The Soldier’s Wife, by Margaret Leroy

I can’t remember how I heard about this book, but I’m certainly glad I discovered it!  Unfortunately I had to check it out twice from our local library before I finished it.  So I read it in a bit of a “broken up” way, but it was still an excellent read!   Set before and during WWII on the German occupied English island of Guernsey, it’s about a woman who lives with her two daughters and elderly mother in law.  First off I wasn’t thrilled with the title of this book.  The “soldier” in the title is obviously the woman’s husband who plays literally no role whatsoever in this novel.  Vivienne is so much more than that “soldier’s wife”.  I’m thinking a different title would have  been so much more apropos.  That aside, this was truly an engrossing book and beautifully written.  Vivienne doesn’t miss her soldier husband who is off fighting for the Brits somewhere.  Theirs was a loveless marriage.  Then the Germans take over a large home next to hers and Vivienne begins a stealth relationship/love affair with one of the German Captains.   It’s much, much more than a love story – you know by now that if that’s all it was, there is no way I would be able to give it a great review.  The author does not sugarcoat life under the German occupation.  You get a fairly good taste of what everyday life may have been like in those times.

If you enjoy books set during WWII, you will certainly enjoy this one as well!  I have had friends at work tell me that I’d love the “Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society” – which is also set in the same place as The Soldier’s Wife, and during the same time.  Honestly I really did TRY to like that book.  I guess I couldn’t get past the way in which it was written – in the form of letters – and gave up on it after 30 pages or so.  After reading this one and enjoying it so much, I thought maybe I’d give the other one more try.  Then I changed my mind.  Too many good books, too little time!

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