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The Soldier's Wife

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3.86 of 5 stars 3.86  ·  rating details  ·  8,897 ratings  ·  1,182 reviews
Vivienne de la Mare lives at Le Colombier, an old farmhouse in a secluded valley on Guernsey in the Channel Islands, with her two daughters and her acerbic mother-in-law who suffers from dementia. Vivienne's husband is away in the army, and the marriage is an unhappy one, regardless. And then the Germans arrive. Vivienne does what she can to “keep up the side.” She rations ...more
Hardcover, 404 pages
Published (first published January 1st 2011)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Toni
Loved it! Something about books with an island setting always draw me in. I've become greatly intrigued with The Channel Islands in particular ever since reading The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. This book only served to reinforce that fascination.

The Soldier's Wife had so much to say - about human dignity and perseverance and the make-do spirit and compassion (and yes, passion too). Sure, the inhabitants of Guernsey Island who survived the Nazi occupation between 1939 to 1945 p
...more
Felice
Ever read The Summer of My German Soldier by Bette Greene? It’s about a Jewish teenager named Patty whose town in Arkansas is to house a German prisoner of war camp. Despite the ill will and fears regarding the German nation, Patty befriends one of the young soldiers in the camp. Her friendship with him is an escape from her hard home life and from loneliness but when their relationship is discovered Patty has to choose between popular opinion, her family and this soldier who means so much to he ...more
Meg Ulmes
I loved "Potato Peel Society" when I read it a few years ago, so when I saw that this novel was set on Guernsey during WWII I had to read it--and I'm glad that I did. It is a richly written novel with a bit more serious narrative than "Potato." I did not want the book to end and it was worth every page. Well drawn characters, a believable plot and appealing setting description make this a memorable novel.
Emily Crowe
Margaret Leroy's The Soldier's Wife takes place during the Nazi occupation of the island of Guernsey during WWII, and its third person narrative follows Vivienne de la Mare, a woman who must daily walk the fine edge between patriotism and practicality. After her husband enlists, it falls to her to keep her daughters and her ailing mother-in-law safe in a world that has suddenly become alien to her. When German officers requisition the house next door and turn out to be rather neighborly, Vivienn ...more
Amanda
Rating: 3.5/5 stars
Recommended? Yes

Truthfully, I found it a bit difficult to get into the story in the beginning, but the prose is simple enough that I continued reading. This book was told in first person, but I honestly thought it could have been told in third person without detracting from the story. Many lines seemed like something you would read in a third person perspective novel, but then I'd see "I said" after a line of dialogue, reminding me that this book is indeed first person. Furthe
...more
Nancy
My take: I had no idea there were these little cow islands between the British Isles and the continent until I read The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society a few years ago. Now I just want to go visit them. But definitely not during a war. Even more definitely not during a time they are occupied by another country working on a little genocide. Just to summarize, there are a few little islands nobody really cared much about that happened to be strategically located between the European ...more
Emily Collins
Coming back into reality can be horribly startling at times. That's the best way to discern an excellent book from a simply okay book. It's the excellent books that make you forget where you are in time and space, entirely blocking out the clock, one could spend hours reading an excellent book and think it was only minutes. Perhaps, of course, in my particular office this may be a problem, but it's all worth it in the end.
I hadn't, in a very long while, read a book that made me forget myself, be
...more
Sarah
2.5 stars, but I rounded up because I feel nice today. Also as a sort of atonement for this bit that I just have to get off my chest:

PLEASE DO NOT EVER NAME YOUR ROMANTIC INTEREST GUNTHER. I am a child of the '90s and '00s, when I hear "Gunther," I think this: .
If you live under a rock and have never seen an episode of the hit sitcom "Friends," that is Gunther, the comically creepy coffee shop worker who is obsessed with Rachel. So yeah. Gunther was supposed to be this intense, attractive, mora
...more
Carol Brill
Beautiful writing. Loved the voice and the finely drawn characters in this story of love, unlikely friendships, and impossible choices
Angel Royal
Because this book was set on the island of Guernsey, I thought I would love it. But I didn't. Ethically, the plot made me angry--very "Bridges of Madison County"-ish. I gave it 3 stars because there was good character development--even though I. Didn't like the main character. It's books like these that make us want to justify affairs and blame them on circumstances. They make us want to believe that the end justifies the means. But, wasn't that the thinking that got Germany into the mess it was ...more
Barbara
I was glad I was on vacation when I started this book because I couldn't put it down. It is beautifully written. The descriptions of the sights and smells of the island make you want to visit, but it is easy to imagine what it is like. It also shows that not all German soldiers are monsters like are portrayed in most. WWII stories. Some are kind people who had normal lives and had no choise about serving. If you enjoyed Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, you'll love this book.
Alison
A quick read, and WWII novels always provide such potential for melodrama. After reading the Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society I enjoyed getting another Guernsey point of view. Vivienne and her daughters were loveable and I enjoyed the suspense of not knowing whether Gunther was good or bad.
Anna Adams
There are so many things that I loved about this book.

