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A Young Wife (Legend of St Dwynwen #1)

3.57  ·  Rating details ·  858 Ratings  ·  248 Reviews
Amsterdam, 1912.

When fifteen-year-old Minke Van Aisma travels to Amsterdam to care for the dying wife of a wealthy man, she has no idea what adventures await her. Within hours of his wife’s death, her employer proposes marriage, and within days the couple has set sail for the oil fields of Argentina. They settle in the rough coastal town of Comodoro Rivadavia, where Minke
Hardcover, 289 pages
Published June 14th 2011 by Simon & Schuster
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Rating details
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Jul 04, 2017 rated it liked it
3.5 stars, this was good! Pam Lewis is a good storyteller.
Jan 15, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this for Book of the Month Club as a pre-publication read and recommend it. It's due out in 7/11, so keep an eye out for it. I was unfamiliar with this author, but plan to read her previous books. This is the tale of a 14-year-old Dutch girl who is married off to an older man, whom her family declares is a "good catch." She has no idea what she is getting into. Although the coming of age story has been told many times, Ms. Lewis introduces us to Minke and the genre feels refreshed. She gr ...more
Tara Chevrestt
I think this story has a good plot and wraps up well in the end, but I didn't like any of the characters. They were a very hard group to like. Seems everyone except the heroine, Minke, is nasty and cruel.

In the beginning, Minke is a "nurse" for an invalid, skeleton like woman addicted to morphine. The rest of the household consists of Sander, a man old enough to be her father that seems to care not a whit about his dying wife, a daughter that steals her mother's drugs and wishes her dead, and a
Jul 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: on-my-shelves
I really enjoyed this loosely based, true story. I enjoyed reading about Argentina and what it was like coming to the USA thinking it was the land of opportunity for everyone. Well written, and it held your attention for all of what was happening within the story.
Jul 07, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads, own
I received an Advance Reader’s Edition of A Young Wife, by Pam Lewis, through a Goodreads giveaway. From the moment I began reading, I was completely engrossed. While mostly a serious read, it was also a quick read and very entertaining.

Minke van Aisma, 15 years old, is chosen by an older wealthy man to travel to Amsterdam to care for his dying wife. The day his wife dies, Sander DeVries proposed marriage to Minke within days they sail to Argentina. Minke doesn’t really know her husband’s busine
Jan 03, 2012 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 01, 2011 rated it really liked it
Absorbing - well written - a story spanning 3 continents.
When 15-year-old Minke first glimpses her future husband, she knows he is older, wealthy, and that it is her older sister, not Minke, who is expecting to be hired to nurse his dying wife. However, Mr. Sander DeVries is persuasive - Minke is the one he thinks is most suitable - and in spite of her objections she ends up in a household not in harmony: the daughter is jealous of Minke and does not get along with DeVries, the brother is earnes
Jun 01, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This is another book that I won through the FirstReads program and definitely a great read! In the Netherlands in 1912, at the age of 15, Minke is taken from her family to work as a nurse to a wealthy older man's dying wife. After she dies, he proposes to her and after Minke marries him, they sail to Argentina, where he's talked about the two of them starting up a new life in this soon-to-be prosperous place. It's a hard life there, and only a few years later, Minke finds herself following her h ...more
Patty Marion
Jun 01, 2011 rated it liked it
I received Pam Lewis’ novel, A Young Wife, as a First Read. Lewis writes so well and the story is engaging. I was a couple of steps ahead of the main character Minke van Aisma throughout the book –but then she was only 15 years old (and I am not). Minke, a compassionate and devoted caretaker for her employer’s dying wife, is horrified when he proposes marriage on the same day his wife dies, but she gets over it pretty quickly and is swept into what she believes will be a wonderful life with a we ...more
May 19, 2011 rated it really liked it
I have to admit, I first picked up this book MONTHS ago to read - but the narration was kind of stiff for me, and I put it down for another day. I picked it up recently, and forced myself to allow the narrative more time to develop, and you know what? I'm really glad I did that. Because once the story picked up - it completely whisked me away.

