Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Soldier's Wife” as Want to Read:
The Soldier's Wife
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Soldier's Wife

3.26  ·  Rating details ·  1,552 Ratings  ·  263 Reviews
After six months away in Afghanistan, the soldiers come home to their girlfriends, wives, parents, and children. After six months of hell, being home will surely be heaven. Except that it isn't. When Dan returns home to Alexa and their children, it's still the army that comes first.
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published February 2nd 2012 by Doubleday (first published 2012)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Soldier's Wife, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Lyn I think you are right. Seems families suffer too!
All of my male relatives, father, father-in-law and all of my many uncles went off to WW11. They…more
I think you are right. Seems families suffer too!
All of my male relatives, father, father-in-law and all of my many uncles went off to WW11. They came back changed. In Australia we seem to go to everybody's wars. My cousins and I talk about our fathers. They were half mad really, even the ones who seemed ok to me. A lot of drinking and risk taking. One uncle rejoined and went off to Korea. There was no counselling. They just went home and drove their wives crazy. Had more kids. Worked and drank. PTSD hadn't been invented then. Interesting how now there is medical talk of the blasts from explosives causing brain damage to service men and women. I saw this in an ABC TV program about a returned soldier (Afghanistan?) who couldn't get proper DVA help for mental problems and killed himself. It wasn't just "bad nerves" but brain damage. Makes sense. It was called "shell shock" in WW1.(less)

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
Sort: Default
Dec 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2012
I will start this review by saying I am a Navy wife so I understand the issues faced by Military families.

I found this book to be very true (from my own experiences.)
The homecoming after a deployment is always difficult, the excitement at seeing your loved one again is often plagued with doubts about what will they be like, have I changed, have they changed?

The kids adjust quickly to having their parent back but the adults often find it harder to adjust. The serving parent doesn't know how quick
Jul 12, 2012 rated it liked it
It is difficult to be the family member of someone in the military whether they are deployed or not. The military always seems to come first and non-military family doesn’t understand what their loved one is going through. My brother was in the Army and was deployed overseas two or three times. I know it was difficult for our parents and even more so for his wife. It was hard for him adjusting when he returned to the States and at times I did not recognize the man my brother had become. Many rel ...more
Joanne D'Arcy
Mar 07, 2012 rated it really liked it
Dan is husband to Alexa, father to twin girls, Flora and Tassy, stepfather to Isabel, son, grandson, son in law, friend and soldier. On return from a six month deployment in Afghanistan Dan cannot seem to find what he is anymore. Being a soldier is the easiest for him than returning to family life, the army life gives him more structure, purpose and plenty of knowns. Families bring plenty of unknowns and no orders on how to deal with them.

Alexa adores her husband and knew exactly what she was g
Sheena Wilkins
Jul 18, 2013 rated it did not like it
I have a thing about finishing every book I start, otherwise I would have closed this and sent it to the charity shop.
I have read a couple of her books and quite enjoyed them but I was totally BORED by the storyline which I found extremely laboured and I did not warm to one single character. Not one. I get the message - my bother in law was an officer in the Royal Navy for over twenty five years, served in Korea and the Falklands and the family moved around 16 times. My niece eventually boarded
Steve lovell
Mar 02, 2012 rated it really liked it
A writer such as Trollope can take a reader and place her (more likely)/him (considerably less likely) into a groove from page one and transport seamlessly through a three hundred or so pages to, invariably, a neat, satisfying resolution. When on song, as she is in this novel, the reader will lose all track of time as this skilled practitioner inveigles the reader to care about her protagonists to the degree that there is always an unsatisfactory sigh emanating as the book is placed to one side ...more
Sep 07, 2013 rated it liked it
Ah, finally! I think 3 stars are fairly enough.

I like The Soldier's Wife for many reasons:
-It employs creativity.
-It sends you into the world of soldiers and the army. You get to know many stuff you thought were totally the opposite.
-The main theme is captivating, "Couples have got to TALK. Taciturn, long life between couples is rather dangerous."
-It uses marriage as the relationship between all characters, not the date-then-marry one.

