Sunday, 8 July 2012

Book Review : The Soldier's Wife by Margaret Leroy

For all the historic fiction lovers, especially if you're interested in World War 2 and romance, then I'd recommend this. The book is also available under a different title, 'The Collaborator.' It's a well crafted works of fiction set in Guernsey during the German occupation. Leroy provides a vivid and evocative description of the island which is juxtaposed with the horrors of war.

The main character, Vivienne de la Mare is left at home to care for her family whilst her husband has been called up and is fighting with the  allies along with all the other eligible men from the island. The arrival of the Germans in the summer of 1940 strikes fear into the islanders as they requisition homes and cars for their own personal use whilst imposing strict rules upon the inhabitants.

Gradually the reader learns that Vivienne's marriage is a loveless one at the same time as she begins a romance with a German officer who is living in the house next door. She is torn, divided by loyalty and love. Collaborators will not be tolerated and Vivienne clearly understands the risks she's taking.

The novel is very authentic and the reader is treated to such rich descriptions that you can almost lose yourself in the scenes. The German soldiers are also closely examined. Learning about their lives before the war and hearing of their families evokes a realisation that they are purely part of Hitler's machine. They don't necessarily agree with their fuhrer and you can't help but feel compassion in a sense, at times.

This is definitely a fantastic read and one which I couldn't put down.