The Dutch Wife

The Dutch Wife

Book - 2018
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"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 labor camp or--for a chance at survival--to join the camp brothel. On the other side of the barbed wire, SS officer Karl Müller arrives at the camp hoping to live up to his father's expectations of wartime glory. But faced with a brutal routine of overseeing executions and punishments, he longs for an escape. When he encounters the newly arrived Marijke, this meeting changes their lives forever"--Provided by publisher.
Publisher: Toronto, Ontario : Park Row Books, [2018]
ISBN: 9780778308607
Branch Call Number: F Keit
Characteristics: 339 pages ; 23 cm


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Jan 11, 2019

A well-written story about persecution, hard choices, and survival during times of war. The tale of the Dutch wife and the Nazi officer is skillfully alternated with the interconnected tragic story of a young man living in Argentina during the brutal 1970’s Argentine “Dirty War”. The author gives great insight into the motivations of her characters, while telling her version of lesser known facts about these two terrible wars.

Oct 30, 2018

This is a must read for those who enjoy fiction with a dose of historical reality. The subject matter is grim (how can a forced labour camp be considered "enjoyable read") but the personalities of the characters are compelling. I could not put this book down.

Oct 22, 2018

Really enjoyed this book...if you are a history person you will like this...

Oct 11, 2018

This book isn't just about Nazi labor camps, but also about “the Disappeared” in Argentina’s state-sponsored terrorism of the 1970s ... tied together with an unexpected link.

When Dutch resistance fighters Marijke de Graaf and her husband, Theo, are arrested and sent to different concentration camps in Nazi Germany, Marijke is given a terrible choice: to suffer a slow death in the labor camp or—for a chance at survival—to join a camp brothel. She chooses the brothel and is transferred to Buchenwald, where she pays a horrific price, but nothing compared to the other prisoners. Their treatment ripped my heart out. The starvation, medical experiments, beatings and murders were very difficult to read about. I can't imagine actually living them.

The book details the life of a SS officer named Karl, who falls in love with, and ultimately becomes obsessed by Marijke. Karl hoped to follow in his father’s footsteps in achieving wartime glory but the routine of overseeing punishments and executions takes a toll - at first. He eventually becomes a monster towards everyone, other than Marijke.

There are also chapters devoted to Luciano, a young Argentinian living thirty years later, falsely accused and imprisoned for dissent. The similarities between what tool place at the concentration camps, and what took place 30 years later in Argentina, were shocking.

It's not easy to read about man's inhumanity to man. It's easier to be an ostrich and to keep one's head firmly in the sand. This book helped me understand how important it is that we not do that.

The unexpected link that I mentioned? I believe Luciano was Karl's son, as Karl had escaped to Argentina when the Allies approached Buchenwald. At the end of the book it mentions Karl's wife marching for her son who had been arrested and then disappeared.

In case you can't tell, I definitely recommend this book!

Sep 11, 2018

This book was so hard to read because you felt like you were there and a part of the experience. Fans of historical fiction will love this debut novel.

Aug 18, 2018

I loved this book. Yes, it was horrifying but it's good to learn about what went on during WW2.
The ending was a surprise. I didn't think it would end that way (but glad it did). Happy endings are always good.

Aug 14, 2018

This World War II novel contains two story lines from that era (Marijke, the Dutch wife; Karl, a Buchenwald commander) and a third from the Dirty War in Argentina from the late 1970's (Luciano).
Keith has written a very readable story with the grim realities of war and resistance. Until reading this book I was unaware that the camps provided a brothel as a carrot for prisoners. The officers in the camp generally visit their own brothel, but Karl sees Marijke walking through the camp and seeks her out at the prisoner brothel and their stories are intertwined for nearly two years. Meanwhile Marijke's husband (Theo) is somewhere in the same camp, but she finds herself imagining a future with Karl after the war. Throughout the book we also read about Luciano's fate as a prisoner in Argentina.

One thing you realize as you read this book is that war brings a myriad of hard choices and desperate circumstances. This book is not without hope, but the outlook is bleak without faith. The connection of Luciano to the historical timelines was too tenuous for me.

Jul 27, 2018

I love world war two historical fiction,but I really struggled to get through this book, not for the atrocities described, just because it was slow and in my opinion needs heavy editing. The pace is slow. The Luciano story line was a bore, and I just ended skimming over it. This would have been a more enjoyable solid story with just the two main characters. Also, The "surprise" ending is not a surprise at all...disappointing.

Jun 18, 2018

I had misgivings about even starting this book and soon realized they were well-founded. It is a horrifying depiction of the atrocities and abominations perpetuated in the camps. I couldn’t, not did I want to read anymore.

Jun 10, 2018

Really enjoyed this book.

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