However, this book has given me a hard time while I was re
Oct 15, 2014 rated it it was ok
When Joanna Trollope is good, she can actually be great. But when she's not it's a bit of a slog. And unfortunately that was the case with this one. I'm sympathetic to the themes here -- how do modern military families cope with the fact that soldiers' wives have ambitions and careers of their own in the face of an overly traditional military that assumes they will drop everything for their husbands' careers? -- but it all felt a bit didactic and heavy-handed. I also did not quite understand the ...more
Andrea Galbusieri
Dec 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2014
I could personally only relate to some of the struggles Alexa goes through as the wife of a British Army officer, but I think Joanna Trollope did an excellent job describing the conflicting emotions military wives go through continuously and the different ways they cope with those emotional challenges. Although I often wanted to throttle Alexa for her indecisiveness, I like how Trollope eventually makes her characters - and her readers - remember what we all know to be the main factor in any wor ...more
Mar 20, 2012 rated it really liked it
I love Joanna Trollope's novels for their insightful examination of human relationships and human frailties. The Soldier's Wife is set mostly on a military base in the UK, and focuses on the challenges facing personnel in the modern Army. What sacrifices must a woman make when she commits to the life of an army wife? What compromises are necessary? How does a long deployment impact on the emotional health of both partners? Through central couple Dan Riley, a major in the British Army who is just ...more
Tia Bach
Jul 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing
From the first page, I wanted the Rileys to make it through as a unit. Dan Riley knows all about protecting the unit as part of his British army training and experience, so why can't he keep his family unit together and happy? Alexa Riley has lost one husband already and can't bear to lose another one.

It's amazing how two people so in love can stop talking, stop listening. But that's exactly what happens to them. Thanks to wonderful friends and family, help is never far away. But in the end, it'
May 29, 2012 rated it really liked it
Another excellent novel by Joanna Trollope. In this novel she examines the difficulties faced by soldiers returning from a dangerous tour of duty in Afghanistan. One would imagine that reunions with wives and families at home would be joyous for everyone concerned, but in this novel, this is not the case.

Joanna Trollope explores the difficulties faced by soldiers and the families who have waited to welcome them at home. In this day and age it is not enough for many soldiers' wives to be home-ma
Reading Fool
Nov 10, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012
The story of Alexa Riley and her husband Dan, who is a major in the British army. Dan has just returned from a 6-month stint in Afghanistan, and the Rileys are trying to adjust to life after his return. Alexa is considering the offer of a teaching job but is torn between the desire for a career and her loyalty to her husband and the Army. Dan is struggling with life back on base while trying to help his fellow soldiers. The entire family is on the verge of breaking down.

This was my first Joanna
May 31, 2012 marked it as started-but-abandoned  ·  review of another edition
I won this book from First Reads in May of 2012. Two Three almost four months later and it has still not arrived. Hmm..

I've contacted the publisher and Goodreads support and still have not received the book. I think we can consider this my negative review.

Final Edit: Not only have I contacted the publisher but contacted Goodreads support 3 additional times and they ensured me they would get back to me about it. It's been just shy of 7 months now and there's been no responses or book. I give up o
Apr 07, 2012 rated it really liked it
A great insight into military families and the difficulties they face when a loved one returns from a war zone. But, most importantly, a story of "family" in all its variations: nuclear and extended, friends, military family, and the many kinds of support each can offer. This is my first Joanna Trollope novel, but it won't be my last.
Jul 15, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-2012
The usual Joanna Trollope thing - people make bad choices then endlessly discuss those choices (or inadvisably refuse to). Well written, easy read.
Lynne - The Book Squirrel
Mar 08, 2012 rated it really liked it
Can really relate to this book as an army wife. I like how the name of the camp was a mixture of Larkhill and Bulford - Larkford as I knew exactly where the setting is.
Apeksha Bhateja
Aug 30, 2014 rated it really liked it
A random pick, The Soldier's Wife was actually interesting. I was cheering for Alexa throughout the book. Too hard not to empathise with her.
Apr 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
I hadn't read any Joanna Trollope for a while and I was really pleased with her return to form with this book.
Feb 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
As usual Joanna Trollope gets to the very crux of the story very fast. Dan is in the Army. He has served a very troublesome six months period in Afghanistan and is now home with his mates. Life should be happy. His wife, he has twin daughters and an older step daughter all look forward to his return but why cant they all settle down.

