Author: Margaret Leroy
Published: Voice; June 2011
Genre: Historical fiction
Synopsis: 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.
My Take: A note to all future brides out there: do not, I repeat do not, read a book that involves Nazi's living next door to the leading lady the week before your wedding. This will lead to stress dreams and unnecessary nightmares which you will already be having anyway! I do believe that your feelings towards a book have to do with when and where you read them and I honestly believe I would have liked this book better had I not read this book the week before my wedding. Totally stupid timing on my part. An otherwise harmless book that totally freaked me out!
Ok, to the review! The Soldier's Wife, as you might be able to tell from the title, is about the wife of a soldier. One Vivienne (love that name!) who lives on Guernsey (must visit this island some day. Totally fascinated by this place!) whose husband is off fighting in WWII. She has two young daughters and as the war starts out must make the choice of whether to stay on the island which they all know will become occupied by the Germans or to flea to London which everyone on the island thinks is the safer choice (but those of us reading the novel are thinking, don't go, you will be blitzed!). Vivienne decided to stay on the island she loves so much. It is her and her children's home after all.
So naturally, the German's show up and occupy the island. Now, a few German's move in next door and they start to watch everyone's every move. For the most part the island is relatively peaceful, although as time marches on, food becomes scarcer and scarcer and there are less and less items being shipped to the island. Also, locals begin to notice some strange new, and sad, inhabitants on the island. Yes, that's right, apparently there was a concentration camp on the island (hello nightmares!).
However, Vivienne, finds the Germans living next door to her, well one in particular anyway, nice. And she is having a hard time dealing with her emotions. See, she is in a rather loveless marriage and this new German is stirring up some rather new feelings in her. However, should she put her life and her children's lives in danger just to see where this path takes her?
This novel would be great for a bookclub because it deals with a lot of real life issues that I think might really come up in war so it would be interesting to see what others would have done if put in Vivienne's shoes.
Cover Lust: I absolutely adore this cover!