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The Dutch Wife

3.73  ·  Rating details ·  7,859 ratings  ·  879 reviews
Amsterdam, May 1943. As the tulips bloom and the Nazis tighten their grip across the city, the last signs of Dutch resistance are being swept away. Marijke de Graaf and her husband are arrested and deported to different concentration camps in Germany. Marijke is given a terrible choice: to suffer a slow death in the labour camp or—for a chance at survival—to join the camp ...more
ebook, 400 pages
Published April 24th 2018 by Patrick Crean Editions
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Breanne Bannerman Maybe because Karl is hiding his past, is pretending to be someone else, and did atrocious things to people back when he was a Nazi. Instead of standi…moreMaybe because Karl is hiding his past, is pretending to be someone else, and did atrocious things to people back when he was a Nazi. Instead of standing and facing his punishment, he fled to Argentina. I imagine he can't connect with Luciano because he is hiding all that and isn't being honest.(less)

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Average rating 3.73  · 
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 ·  7,859 ratings  ·  879 reviews

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Katie B
3.5 stars

I appreciate what the author was trying to do with this historical fiction book although I do think there are some flaws. While I am glad that I read it, I had an uncomfortable feeling while reading for a few reasons. Most of the story takes place in a concentration camp so obviously that makes for some tough reading. When I lived in Germany I actually visited Buchenwald which is the setting in the book. Being able to visually picture the camp just really added to this haunting type fee
Lindsay - Traveling Sisters Book Reviews
4 stars for my first audiobook! An excellent debut historical fiction novel!

This book offers a very unique WWII perspective. We meet Marijke, Karl and Luciano. Marijke is a young wife and member of the Resistance who is torn from her husband and home. Upon capture and imprisonment, her beauty makes her stand out and she is chosen to live in the Buchenwald camp brothel where male prisoners get the opportunity to visit for good behaviour. The thought of what she has to do sickens her, yet it means
Mel (Epic Reading)
Jul 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: library-print
The historical fiction coming out in the last few years that depicts regular people and their lives in extenuating circumstances has really been wonderful. I now add The Dutch Wife to the list of really great writing and storytelling.
As always with any WWII story set at a concentration camp there are many events of abuse, rape, starvation, murder and more awful actions. Ellen Keith does not dance around these issues; instead she describes them with a realistic and stark attitude. As we all know
Mellie Antoinette
Sep 12, 2018 rated it it was ok
**#earc thanks to #netgalley in exchange for a fair review.**

I had to really think about how to review this. I had an awful time reading it. Mariejke & Theo are a Dutch couple helping shelter undesirables during the high heat of WWII until they are caught and sent to different concentration camps - she to Ravensbruck, he to a satellite camp of Buchenwald as political prisoners. She soon volunteers for the new brothel installed at Buchenwald in the hopes of finding her husband.

Enter snaky Karl M
Jun 13, 2019 rated it liked it
Although I think this is a well written book I can give it only 3 stars. The book oozes violence and as I've said before, that much violence weakens a book instead of strengthening it. It might have been better to just tell the WWII story and leave Argentina out of it. ...more
Laurie • The Baking Bookworm
2.5 STARS - The Dutch Wife is a Historical Fiction novel that tells the story of three people during WWII in dual story lines. The reader is privy to the points of view of Marijke de Graaf, a Dutch prisoner in the Buchenwald concentration camp and SS officer Karl Muller whose job it is to run the camp. The other story line, decades later, follows a young man named Luciano Wagner in Buenos Aires.

I'm all for dual story lines in books. I like getting a better look into different characters but the
Magdalena aka A Bookaholic Swede
Nov 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2018
THE DUTCH WIFE is a dual storyline book. In 1943 we get to follow Marijke de Graaf as she is forced to choose between a slow death in a labor camp or join the camp brothel. She picks the later in the hope of meeting her husband who has been sent to the camp where the brothel is. Years later, in 1977 we follow Luciano Wagerer's ordeal during the Argentine Dirty War as he is arrested and thrown in a prison he most likely will never leave.