Alexa is a very loyal dutiful wife. She has battled on alone, never complaining but she now begins to feel that his batch mates and the Army is his top priority and
Dec 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
I lived this book as I was reading it. It seemed real. The main characters were trying to make things work, it was just that their reality was so tough. In a way army families struggle in similar ways to most, jobs clashing, housing difficulties, schooling problems with kids, lack of money, one party resenting carrying a bigger load of child care when they used to have a good job and one in a fly in fly out position. It is just magnified by the fact that the husband in this case has a job where ...more
Michele Grant
May 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
How do you reconcile career satisfaction with maritial happiness when both are opposing factors? Joanna has been waiting for her Army major husband to come home from Afghanistan for six months. She has repressed her needs in order to be a "good" Army wife. Dan comes home, physically but not mentally. He is wrapped up in the lives of his men that he fails to see how unhappy his wife is.
This story is a look at military life and the compromises everyone must make in order to achieve both personal h
Jackie O'sullivan
Jan 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
as an ex army child I felt so sad for Issy. I also understood the distance between husbands and wives in dealing with the return to normality. While for my parents it was Northern Ireland and a post conflict Falkland Islands the return to a life less pressure cookered was recognised as something that needed dealing with carefully. Going to pass this to my sister and mum to read next.
Joanne Tinkler (Mamajomakes)
Jun 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
I found this book easy to read and I’d recommend it as a good holiday read. It wasn’t what I’d describe as a meaty read, and in some ways I thought it was a bit predictable, but the story flowed well.
Oct 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
As always, an entertaining read and offered an insight into life for military families. Some of the characters were a little unbelievable - they seemed very passive and not in control of their lives at all. But enjoyable.
Lynn Angell
Mar 20, 2017 rated it liked it
I had low expectations for this book as I had finished the books I brought with me and it was the only book left in a remote house we rented for the week. The glimpse into a British military wife's life after her husband returned from Afghanistan was interesting. Somehow as civilians, I think we assume the only difficult part is when loved ones are deployed. This story says otherwise and acknowledges how the military needs to make changes to accommodate women's and men's changing roles as mother ...more
Nov 28, 2017 rated it liked it
a bit tedious reading, but good depiction of the characters, satisfying ending
Jan 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Very interesting novel dealing with a man's return from war and his difficulties dealing with family etc.
Jean St.Amand
Dec 02, 2017 rated it it was ok
Definitely not her best book. Not many likable characters. A bit boring. A bit too neatly ''wrapped up'' at the end. Glad to move on to a hopefully better book.
Apr 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
I have not read a Joanne Trollope in a very long time. This was as good as I remember the others being.
Stephanie Leiker
Mar 17, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: in-my-possession
Simple read. I chose it as a story to read between previous heavy reads. would recommend for that reason. a good betweener.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Zookeeper's War
  • Knight of Pleasure (Smuggler's Cove, #1)
  • Desperate Measures (Gabriel Ash and Hazel Best, #3)
  • The Art of Drowning
  • See You Soon
  • One Under (Bill Slider, #18)
  • Broken (1Night Stand, #100)
  • Effigy
  • Speed Demons
  • Heartsight
  • A Thousand Bayonets
  • Pazuzu's Girl
  • Death from the Woods
  • Heart of Glass
  • Half a Man
  • Among the Departed (Constable Molly Smith #5)
  • The Garden Party and Other Stories
  • Thirteen Chances
Joanna Trollope Potter Curteis (aka Caroline Harvey)

Joanna Trollope was born on 9 December 1943 in her grandfather's rectory in Minchinhampton, Gloucestershire, England, daughter of Rosemary Hodson and Arthur George Cecil Trollope. She is the eldest of three siblings. She is a fifth-generation niece of the Victorian novelist Anthony Trollope and is a cousin of the writer and broadcaster James Trol
More about Joanna Trollope

