Saturday, January 19, 2013

The Soldier's Wife

I'm a sucker for novels that are set during World War II. Strange, but true. So, it was natural for me to gravitate to The Soldier's Wife by Margaret Leroy. This book revolves around Vivienne de la Mare, a young mother caring for her daughters and ill mother-in-law while her husband is away at war. The small island that they live on, Guernsey, is taken by the Germans and they must learn to live beside them and follow the rules set for them by the occupation forces. Slowly, Vivienne develops a friendship with a German soldier,Gunther, which soon develops into a love affair, which will have consequences for everyone.

This insomniac's opinion:

This book was so beautifully written. It was written in a very lush and sensual way. The description of life on the island, even after the occupation, was slow and languid, much like a lazy summer's day. I was immediately sucked into the story and the story stayed compelling to the very end. The only thing about the book that I did not like was that the main character, Vivienne, was very rash and constantly making stupid decisions. It seemed that I was constantly cursing her decisions in this novel. Of course, without Vivienne's lousy decisions there would not have been much drama in the book, so this was easily forgiven.

I know that many of my bookworm friends, particularly married women, refuse to read books that involve infidelity. If this is you, this would definitely not be the book for you. This sentiment always surprises me, as infidelity certainly happens often in everyday life and I don't feel that by reading a book about infidelity, that I am supporting it in any way. With this said, I did feel that the author made this infidelity okay for the character by telling us about her husband's infidelity and about the Gunther's sad relationship with his wife. This seems to be a common theme in books written about cheating spouses and it always causes me to frown a bit. If one chooses to cheat, it is unfair to lay the blame on the other spouse. The illicit relationship is, indeed, the center of this passionate novel and I did find myself rooting for them to find a way to be together.

Worth staying awake to read?

Yes! I truly enjoyed Margaret Leroy's writing style and this book felt much like a warm summer's breeze during this cold Iowa winter.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

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