Jan 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
4.5 stars
A devastating and haunting historical fiction that illustrates the darker side of humanity. This book was not your usual WW2 story. Rather than alternating with a present day timeline, it instead alternated between 1945 and 1977 during the Argentinian dirty war where up to 30 000 civilians “disappeared” in acts of terrorism and genocide. Although I wasn’t as taken with the Argentinian storyline as I was with the WW2, it was still enlightening to learn about this historical tragedy and I
Mar 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This Book oh how amazing it is. I could not put it down. Follows Three people Marijke, Karl and Luciano. Set during WWll. Although I was saddened and upset at what women had to endure during WWll. Marijke story is one of true survival, Karl’s has to be a favorite he was a complex character some times you want to hate him but you can’t help but love him. Luciano story is just one of true sadness. That ending oh that ending. All I can say is it is unexpected and unpredictable.

Totally recommend!!!!
Carla Johnson-Hicks
4.5 Stars: I had the kindle version of this book as well as a physical book on my bookshelf, but when I saw that it was available on Overdrive from my library, I chose to listen to this one. I really liked the narration of this story. I enjoy when there are multiple narrators so that I can easily identify who is speaking. As well, the accents were well done. The voice of Marijke de Graaf was soft and wispy which seemed to fit this character well. All in all, the audiobook was exceptional.

This st
Literary Soirée
The Dutch Wife is a heartbreaking story about a young Dutch woman Marijke and her husband caught helping Jews during WWII. They are sent to a concentration camp and separated. She is given the soul-destroying choice of working hard labor or becoming a prostitute. At the same camp, SS officer Karl Muller arrives and when he meets Marijke their lives are forever altered.

A separate story line involves a young man named Luciano Wagner, a University student in Argentina. The connection between the tw
Erin Clemence
Nov 12, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks
This review is for the audio version of “The Dutch Wife”, by Ellen Keith, narrated by Abby Craden, Eric Martin and Charlie Thurston and produced by Harlequin Audio.

Audio: 5 stars I LOVED this narration. I enjoy when each main character in the novel is voiced by a different actor, allowing the novel to not just be read, but to be played out and experienced. Such was the case in this telling where the three narrators were given specific characters. Craden, Martin and Thurston were able to p
Jenny Q
Apr 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
Gripping, dark, emotional tale of choices made in a Nazi labor camp and the repercussions of those choices decades later in Argentina's Dirty War. I couldn't put it down!

Check out my Q&A with author Ellen Keith for the Historical Novel Society!
Eden Church | The Required Reading List
*update June 18, 2018– I’ve heard talk that this book is being marketed in the US as a romance. (I’m Canadian and so is the author) This book is not a romance; it’s historical fiction. There is no hero here, nor is there anything romantic. This is a story about one of the most horrific events in history* An intense meditation on the nature of hatred, prejudice and oppression, Ellen Keith's The Dutch Wife is as beautiful as it is heavy. Told in alternating viewpoints of a woman trapped in Buchenw ...more
Dec 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: kobo, books-i-own
3.5 stars

This 2018 debut by Canadian author, Ellen Keith is a historical fiction with a dual timeline. The first begins in Netherlands with Dutch political activists, Marjike and her husband, Theo, being arrested and sent to concentration camps. Marjike is sent first to Ravensbruck, but volunteers to go to Buchenwald as a whore in a prisoner's brothel in order to find her husband, Theo. Once there, Marjike soon captures the attention of SS officer Karl Mueller, who quickly becomes fixated on ha
May 05, 2018 rated it it was ok
I really wanted to enjoy this book with this aspect of history that I had not explored as part of the Holocaust, but I wasn't able to. Combining the two separate storylines about a concentration camp in Germany and 1980s Argentinian repression, I couldn't mesh the two. They were two stories brought together to make the book work and it didn't. ...more
Jan 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
The Dutch Wife is an immersive, reflective, graphic novel by Keith that gives you a little insight into the atrocities of WWII, as well as those inflicted during Argentina’s Dirty War that took place in the 1970s.
Kris - My Novelesque Life
Jan 02, 2019 marked it as dnf  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: historical romance fiction
DNF @ 19%
2018; Patrick Crean Edition/Harper Collins

I am sucker for covers like this, and I may have not read the entire synopsis before requesting this book. I started to read the book, and made it through several pages in and put it down. Two weeks later, I remembered I had started this book and picked it back up. Ugh, I forgot what happened so started again. I could not get much further again so I gave up on reading, but then decided to try the audiobook. My audiobook came in before Christmas
Kaleidoscope Eyes
Apr 18, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this for a book club, which prefers historical fiction, as I do. I liked this, to state it in the most simple terms - buuuuuut - I need a break from WWII books. I just can't even for a while.

