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Friday, July 13, 2012

"The Soldier's Wife" by Joanna Trollope~Worthy and Wise...

An outstanding book that's worthy and wise, this is another example of how very well Joanna Trollope understands the underpinnings of the modern family and its struggles for communication and a stronghold.  5 stars from The Bookish Dame!  Highly recommended read



What happens when love and duty collide?

Dan Riley is a major in the British Army. After a six-month tour of duty in Afghanistan, he is coming home to the wife and young daughters he adores. He’s up for promotion and his ex-Army grandfather and father couldn’t be prouder. The Rileys are united in support of Dan’s passion for his career.

But are they really? His wife, Alexa, has been offered a good teaching job she can’t take because the Army may move the family at any time. Her daughter Isabel hates her boarding school—the only good educational option for Army families—and starts running away. And Dan spends all his time on the base, unable to break the strong bonds forged with his friends in battle. Soon everyone who knows the Rileys is trying to help them save their marriage, but it’s up to Alexa to decide if she can sacrifice her needs and those of her family to support Dan’s commitment to his work.

With her trademark intelligence and grace, Joanna Trollope illuminates the complexities of modern life in this story of a family striving to balance duty and ambition.
A Bit About Ms Trollope:

Joanna Trollope has been writing fiction for more than 30 years. She is the author of seventeen highly acclaimed bestselling novels including Daughters-in-Law, The Other Family, The Rector’s Wife, A Village Affair, Other People’s Children, The Choir, and Marrying the Mistress. She was awarded the OBE in the 1996 Queen’s Birthday Honors List for services to literature, and is the current chair of the Orange Prize for Fiction 2012. She lives in England.
Joanna Trollope's web site:http://www.joannatrollope.com/
Here's a trailer of "The Soldier's Wife" ~  Ms Trollope Discusses Her Book:

The Dame's Review :
As I've said above, truly an outstanding study of the communications between relationships on all sides; husband and wife, children to parents of all ages, friend to friend, and even institution to parents and children.  This is a wonderful book grounded in such realism it had me nodding my head on many occasions with affirmation of times I'd experienced the same reactions or feelings. 
Initially, I found the book difficult to breach.  English writing and the proverbial terminology can be quite strange to me at times.  So I hope it doesn't deter readers at the beginning.  Once persevered, the book begins to flow beautifully and the story itself picks up as the primary soldier in question, Dan, comes home to his family.  I began to understand and to become immersed in the British setting at that point...  And, let me say that while the book is set in England, the story is universal.
My favorite character was Alex, Dan's wife, who struggled not only with being an Army wife trapped in the sandwich of a military wife's "duties" and mothering her own child(ren), but who also longed for self-realization apart from Dan's shadow.  This is the stuff of feminism.  And, Ms Trollope writes it so well.  The inner struggles and emotional pain Alex goes through just leeches from the pages, and scratches at the gut.  Her route to resolution; the way she gets there through her own efforts as well as her daughter's and greater "family" is a story that is just unforgettable.
To say that Ms Trollope is a writer strong in characterization would be an understatement.  Her work is obviously anchored with the research she speaks of in her videos on YouTube (which you can easily find~I've only given one segment above).  I've no doubt that these characters are composites of living people.  They have to be!  They live and breathe!  She is so adept at dialog and the subtle interchange, you feel you're a secret observer.
Having been the child of a military father, I can attest to the fact that this is an honest and true account on many sides of the feelings and workings of a military family.  There is the strong allegiance to the "boys club" and country that my father had, the loyalty and torn sense of responsibility of my mother, the frustrations of a girl such as myself growing up under the constraints of a life based on the dictations of my father's next assignment regardless of my wants and education.  Like "The Soldier's Wife," however, we each found our footing, and came to reconcile the life style, blending and breaking the stiff requirements to fit our own personal needs.  Coming out in the end with a broad sense of loyalty, love of country and richness of family.  Just like this fictitious family.
"The Soldier's Wife" is a bird's-eye-view of life in the home and heart of a soldier.  It's a strong one, a worthy one, and one you'd be captivated to read.
5 stars
Deborah/TheBookishDame
Here's Where You Can Find More On "The Soldier's Wife" :
You may want to purchase the book here: Amazon

3 comments:

Tribute Books

Deb, I'm delighted that you thoroughly enjoyed Joanna's book. Thanks for the beautifully written 5-star review!

Mariann at Belles Book Bag
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Carole

Hi there, the October edition of Books You Loved is live. Here is the link Books You Loved October Edition Please do pop by and link in a post about a book you loved. Maybe this one? Cheers

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