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The Soldier's Wife Paperback – Bargain Price, June 28, 2011

4.5 out of 5 stars 290 customer reviews

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Paperback, Bargain Price, June 28, 2011
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Editorial Reviews


"With its stunning and evocative description of the Guernsey landscape, its subtle and astute depiction of a woman's relationship with her children, her lover, and her husband, this absorbing novel is utterly beguiling." (Rosamund Lupton, author of Sister)

About the Author

Margaret Leroy studied music at Oxford and has been a music therapist, play leader, shop assistant, and social worker. For fifteen years she has worked as a social worker and counselor, specializing in marital therapy and child protection. Her books have been published in nine languages, and her first novel, Trust, has been translated into five languages and was broadcast in February 2003 as a Granada TV drama.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Hyperion (June 28, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1401341705
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 1 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (290 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,082,225 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By snowchic VINE VOICE on April 26, 2011
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
3.75 Stars. Vivienne de la Mare lives in an old farmhouse with her two daughters on Guernsey in the Channel Islands during WWII. Her husband is away fighting in the English army, and it quickly becomes apparent to the reader that Vivienne's marriage is a loveless and unhappy one. The island suddenly becomes occupied by German troops, some moving in in the house beside her own. Even though Vivienne tries hard to remain aloof for the sake of loyalty (to her country and husband), she eventually enters into an affair with a German soldier, Gunther.

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).
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Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
World War II stories seem to be the hot topic for novels this year. THE SOLDIER'S WIFE is a story of one woman and her family as they experience the German occupation of the island of Guernsey. This is not the story of deprivation and suffering that was presented to us in THE GUERNSEY LITERARY AND POTATO PEEL SOCIETY in which the German occupation forces confiscated entire crops year after year leaving the islanders to starve. In SOLDIER'S WIFE one never really gets the feeling that the islanders are truly suffering.

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?
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Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Vivienne de la Mare lives a quiet existence with her two daughters and mother-in-law on Guernsey Island; her husband Eugene is away fighting in World War 2, though their relationship was anything but close even before he left. Vivienne's life takes what will become a metamorphosis when she makes the decision to stay on the island despite the threat of German occupation; it soon becomes her duty to provide for her family and stay out of the way of the Germans living next door once the Occupation begins. What she cannot deny, however, is the unsettling fact that the Germans might be much like herself, feeling many of the same forbidden emotions; most of all, she cannot deny her deep attraction for artistic Gunther, who touches her more profoundly than Eugene ever has.

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.
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