Browsing the shelves of the library recently, my eyes were drawn for some inexplicable reason to the spine of The Soldier’s Wife by Margaret Leroy. On reading the publisher’s synopsis, I knew I wanted to read this book.
Set in the Channel Islands, specifically on Guernsey, The Soldier’s Wife tells the story of Vivienne de la Mare and the sacrifices she must make as World War II comes to the shores of Guernsey.
Living with her two daughters and her mother-in-law, Vivienne finds her household no different from many others on the island. Her husband, Eugene, has left home to fight in the war. Yet life seems not too much different without him. Vivienne and Eugene may have slept in the same bed, but the distance between them when he left had grown to immense proportions.
Soon the Germans bomb and then occupy Guernsey and the other islands, building work camps for prisoners of war. The house next to Vivienne’s is taken as a residence for several German soldiers, one of whom is quite intriguing and tall, with a rather long, pink scar on his face.
Vivienne is soon faced with negotiating her way through a life of new rules, new faces, and a risky but new and rich love in her life.
Margaret Leroy has written a rich and evocative work in which her characters waltz between mystery and romance, days of domesticity and military life, amidst the horrors of war.
Vivienne is a quiet, unassuming woman but one who depicts bravery, courage, compassion, and resilience of the kind only found in the midst of the face of love — love for her children, her mother-in-law, her island and home, and even the German soldier.
RECOMMENDATION: Lovers of historical fiction, World War II history, the Channel Islands and their role in WWII
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New York: Hyperion/Voice, c2011
404 p. | map
Includes discussion questions