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The Diplomat's Wife (The Kommandant's Girl) Paperback – April 22, 2008
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From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Jenoff's stirring sequel to her debut, The Kommandant's Girl, chronicles the perilous post-WWII adventures of Marta Nederman, a member of the Polish resistance and best friend of the earlier book's heroine. When the Allies liberate Dachau, where Marta has been imprisoned and tortured by the Gestapo, Paul Mattison, a handsome American soldier, tenderly gives the weakened Marta a drink of water. Later, at a refugee camp outside Salzburg, Austria, Marta befriends Rose, another recovering survivor. After Rose's sudden death, Marta is able to use Rose's visa to travel to London. When en route Marta runs into Paul in Paris, the passion between the pair ignites. They promise to meet in two weeks, but tragedy ensues when Paul's plane crashes in the English Channel. Pregnant with Paul's baby, Marta marries Simon Gold, a British diplomat. Two years later, Marta goes on a dangerous mission to Poland, where a Communist takeover is imminent and where the seesaw plot takes more than one surprise twist. Historical romance fans will be well rewarded. (May)
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After working in the Jewish resistance in Kraków, Poland, Marta Nedermann is rescued from a Nazi prison by American soldiers. A simple gesture of human comfort by a soldier named Paul is etched in her mind, and when she sees him again in a camp for displaced persons in Salzburg, Marta is overjoyed. They meet again in Paris and become engaged, only to have Paul die in a plane crash. Marta is now scared, pregnant, and alone in a strange city. Simon Gold, an English diplomat, needs her language skills, and he wants her as well. They marry, and two years later, the English government taps Marta for help in finding a traitor in the British intelligence corps, sending her on an undercover mission that entails revisiting her past. Jenoff gives readers a thrilling and intense look at the beginning of the cold war as well as a heartrending love story about two very brave people as she continues the story of the heroic resistance members from The Kommandant’s Girl (2007). --Patty Engelmann
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Top Customer Reviews
Now comes the part where Jenoff must have let someone else write for her. She had to! All of a sudden our heroine is weak minded and cowardly, making poor decisions and becoming a robot who can't make up her own mind about anything. What happened to our Marta?
Then the author wakes up from her nap and brings back the first Marta - thank God. Because I was about to quit reading the rest of it. Talk about a scathing review on its way! SPOILER ALERT - skip this sentence.....though bringing Paul back from the dead was a bit over the top....it did make my heart flutter a bit after the dead space in the middle. The rest of the book becomes an espionage thriller full of Russian spies (one of which is a shocker) and escapes that you simply can't put down.
So, like I said - if there was a way to forget the middle part, I'd of given this book a 5 star, but alas it must settle for a 3. A good read - you MUST read it. And, yes, I will probably read the Kommandants Girl to see if Jenoff did, indeed, write a full novel before this fiasco.
As in Jenoff's first book as well as this one, the horrors and suffering that people went through is made very clear. The awful conditions in the ghettos and the terror of being rounded up and sent off to a death camp for no reason other than being Jewish is told and also shows the strength that these people had under the worst possible conditions. Jenoff definitely did her research.
Marta makes her way to England and eventually marries Simon Gold who works in the Foreign Office in London. The two meet on the ship to England, and Simon thinks she would be perfect for the job in the Foreign Office that is open and needs to be filled. Marta and Simon soon have a little daughter, Rachel.
There is a Communist spy at work in London in British intelligence, and part of Marta's past comes back to her through a connection to the spy, and the only way the Communist spy can be identified is through someone who Marta knew in her Resistance days.
I read "The Diplomat's Wife" in a few days and enjoyed it, but not as much as I enjoyed "The Kommandant's Girl." As several other reviewers have written, many parts of the book were very predictable, which took away from the excitement of the story. One twist at the end surprised me, but despite it all, I still enjoyed the book and have the next one that Pam Jenoff has written. I really enjoy books, either fiction or non-fiction, that take place around or during the time of WWII, so this book still interested me historically.
If you plan to read this book, it is much better to read the first book, "The Kommandant's Girl" first, so that you can meet the characters who appear again in "The Diplomat's Wife." The second book picks up where the first one left off, so without the history behind the first one, it will be confusing and a lot of the meaning will be lost.
Unfortunately, the title of the book gives away a major portion of the plot about one third of the way through the book and ruined much of the story for me. The next to last scenes were predictable except for one aspect. The ending was too much of a pat, happily ever after ending after all of the turmoil.
The heroine had an unrealistic recovery mentally and emotionally from the horrors she lived through during and after the war, so did Paul, but especially her.
The Diplomat's Wife had several twists and turns, some more believable than others. Having said that, being an American in 2017 has taught me that truth really is stranger than fiction, so anything is possible.
I really enjoyed this book. Pam Jenoff scratches my WWII literary itch.