I am drawn to books in this time period. They have an Old World Charm about them and this one did not disappoint.

I loved the appreciation of food and Vivienne’s use of resources in order to feed her family. I thoroughly enjoyed the description of the meals created by Vivienne using her home-grown food or leftover scraps.

...“I make some soup from leeks and peas and boil a joint of ham. When the soup is thoroughly cooked, I will add some meat
...more
Elaine Dowling
This is very much the story of the narrator -- and I didn't like her. It was a slow read, and I almost put it down a couple of times. Some things were very well done, others not so much. The only reason I gave it three stars instead of two is that I think there are parts of the book that will stay with me. After a good night's sleep, it is back down to 2 stars. They can't get food on the island during the occupation (which is well documented), but cigarettes seemed plentiful with no explanation. ...more
Debra
Thank you Goodreads for letting me win this book!
I had never heard of Guernsey until I read The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society which is a book I love. Like the Potato Peel Pie Society The Soldier's Wife also takes place in Guernsey during the German Occupation in WWII. Vivienne, who is a resident of Guernsey and has a husband who is a soldier fighting for Britain is left to care for her 2 daughters and mother-in-law while he is away. When Germany occupies Guernsey German soldiers
...more
Mmars
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society opened my eyes to this Windward isle, but left me wanting more knowledge about Guernsey's role during World War II and what it's like today. Leroy deftly weaves that history into this story. She also presents a different social situation. Vivienne, the soldier's wife, is more affluent and not native to the island, but has lived there for about fifteen years when the story begins. She lives in a coastal center occupied by German soldiers. Her unfa ...more
Melanie Coombes
Wow, what an amazing book. I didn't want to put this one down. The writing is so descriptive and the wartime plot often made for a suspenseful read.

This beautiful and moving story tells the story of Vivienne de la Mare. She lives on the island of Guernsey during WWII. Her husband is off fighting in the war and she is left behind to care for her 2 daughters and her ailing mother-in-law. Next door a group of German soldiers have taken up residence as part of the German occupation of the island. V
...more
Lydia Laceby
Originally Reviewed at Novel Escapes

I picked up The Soldier’s Wife a few weeks ago after the cover drew me in and the story had me adding to my pile. Having loved The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, I had high hopes for this novel and wasn’t disappointed. The writing itself was stunning as was the depiction of Guernsey and the story stole a bit of my heart. The Soldier’s Wife will definitely sit on my shelf to be reread.

What stood out most for me was how astounded and left in awe
...more
Sara
3.75 Stars. Vivienne de la Mare lives in an old farmhouse with her two daughters on Guernsey in the Channel Islands during WWII. Her husband is away fighting in the English army, and it quickly becomes apparent to the reader that Vivienne's marriage is a loveless and unhappy one. The island suddenly becomes occupied by German troops, some moving in in the house beside her own. Even though Vivienne tries hard to remain aloof for the sake of loyalty (to her country and husband), she eventually ent ...more
Erika Robuck
Set on the English Channel Island of Guernsey during the Nazi occupation of WWII, The Soldier’s Wife is the story of Vivienne de la Mare, her affair with a German soldier, and her relationship with her family and neighbors. When we meet Vivienne she is caring for her mother-in-law and her two daughters while her husband is away fighting for the allied forces in London. From the onset, Vivienne is faced with agonizing decisions; the first of which is whether or not to get on the last boat to Lond ...more
Vanessa Fenn
A novel full of grand passion and intensity, The Soldier's Wife asks "What would you do for your family?" "What should you do for a stranger?" and "What would you do for love?"

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
...more
Jen
slow going so far. I want to like this.

Edited to Add....
I could not finish this book. The further into it I read, the more annoyed I became. I feel like I need to read the sparseness of Hemingway to cleanse myself. Way too many words used to tell this story.

