When we think about war, we think about everything in black and white. There are two sides. One is good, and the other is evil. There are allies and enemies, and never should the two meet. Or so we think. But THE SOLDIER'S WIFE throws all that to the wind. Author Margaret Leroy places Vivienne de la Mare in a challenging situation. She is at home on the island of Guernsey with her two young daughters and her elderly mother-in-law as her husband is off fighting the Germans. Rumors of war are swirling around, though life for the moment is safe. Some residents of Guernsey are evacuating to England while others continue living their lives at home in peace, or in as much peace as one can have when war is everywhere.
Then one day, the Germans arrive and set up camp in the house next door to Vivienne's home. Thus the enemy becomes a neighbor. Things become more gray, and out of this grayness comes an attraction and then love for a German soldier. Vivienne finds herself balancing two worlds on a very slippery slope as she learns there is a concentration camp on the island of Guernsey, and thus their idyllic world is shattered in ways she never imagined. Can she continue to love this soldier? Can she cope with the risks that she's taking?
Questions of bravery and courage come into play, along with a lot of "what ifs."
I love it when an author describes a character so vividly that I can picture her as I am reading a book, and then when I think back on the story later, I continue to envision the character in her world. That is what happened for me reading THE SOLDIER'S WIFE. Leroy leaves lots of room for conversation, discussion and an examination of the controversy surrounding the story. I loved it, and it was an easy choice to make it a Bookreporter.com Bets On selection.