| In the darkest hours in history, no choices are simple.
The Channel Islands, June 1940.
The Nazis are bombing Cherbourg. In her secluded house on Guernsey, Vivienne de la Mare waits fearfully. And then the Occupation begins. Nothing is safe anymore. Vivienne's husband is fighting on the frontline, and she has two young daughters and her mother-in-law to care for; and her new life is one where the enemy lives next door.
"With its stunning and evocative description of the Guernsey landscape, its subtle and astute depiction of a woman's relationship with her children, her lover and her husband, this absorbing novel is utterly beguiling."
Rosamund Lupton, author of Sister.
“Lush, sensual and evocative as a dream but governed by the rhythms of wartime life, The Soldier’s Wife is the best kind of time travel. I was riveted by Margaret Leroy’s story of a mother on German-occupied Guernsey Island during WW2, trying to raise her daughters while struggling with questions no mother should have to face – including a secret love for a man forbidden to her.”
Jenna Blum, author of Those Who Save Us and The Stormchasers.
“Leroy’s beautifully rendered tale demonstrates how longing for normalcy during wartime can vanquish, even briefly, distrust and uncover common ground. Highly recommended.” Library Journal starred review.
“Leroy has written a tender love story wrapped around a horrifying account of unspeakable cruelty.” Booklist.
“Vivienne’s measured, astringent voice is riveting and her moral ambiguity deliciously disturbing...” Kirkus Reviews.
“Leroy lovingly portrays the era and the isolated Guernsey landscape while simultaneously offering an unsparing view of the specific horrors of war. Colourful, rich descriptions...” Publishers Weekly.
“The Soldier’s Wife is a compelling WWII love story and historical fiction at its best.” Sue Boucher, Lake Forest Book Store.
“A riveting story of betrayal.” Stylist magazine.
“Oh, I loved this wartime story set on Guernsey... The tenderness between a mother and her daughters, the sacrifices of wartime (small and large), the courageous acts of kindness done by strangers and friends... bittersweet but beautiful. And gorgeously written.”
"The Soldier's Wife hits all the sweet spots: forbidden love, familial loyalties, agonizing moral dilemmas and the awesome responsibilities of motherhood. But this wartime novel hits the dark spots, too. Against the flowered backdrop of this sea-surrounded place, Leroy describes acts of willful ignorance and cruelty. " Washington Post.
"Margaret Leroy has written a page-turner of a book that I read in one day. I could not put it down. I am getting great feedback from other booksellers saying they felt the same way... Do yourself a favor this summer. Get yourself a copy of this fabulous novel. I think it will make you very happy."
"The book was absolutely lovely, from start to finish... Even when describing scenes of horrible carnage, a grace pervades the scene. While there are no photographs of Guernsey, the image in my head is one of beauty - a beauty enhanced by Leroy's words... Once I had finished the story I had to hold it for a minute and soak it all in."
"An unexpected gem... The war is played out in a macro and micro fashion in Vivienne's lovelife, giving real emotional punch to the story... The novel demonstrates that to attempt to step outside of history is a dereliction of duty, even if doing one's duty is heart-breaking and emotionally illogical."
Jerome de Groot, History Today.
"Seasoned author Leroy tells Vivienne's story in exquisite first-person prose, capturing the details of the changing seasons on Guernsey, the daily rhythms of life under the Occupation and the tender, fierce love of a mother for her daughters. Teenage Blanche, longing for independence, and little Millie, more perceptive than anyone knows, face the hardships of war bravely - sometimes more bravely than their mother... A hauntingly evocative story."
Katie Noah Gibson, Shelf Awareness.
"The Soldier's Wife is a lovely, classy romance and an elegant historical novel filled to the brim with antiquated details and thoughtful themes. This is a realistic look at war, and the many events that unfold are perfectly believable and completely engaging. The love story is powerful and will make readers consider exactly what loyalty means and what love can do. Era details are spot-on, and the romantic scenes are handled tactfully but with indulgence. This is at least as good a book as The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society; personally, I thought it was better and enjoyed it more."