The setting was lushly described. I was so intrigued, I looked up Guernsey on Google Earth. The author spends a lot of time and great detail on the food, flowers, and place.

However, too much is gauzy and ephemeral.

She barely develops char
...more
Barb
I was disappointed by this novel, the story had potential, the problem I had was with the way it was written. The author sets up a story with a variety of good juicy conflicts and then fails to explore the character's feelings about them. The characters were not well developed and I had a difficult time viewing the relationship between Vivien and Gunther as believable. I didn't feel the love between them, honestly I didn't feel the lust very much either. And the ending was just like the rest of ...more
Denise
I found this book powerful and somewhat dark. Vivienne is an unhappy wife living on the channel island of Guernsey when the British forces abandon them and the Nazi occupying force arrives. She is a dedicated mother, devoted to caring for her two daughters and her ailing mother-in-law who is increasingly confused. She feels isolated from her estranged husband who had carried on an affair for many years before he joined the British forces. She finds herself deeply attracted to a German officer wh ...more
Cheryl
It seems to me that conflicts reveal the most about who we are. Margaret Leroy's historical novel, THE SOLDIER'S WIFE presents a plethera of decisions, some life or death, allowing character development between the binding of the book and internally in each reader's imagination. What would you do? Vivienne's conflicts range from loyalty to her soldier husband to a forbidden love with the enemy who occupies her Island in 1940. What about risking her family to feed a starving stranger in the Germa ...more
Karen
In June 1940, the German army decided the island of Guernsey would be strategically important land to occupy for the war effort against England. This left Vivienne de la Mare with a significant decision to make. Should she stay on the island or flee to London’s supposed safety? Vivienne decides to stay on the island and protect her 2 daughters and mother-in-law from the war the best she can. Her husband was away fighting the war and Vivienne struggles to maintain a normal life and to shield her ...more
Jeannie Mancini
Margaret Leroy’s upcoming summer release of The Soldier’s Wife will surely be one to be read and discussed in many book club groups, as it is a story that offers a lot to contemplate.

Vivienne de la Mare, living on the island of Guernsey in the Channel Islands just off the coast of England, is a housewife raising two young daughters just after WWII breaks out and takes her husband away to war. Not thinking that their island will be affected, the islanders get a rude awakening one day as German p
...more
MyGoodBookshelf
(This review also appears on Amazon.co.uk)

I'm not going to summarise the plot of this novel as that has been done more than adequately many times already, but I have to say that whilst I found this book an interesting enough read, for me it just wasn't anywhere near as good as what I had been expecting. I perceived that this would be a book focusing on the impact the German occupation of Guernsey had on the islanders, intermingled with that of a romance between an islander and a German soldier;
...more
Kat (A Journey In Reading)
4.5 stars

Have you ever wondered how far you would go to protect the ones that you love? What if you fell in love with the enemy?

In this story, our main character Vivienne, her two girls and her ailing mother in law live on the island of Guernsey. Her husband has been called to serve in the war and she has to decide whether or not to leave the island she calls home. This decision comes because of the rumors that the Germans are to occupy their island.

Through the book we are shown the daily life o
...more
Michelle
What a lovely find. I used to travel to Guernsey for work and was totally enchanted by the island from the first time I landed on it. I had a chatty driver once who told me the history of the WWII occupation, pointing out historical landmarks along the way, including in charming St. Peter Port. So I am a sucker for any book set in this place at this time. The Soldier’s Wife is one of these books.

This reads slow in a way. The writing is straightforward, almost too simple at times (lots of people
...more
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501929
I grew up in the New Forest. As a child I wrote elaborate fantasy stories that I never showed to anyone. But around age 12 I stopped writing, and didn't start again till my mid-twenties.

(from the Biography page of her website)

I went to Oxford to study music, at St. Hilda's College. In my twenties I tried all sorts of things - music therapy, play-leading with children with disabilities, work in a
...more
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“But life doesn't wait - it trickles between your fingers, trickles away....” 7 likes
“I learned in that moment that there are different darknesses. That there is ordinary darkness, like the night in the countryside, where, even on a night with no moon, as you stare things loom, take form; and there is another darkness, a darkness so profound you cannot begin to imagine it, cannot conjure it up in your mind. A darkness that blots out all you remember or hope for. A darkness that teaches that all that consoles you is false.” 5 likes
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