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

The Dutch Wife

3.73  ·  Rating details ·  3,721 ratings  ·  453 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
Paperback, 400 pages
Published April 24th 2018 by Patrick Crean Editions
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 Dutch Wife, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
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…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)
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
3.73  · 
Rating details
 ·  3,721 ratings  ·  453 reviews

Sort order
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
Mel (Epic Reading)
Jul 20, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
**#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 Ka
Magdalena aka A Bookaholic Swede
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.

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
Mar 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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!!!!
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 por
Jenny Q
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
May 05, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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.
May 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
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.
Kelsey Castro
Feb 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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.
Jun 18, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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.
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
Heather Donovan
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
Sarah Bunker
May 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
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
Dec 31, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ten tijde van de tweede wereldoorlog zijn de Nederlandse Marijke en haar man Theo werkzaam bij het verzet. Op een dag worden ze opgepakt en gedeporteerd naar verschillende concentratiekampen. Marijke hoort dat Theo zich in kamp Buchenwald bevindt en als haar de kans wordt aangeboden om in dat betreffende kamp in het bordeel te werken, twijfelt ze niet lang. Ze heeft er alles voor over om Theo weer terug te vinden.Daar ontmoet ze echter de nieuwe kampleider Karl Muller...

Tevens is er een derde ve
Oct 19, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Marijke and her husband Theo are arrested and sent to the concentration camps. Marijke learns of his whereabouts and when the opportunity arises to be at the same camp, with better accommodations and a chance of survival, she takes it. In order for this to happen though, Marijke has to work at the camp brothel. This was an interesting take on the concentration camps and insight into what people were forced to do to survive this horrible regime. Told in dual timelines, we also meet Luciano in 197 ...more
Julia Booktree Lady
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
May 13, 2018 rated it liked it
2.5 stars, rounded up.
I often felt that I could sense the author's youth through her words, which was detrimental to the depiction of the heavy material in this book. The descriptions of the horrors that her characters faced felt shallow to me. Additionally, the denouement felt rushed and so left me a bit unsatisfied.
This being said, kudos for taking this weighty material on, and double kudos for introducing a wider audience to some unusual aspects to the world's atrocities. I would have liked
Jessica Wilkins
Well, that was depressing. The Dutch Wife is a story following three characters, Marijke de Graff, Karl Mueller, and Luciano. Set during the final years of WW2 and later days in the 1970s, the story portrays much of the horror felt by prisoners during the war.
I got into the story easily and it read quickly but it was very torture-heavy and I felt it didn't really do anything new in terms of this genre.
If you like historical fiction, particularly reading about death camps in Germany, then here'
Jul 25, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sterk boek met toch wel een beetje een verrassend einde.
Nov 10, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Kris - My Novelesque Life
Written by Ellen Keith
2018; Patrick Crean Edition/Harper Collins (400 pages)
Genre: historical fiction, war, fiction

RATING: 1 STAR (DNF @ 19%)

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 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 so I gave up
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 09, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed, war
I liked Ellen Keith's depiction of the inside of a brothel within a concentration camp during WWII, we are witness's to the hardships, duplicity and hope. The amount of research was evident. She didn’t hold back and some might find some of the details overwhelming. Her depictions of camp conditions were heart breakingly vivid.

I felt that Luciano's story was unnecessary it took away from Marijke's story there really wasn't a solid connection between the two stories. 3 stars
Oct 01, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
My actual rating is 2.5, but I rounded up due to the historical aspect of the Holocaust events depicted within the pages.

I felt that the two story lines within the book, detracted from the novel. The Holocaust story would have been better, in my opinion, as a book, in itself.
Dec 01, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Do not judge this book by it's cover as I did. I thought I was getting a "light" version of WWII with maybe a bit of romance thrown in, but instead it was a gritty and tough read. The writing was excellent and the story kept you interested right until the end.
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
« 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 »
  • Come from Away
  • Anna's Bear: 5 Days of Moral Conflict And Pursuit, Nazi Germany, 1939
  • Long Way Back to the River Kwai: A Harrowing True Story of Survival in World War II
  • The Piano Maker
  • A Woman of War
  • Escape in Time: Miri's Riveting Tale of Her Family's Survival During World War II
  • The Crate: A Story Of War, A Murder, And Justice
  • Wunderland
  • Like Birds In Black and White
  • Touching the Wire
  • Partners To A Degree
  • The Cut Out Girl: A Story of War and Family, Lost and Found
  • The Last Jews in Berlin
  • Saying Goodbye to Warsaw
  • Defiance
  • His Watchful Eye
  • Penny (Women & War #2)
  • Coventry
No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »
“You see, over the course of a game, luck tends to balance out, and it comes down to strategy....It all depends on those opening rolls of the die. If you're not rolling high, you'll need to start building walls to block your opponent. At any moment, everything can shift, but strength lies in knowing when to maintain your defences, and when it's safe to make a move.” 0 likes
More quotes…