I have just two days left before I'm back at work, and while I am sad about this, I do like being on a schedule. I'm also ending my summer reading on a high note. The Soldier's Wife by Margaret Leroy, which was sent to me by the publisher, was very likely my last full book I will finish before going back to work. I think I sighed aloud when I turned the last page. I absolutely loved this book.
Prior to reading The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society I knew nothing of the isle of Guernsey, and that novel certainly piqued my interest. I was adding this one to my TBR list as soon as I heard the setting was once again Guernsey during World War II.
Vivienne de la Mare is caring for her two daughter and mother-in-law as her husband is away fighting in the war. Her mother-in-law Evelyn suffers from dementia and her health continues to decline as time passes. Blanche, at fourteen, is yearning to go to dances and worry about make-up and fashion instead of having to concern herself with her island's occupation by German soldiers. Younger daughter Mildred is just starting school and seems rather unaffected by the war at first. Yet as years go by she, too, has experienced what it means to wage war. While Vivienne is not happy that her next door neighbors are German soldiers she begins a relationship with one. Despite the fact that their countries are in opposition, the love story that unfolds between the two manages to sustain the two of them when the future was uncertain.
And yetm while this love story unfolds, Vivienne is also confronted with the realities of what is happening in Germany as some prisoners are sent to work in Guernsey arriving looking like little more than skeletons. How can she help? Should she protect her family? And what about her German lover? Does he know what happening?
This is one of my favorite books of the summer- absolutely wonderful historical fiction. World War II eventually ends as does Vivienne's story, but not without a sigh of satisfaction from me.