Fiction Deals

  • Mercy Among the Children
    $14.99 $1.99
  • Darkness There: Selected Tales by Edgar Allan Poe [Kindle in Motion]
    $1.99 $0.99
  • An Empty Cup
    $3.99 $1.99
  • I Like You Just Fine When You're Not Around
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Abby's Journey
    $4.99 $1.99
  • The Underground River
    $12.99 $2.99
  • The Word Game
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Fraulein M.
    $4.99 $1.99
  • The Lost Girls of Camp Forevermore
    $11.99 $2.99
  • Sister of Mine
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Bury What We Cannot Take
    $5.99 $2.99
  • Chomp
    $6.99 $1.99
  • Searching for Grace Kelly
    $15.99 $1.99
  • Bricking It
    $3.99 $1.99
  • The Fifth of March: A Story of the Boston Massacre (Great Episodes)
    $8.99 $2.99
  • Starfish
    $10.99 $1.99
  • Thunder and Rain
    $9.99 $2.99
  • All Grown Up
    $9.99 $2.99
  • The Light of Hidden Flowers
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Olive's Ocean
    $6.99 $1.99
  • Ecstasy
    $13.99 $1.99
  • The Elephant Keeper's Daughter
    $5.99 $2.99
  • The Virtues of Oxygen
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Home to Harmony (Harmony #1)
    $11.14 $1.99
  • Dog Crazy
    $7.99 $1.99
  • The Towers of Tuscany
    $3.99 $1.99
  • The Noticer: Sometimes, all a person needs is a little perspective
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Who We Were Before
    $4.99 $1.99
  • The Reluctant Midwife (Hope River, #2)
    $10.49 $1.99
  • Sin No More (Reverend Curtis Black)
    $10.39 $1.99
  • The List
    $7.99 $2.99
  • Lost & Found
    $5.74 $1.99
  • A Watershed Year
    $3.99 $0.99
  • Savage
    $3.99 $1.99
  • The Designer
    $4.99 $1.99
  • The Novice: A Story of True Love
    $10.74 $1.99
  • Go Away Home
    $3.99 $1.99
  • The Leaving of Things
    $4.49 $1.99
  • Train I Ride
    $6.99 $1.99
  • We'll Always Have Paris: Stories
    $9.99 $1.99
  • The Hidden Flower
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Greyhound
    $3.99 $0.99
  • The Heart Mender: A Story of Second Chances
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Lisette's List
    $11.99 $1.99
  • This Burns My Heart
    $10.99 $1.99
  • The Journeys of Socrates
    $10.99 $1.99
  • Annie on My Mind
    $9.99 $1.20
  • An Absent Mind
    $4.49 $1.99
  • The Book of Ruth
    $18.99 $1.99
  • Smoke
    $4.99 $1.99
  • The Sisterhood of Blackberry Corner
    $7.99 $1.99
  • The Covenant
    $11.99 $2.99
  • Digging In
    $5.99 $2.99
  • The Confessions of Catherine de Medici
    $11.99 $12.99
  • The Traveling Vampire Show
    $3.99 $0.99
  • The Long Way Home
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Martin Dressler: The Tale of an American Dreamer
    $11.99 $2.99
  • Going Home
    $3.99 $1.99
  • In Between Days
    $7.99 $1.99
  • The Girl in the Glass
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Super Sad True Love Story
    $11.99 $2.99
  • Prayers and Lies
    $14.99 $1.99
  • Go the F**k to Sleep
    $8.99 $1.99
  • Fat Chance
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Just a Couple of Days
    $17.99 $1.99
  • The Boleyn Inheritance (The Tudor Court, #3)
    $12.99 $2.99
  • The Girls from Corona del Mar
    $9.99 $1.99
  • The Daughter of Union County
    $4.99 $1.99
  • The Fighting Ground
    $6.49 $1.99
  • Delicious!
    $12.99 $1.99
  • Embers
    $9.99 $2.99
  • The Sugar Men
    $3.99 $1.99
  • You Can't Keep a Good Woman Down: Stories
    $17.99 $1.99
  • The Last Storyteller: A Novel Of Ireland
    $11.99 $1.99
  • The Sleepwalker's Guide to Dancing
    $5.99 $1.99
  • Vengeance Road
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Ungifted
    $7.99 $1.99
  • Julie of the Wolves
    $6.99 $1.99
  • Mrs. Saint and the Defectives
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Stiltsville: A Novel
    $10.99 $1.99
  • To the Bright Edge of the World
    $11.99 $2.99
  • The Patriots
    $11.99 $1.99
  • The Flicker of Old Dreams
    $9.99 $1.99
  • All the Good Parts
    $3.99 $1.99
  • The Food of Love
    $3.99 $1.99
  • So Long, See You Tomorrow
    $11.99 $2.99
  • A Scattered Life
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Every Ugly Word
    $3.99 $1.99
  • A Memory of Violets: A Novel of London's Flower Sellers
    $11.99 $1.99
  • Desert God (Ancient Egypt, #5)
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Bloody Jack: Being an Account of the Curious Adventures of Mary "Jacky" Faber, Ship's Boy (Bloody Jack, #1)
    $8.99 $2.99
  • The Woman Who Breathed Two Worlds (Malayan #1)
    $3.99 $1.99
  • An Amish Buggy Ride
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Old Yeller
    $6.99 $1.99
  • The Secret Healer (The Secret Healer #1)
    $3.49 $0.99
  • Elizabeth Street
    $4.99 $1.99
  • The Gates of Rome (Emperor, #1)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • The Unkillable Kitty O'Kane
    $4.99 $1.99
  • It Is Well
    $4.99 $1.99
  • A Sinful Calling (Reverend Curtis Black #13)
    $9.99 $2.99
  • On a Cold Dark Sea
    $4.99 $1.99
  • My Lady Viper (Tales from the Tudor Court #1)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Kings of Broken Things
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Edward Adrift
    $4.49 $1.99
  • The Restaurant Critic's Wife
    $3.99 $1.99