Minke is merely fifteen years old, and she goes to Amsterdam to take care of a sick woman, the spouse of a wealthy businessman. When the woman dies, much
Kristen Scheidel
Oct 19, 2011 rated it liked it
This book was...pleasant. It was an easy and quick read with a satisfying ending. The book opens with a young Dutch girl, Minke, being selected to go and care for a rich distant relative. She nurses her cousin but she ultimately dies under strange circumstances, and the poor womans husband proposes to Minke immediatly after. The tail follows her adventure after their marriage.

Lewis's writing keeps you reading, painting detailed but uncomplicated settings - allowing the reader to feel the mood of
Jun 07, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: free-won
I really loved the story. I would give it a five, but I didn't like the raunchiness of the sex talk. It's not much and there's no real sex scene apart from the first time, but Minke's mother talks to her about it and there is talk between Sander and Minke of the beginning of their marriage. I'm not against talking about sex. I just didn't like some of the words used. Call me prude, but I am what I am.

I feel so bad for Minke. She's surrounded by such awful people. I'm surprised her husband's uncl
Jun 03, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
Now, this is a book that really had just about everything that you could want in a novel: murder, adultery, drugs, gambling, three different continents, love, marriage – and yet it is based on a true story. I really hope that 90% of what unfolds in the book actually didn’t happen. If they did – the woman the main character is based on must have been one tough woman.

There are very few novels that make me want to call in sick to work in order to finish, and "A Young Wife" was one of them. I actua
Eric Wright
A Young Wife is a well written book that takes in into the early decade of the twentieth century in Holland, Argentina and New York. For that alone it is worth reading. The story follows a young woman, Minke, sent to Amsterdam to care for the dying wife of a relative. Upon her death the husband, Sander, proposes to her through her parents and within one day or two sails for a booming frontier town in the pampas of Argentina.

Why the sudden departure? What is Sander realling selling? How does opi
Carly Thompson
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 25, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads-won
Won from first reads. Enjoyed reading the book. It was a little slow in the middle due to not being able to connect with the characters. They did not seem as developed as the characters in the first part and the last part of the book. Minke van Aisma was able to grow as a character through her journey with marriage and loss. She discovers what real love is and the story takes place in three different countries.
Feb 16, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: l-fiction
A little slow in the beginning, perhaps of the historical theme. Had to complete to find out the ending. Although fiction, learned a little about immigrating into other countries.
Colleen Turner
May 23, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: first-read
I received this book as an advanced read from

Young Minke van Aisma is excited and intrigued when a strange man, apparently a distant cousin, comes to their small fishing village in The Netherlands see about Minke's sister, Fenna, going with him to Amsterdam to take care of his ailing wife. One look at Minke and Sander DeVries decides to take her instead. She instantly begins to care for Elizabeth DeVries and is enthralled by her stories of Argentina, of the gauchos and great light
Niko Ramsey
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Julie Smith (Knitting and Sundries)
This review first appeared on my blog:

The inspiration for this story was the author's own grandmother, who was "hired at fifteen to tend a dying relative in the home of my then thirty-five-year old grandfather, that he took her to South America to start a store there, that their union was a scandal in the tiny town where she lived, that he ultimately abandoned her with four young daughters ...."

In this novel Sander DeVries pays a visit to the home of Mink
Jun 12, 2011 rated it liked it
Recommended to Stephanie by: Goodreads
Shelves: first-reads
Just then came whooping sounds at a distance, and they rushed outside to see what was happening. They were met with an otherworldly sight that she would remember clearly for the rest of her life. A bright orange halo lay to the west with a more brilliant orange center. Fires. Five or six small ones and one very large – all sending out arcs and pinwheels of blazing sparks into the black sky. In all her life, she’s never seen so much fire or heard such sounds. She didn’t know if the sounds were an ...more
May 22, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I was so fortunate to be selected to receive this book through Goodreads First Reads program. I received the Advanced Reader's Edition of the book. The publication date of A Young Wife will be June 14.

