Norain's Reviews > The Soldier's Wife

The Soldier's Wife by Margaret Leroy
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's review
Apr 05, 12

bookshelves: e-book
Read from April 02 to 05, 2012

I was annoyed when I first started:

1) The writing style was a murder. It was boring and went on and on and on, like this: When I first came here, he took me on a tour of the island, and we stopped on the north coast and watched the sun go down over L'Ancresse Bay -- all color suddenly gone from the sky, the rocks black, the sea white and crimped and glimmering, the fishing boats... So many commas, so many hyphenations, do I have to go through this for the next 350++ pages? I wondered.

2) This was a historical romance and I disliked romance. No, I am okay with a bit of romance in a story - it spiced up the story and I am so very fine with that. But I hate romance as in miles and miles of paragraphs describing the heroine's infatuation, obsession and amazement for the hero.

3) Vivienne, our main character and narrator. She was fine as a mother but referring to no. (2) she was so attracted to Gunther the mysterious (yeah, right) handsome (yeah, right) German soldier who lived at Les Vinaires, the house next to Le Columbier (Vivienne's house). Thus she ranted on and on about her husband, how they were not match made in heaven, how they did not actually love each other, how they no longer could find satisfaction in each other, how he had this other woman before he left to fight the war. And between her and Gunther, there was this I-want-him-I-love-him-but-he-is-an-enemy-what-will-other-people-say-if-I-am-with-him. For half of the book.

I struggled halfway through the book, could not wait for it to end and even considered abandoning it.

But then suddenly TADAAA... Vivienne actually redeemed herself! I could not believe my eyes but she really did it. It was all thanks to the coming of the prisoners who were supposed to fortify the island. The prisoners were badly tortured and left to starve by the Germans and the humane side of Vivienne began to wonder if she was doing the right thing, harboring her love for Gunther when such cruelty happened around her.

And among the prisoners was Kirill, a young man not much older than Vivienne's elder daughter Blanche, who was secretly fed by her five-year old Millie. In fear for her daughter's safety, Vivienne took to giving food to Kirill herself and later decided to help him escape his hell of a camp. From here on it was a very emotional ride. Vivienne's maternal nature was no longer clouded and her secret relationship with Gunther was not so annoyingly despicable anymore. I actually felt her lost for Gunther when he was deported to the eastern front in Russia and was killed there.

So, all in all, I actually ended up loving 'The Soldier's Wife'. This was such an ugly duckling story, starting with all its beauty hidden in ruffles of gray down, but when it started spreading its wings, I was just swept away. This was among the few romances I actually loved, and yes, now I think the writing style is beautiful. Cheerio!

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Reading Progress

04/02/2012 "My mistake. I dislike romance and I read this without checking its genre. Thus the beginning of my suffering."
04/03/2012 "Pathetic. This woman is so painfully pathetic."
54.0% "It is quite nice actually. Especially when Gunther is not around."

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