However, I enjoyed the brothel perspective, and I wasn't expecting to have another timeline of what was going on in Argentina - which I didn't entirely understand. How was that relevant? I think this was more of a 3.5 stars for me, in reality.

This is the worst review ever, but it doesn't deserve any
Kelsey Castro
Feb 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My store received an advanced copy of this book and I was mesmerized from the very beginning. The parallel stories are each heartbreaking and the endings were both real and unexpected. Beautiful writing, definitely worth the read.
Heather Donovan
Jun 14, 2018 rated it liked it
I thought the dual storylines with Argentina and Germany were unnecessary and really did nothing but increased the length of the book. Luciano's story should have been written on it's own and fleshed his character out more. I kept waiting for there to be a huge reveal, such as the papers he was microfilming revealed the names of all the former Nazi men hiding in South America - but that never happened. Had the Argentinian story been removed it would have not changed the book's outcome at all. - ...more
May 09, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: canadian
This was really good, and it was not what I expected. There was nothing romantic or happy about this book, not a heart felt war time romance if that's what you're looking for. ...more
Jun 18, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: nwf
I put it down after page 24/362, because I'm trying not to waste my time. The writing is clunky and the author relies heavily on telling, rather than showing. ...more
Julia Booktree Lady
Mar 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
4.5/5 Stars
The Dutch Wife by Ellen Keith is a rotating POV novel that features 3 main characters throughout World War II. The first is the Dutch Wife herself, Marijke. She is loosely involved in the resistance in Amsterdam until she is captured by the Nazis and sent to Ravensbruck concentration camp, and later moved to Buchenwald. The second is the newly-appointed deputy commander of Buchenwald, Karl Muller. And the third is Luciano Wagner, a young Argentinian student in the Argentinian Dirty Wa
Nov 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
I listened to The Dutch Wife by Ellen Keith on audio CD and really enjoyed the story. It was read by Abby Craden, Eric Martin and Charlie Thurston. They really brought the story to life. The novel explored the themes of male dominance over females, good and evil and what a person had to endure to survive concentration camps during the Nazi dominance. Choices were made in order to survive even when those choices negate everything you believe in.

The Dutch wife began in Amsterdam in 1943. Mariijke
I have a signed copy up for grabs at JustOneMoreChapter

As one who is always on the lookout for HF pertaining to the Netherlands the title and cover is what drew me to The Dutch Wife. It’s also Ellen Keith’s debut - how exciting is that! Only a small percentage of this book takes place in Holland but it’s enough for me, I didn’t totally expect to feel such an emotional connection to Marijke, really it should h
Genevieve Graham
I'm not going to lie ... I was close to putting the book away permanently after about a quarter of the way through. The stories (3 story lines) were so agonizing, so painful and unthinkable that it made it very difficult, and the further I read, the harder it was to sleep at night. But those stories were (based on) true stories, so how could I not read on? I believe we all need to understand history from all sides, and not shy away from the truths.

But what really anchored me to the story was th
May 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
If I would have started earlier I would have read this cover to cover. It was excellent.

This was one of the best fiction books I’ve read on what happens to people who are captured and put in concentration camps. From the view of a married couple, the wife who decides to join the brothel rather than do hard labour and not knowing if her husband is dead or alive.

As she ties to stay loyal one of the SS officers falls in love with her but hides it because she is beneath him.

Marg - this one is for y
Sarah Bunker
May 20, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Luciano story line is questionable to me but otherwise I loved it!
Bev Walkling
Many thanks to Hanover Square Press, Harlequin and #NetGalley for allowing me to read a copy of The Dutch Wife in exchange for an honest review. The opinions expressed are completely my own.

There are times in life when an individual may be forced to ask themselves the difficult question of what exactly they would be willing to do in order to thrive and/or survive. In this novel inspired by fact, the reader gets to examine how 3 different individuals responded to lifethreatening challenges.

The fi
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