Melanie Smith, Bookreporter.com
"The Soldier's Wife is a breathtaking story that gripped me; had me holding my breath, gut wrenched with emotion, and thoughts intertwined with Vivienne's... This is an un-put-down-able book... A fantastic, subtle historical fiction woven within intricate relationships of life and love that relays truths of life: the beautiful and the bitter."
Polishing Mud Balls
"Simply put, I adored this book. The characters, the setting, the time period, and the themes of this book drew me in from the first page... The book included horrific aspects of the war including the Organisation Todt, where prisoners were sent to Guernsey and lived in wretched conditions. These things were not glossed over and were given the respect and attention that they deserved within the story. I have so many feelings for this book, and how it wove so many stories, conflicting duties and feelings together so well. It was exciting and heart-wrenching, entertaining and educational. And, like a cherry on top, it had a perfect, perfect ending."
"Some novels are written in such a way that every sentence fills the reader with a sense of peace and profound delight. The language may not be poetic per se, but the impression left upon the reader is one of simple beauty. Every word needs to be savored and every scene to be absorbed. The entire novel benefits from the melodious language, as does the reader. Margaret Leroy's The Soldier's Wife is one such novel."
That's what she read
"An absolutely wonderful story about decisions and the real face of evil. The Collaborator opens up a whole avenue of thought about what it was like to be a German Soldier during the height of Hitler's regime, and how there's two sides to every story... A beautiful and hauntingly sad description of life during wartime for both sides of the battle."
"As Leroy's clandestine romance unfolds, man's brutality contrasts with the day-to-day textures of island life, and no one is left untouched. Examining the nature of betrayal, the author's lyrical prose reveals the desperate, yearning sadness of those who are left behind and forced to make their own choices in the midst of occupation and war."
Michael Leonard, Curled up with a Good Book
"I really liked how the author uses the different fairy tale stories as well as the scenery and weather descriptions to signal foreboding and the slow, gradual accession of the German occupation... This would be a great book club book as there are many things to discuss... The more I think about it, the more I love this book! It has a quietness about it that is very profound."
"It’s thoughtfully and sensitively handled; Leroy speaks to both the horrors of Nazi acts even as she shows us that not every soldier was behind what was happening... Overall, The Collaborator is a very moving and sensitive read, dealing with issues unique to wartime and universal to women at the same time."
"A perfect blend of plot, tension, and history. The Soldier's Wife is the kind of book you'll pick up and not be able to put down until you've read the last poignant sentence... I give The Soldier's Wife my highest recommendation."
"The Soldier's Wife is a beautifully written, evocative book that showcases a place unfamiliar to most. The island of Guernsey comes to life on the pages, and the simpler times and strong values of the era twine together to make Vivienne's life conflicted even amidst the horrors of war and occupation. This fascinating book is a stirring account of a wife and mother forced to make difficult choices while reaching for her own happiness."
Fort Worth Examiner.
"The Soldier's Wife is one of the best books I've read in a very long time. It is filled with universal truths."
Wendy Ward, Watermark Books and Cafe.
"Give yourself a treat. Open The Soldier's Wife and you'll be transported to Guernsey during the Second World War... Warning - once you start The Soldier's Wife, you'll be hooked."
Elaine Petrocelli, Book Passage.
"I never stay up most of the night reading but I certainly did with this book. I read it pretty much straight through and was just entranced with the story."
Sue Boucher, Lake Forest Book Store.
"I read The Soldier's Wife about the wife of a man who has joined the English Army... I loved it! First, it was an aspect of World War II I had never heard of before. Second, the story was riveting. I gobbled up the pages, knowing each page would bring another problem, another ethical question, another beautiful description of Guernsey. You have to read it!"
Words by Webb
The Collaborator has been entered for The People’s Book Prize. If you enjoyed the story, I’d be very grateful for your vote! Follow this link:
To be published in May 2011 by Mira, UK, and in July 2011 by Hyperion, US.
German, Dutch, Turkish and Thai rights already sold. The German edition is called Fur Immer, Vivienne, and will be published in September 2011.