Monday, November 28, 2011

The Soldier's Wife by Margaret Leroy

The tiny island of Guernsey, off the coast of France but part of the UK, was occupied by German forces during WWII. Island residents who hadn't fled lived under Nazi rule for five years.

In this book, a young wife lives out the occupation while caring for two daughters and her elderly mother-in-law while her husband serves overseas. A group of German soldiers take up residence in the vacant house next door to Vivienne - just across the hedgerow and definitely within earshot. How the two groups interact and relate throughout the war becomes our story.

A couple of years ago, "The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society" by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows was on the best-seller list and covered a similar subject matter. Honestly, I also thought it covered the topic better. "The Soldier's Wife" takes a more melodramatic tone and a certain Harlequin-romance element sneaks around the edges of the storyline.

But while I saw the ending coming from a bomber's distance away, there were enough interesting twists to keep me reading. I find the idea of living in wartime a great dramatic foil and an interesting subject - I just wish this hadn't been quite so close to the previous book.

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