Minke is just fifteen years old when she is hired to care for Elisabeth van Aisma, a wealthy woman who is dying. The arrangement is made between her parents, who live in a small town in the Netherlands, and Elisabeth's husband Sander. Once naive Minke meets Sander her life will never be the same.

Julia Reed
Jun 07, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I could not put this book down, the story was too intense! You'll want to keep going until the final page.

A Young Wife, loosely based (very loosely) on the life of the author's grandmother, is the story of Minke van Aisma, a young Dutch girl who in 1912 is sent by her parents to work in the household of a distant relation in Amsterdam. Her job is to nurse the master's wife, who is dying of some cancer-like illness, surrounded by her indifferent children and her seemingly loving, but mysterious
Jun 04, 2011 rated it it was amazing
A Young Wife is a fascinating read from the first page to the last. The story is based on the author's grandmother's life, starting in Holland in 1912, and what an interesting life it was. Minke is a 15 year old Dutch girl who was hired by her distant cousin to nurse his wife during her last days. When she comes to their great house in Amsterdam, she finds that she has a sympathetic connection to Elizabeth, the dying wife. The wife dies and immediately Sander, Elizabeth's husband, hurriedly asks ...more
I received this book through the Goodreads Giveaway and I'm glad I entered to win it because I honestly wouldn't have gone out of my way to find this book, which would have sucked since I loved it.

I don't want to give too much away, so here's a general overview: The book centers around Minke, a 15 girl from a poor family. She is quickly married off to a wealthy man and joins him on his journey to Argentina. There, she makes a few friends and becomes a mother. Soon after, she is forced to leave b
Paul Pessolano
Jun 05, 2011 rated it really liked it
“A Young Wife” by Pam Lewis, published by Simon and Schuster.

Category – Fiction/Literature

Pam Lewis has written two splendid mysteries, “Speak Softly, She Can Hear” and “Perfect Family”. For “A Young Wife” she has loosely based the story on the life of her maternal grandmother.

The story begins in the Netherlands, and a young girl, Minke van Aism, is chosen over her sister, Fenna, by Sander DeVries to be a nurse to his dying wife Elizabeth.

Minke becomes an integral part of the DeVries household a
Jun 01, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: first-reads
I received an advance reader's edition of "A Young Wife" by Pam Lewis for free through Goodreads First Reads.

It's the early 1900s and fifteen year old Minke van Aisma travels with the wealthy Sander DeVries to Amsterdam to care for his dying wife. Sander, considerably older than Minke, proposes to Minke within hours of his wife's death. The couple boards a ship sailing to Argentina to start a new, prosperous life. But what Minke faces is much heartache starting with the kidnapping of their beau
Jun 09, 2012 rated it liked it
I liked the book well enough, but it didn't quite live up to my expectations. The summary leads leads one to expect this great saga, and this story is not a saga. The main characters, yes, visit three different continents, but I wouldn't say that they are in each of the continents for any great period of time, and the stories told in each place are not complicated or developed enough to in any way suggest a "saga". In Amsterdam we're talking a number of weeks. In Argentina a year, and similarly ...more
I won an advanced reader's copy of this book from a Goodreads giveaway. I was intrigued with this story upon reading the synopsis of it here on Goodreads.
A Young Wife is the story of Minke who leaves her home to become the live-in caretaker of the terminally ill wife of the wealthy Sander De Vries. Upon the demise of his wife, Sander asks for Minke's hand in marriage and whisks her away to Argentina. As Minke settles into married life in a new country she begins to understand that her new husba
Jun 02, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: firstreads
Literary fiction isn't really my genre, so maybe I'm not the best person to review this. Still, it kept me fairly interested throughout, even if there was nothing about it I really loved. I didn't especially like the main character. I didn't dislike her, I felt bad for her and her situations, but there wasn't really anything about the character herself that made me like her. Cassian is a good example of a guy who's a nice guy, but not really a good guy. It was a little annoying that everyone tre ...more
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