be stunned once the truth is known as this vivid historical tale is a winning look at three continents in the first two decades of the previous century.

Harriet Klausner
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