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The Soldier's Wife Paperback – Bargain Price, June 28, 2011
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I read the plot and thought it sounded amazing. I love a good WWII love story. Yet, it is the love story that I had some trouble with. Even though I felt that the author's main storyline revolved around Gunther and Vivienne, their scenes together were so short and detail-lacking. This kept me emotionally distant from the characters, and I never really bought their romance or felt any depth between them. There were more details about Vivienne's garden or her friendship with her best friend than about interactions with Gunther.
Many of the author's passages were very beautiful and haunting. However, I've always thought that the best books are those that make you feel as if you are living inside the story as it unfolds. The Soldier's Wife felt a bit like being told a story from a person who had heard it from another person who had actually lived it. Somewhere along the way the details become lost. It is a good storyline that could have been even better with more developed characters and more attention to detail in the right places.
I would suggest reading this book for the historical value it offers and the moral questions it raises, not the romance. If you are looking for a great love story set against the backdrop of WWII, I would highly recommend reading The Bronze Horseman by Paullina Simons. It is unmatched (in my humble opinion).
While this story does have a few scenes of brutality they are, for the most part, committed against the young slave laborers who have been brought to the island and not the islanders themselves. These islanders, while suffering some losses never really seem to be desperate for food. Granted they must give up their beautiful gardens and plant vegetables instead, but that hardly seems like a great sacrifice considering the situation.
The primary story being presented in THE SOLDIER'S WIFE is a tale of forbidden love set during the occupation. The Germans that our protagonist, an unhappily married woman named Vivienne de la Mare, comes in contact with are occupying the house next door to hers and are basically good hearted and lonely men who are "just doing a job". When Vivienne meets Gunther and makes the decision to follow her heart she doesn't experience much trepidation about the road on which she is about to embark. The affair itself has components that make it difficult to believe for a number of reasons. First, are we to believe that on this small island where Vivienne was observed by a neighbor riding in a car with Gunther, there was no gossip about her and she was not considered a collaborator?Read more ›
This book might be simple in its premise--forbidden love between two people whose countries are at war--but it encompasses so much more than that. Vivienne is charged with not only providing for her family but also taking risks for others throughout her island community. With her own marriage loveless, Vivienne finds solace lying in Gunther's arms late at night, but she knows how much she is risking should a discovery be made of their illicit affair. Is the love contained in one small bedroom worth the risk of an entire way of life? Can Vivienne justify the possibility of being taken from the family that so desperately needs her? The emotions are raw and the images evoked are heart wrenching.
The essence of The Soldier's Wife is quite different than the other famous book set on Guernsey, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. The Soldier's Wife highlights the deprivations of both war and marriage, with no light activity to make life bearable. And while I loved TGLAPPPS, The Soldier's Wife is a deeper, more complex look at an island--both the geographical and the emotional sort. Highly recommended for the rich writing and the beauty of feeling.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Characters really made you think about our enemies and how we judge others.Published 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
I am an avid reader of World War II historical fiction, and I loved this book! It gave me a new perspective on a place in the war that I hadn't
thought about before. Read more
I would read it again. I enjoyed the story line and the unexpected twists.Published 4 months ago by Donna bakker