Saturday, July 14, 2012

The Soldier's Wife by Joanna Trollope

The Soldier's Wife

by Joanna Trollope

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Pages: 320

Book Summary
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.

My Thoughts
Although The Soldier's Wife is a work of fiction, I felt that it gives the reader a chance to see what the struggles are that a military family might go through.  It can be hard on the spouses, children, and extended family while the soldier is away.  Will their loved one be safe?  Will they come home alive and in one piece?  It's a waiting game that can be full of anxiety and worry when a loved one is off to war.  The flip side of that is when the soldier comes home.  With the joy can be a whole other set of worries and anxieties.  Will the transition of melding back into a family be a smooth one?  How much will each person have changed?  Will the family be making another move, to who knows where?

I found The Soldier's Wife a hard book to put down.  The characters drew me into the story and into their lives.  I kept wanting to tell Dan and Alexa to sit down and talk to each other.  You can't make the marriage work if you don't make the time to talk and share about your lives.  And poor Isabel.  She didn't want to be at boarding school, so she chose to run away.  She just wanted to be home with her family.  And still her parents didn't get it.  They sent her back!  There are other people in The Soldier's Wife, such as Alexa's friend Jack, and Dan's father and grandfather.  They just want to see Dan and Alexa work things out for the better.

At the end of the book, there is a section of Topics & Questions For Discussion, Enhancing Your Book Club, and A Conversation With Joanna Trollope.

This was the first book of Joanna Trollope's that I have read, but it won't be the last.  I enjoyed reading The Soldier's Wife and I would recommend it to others.

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.


Linda Jackson said...

Thanks, Susanne. This sounds like something I'd be interested in reading. I'll have to check it out. :)

Susanne Drazic said...

Hi, Linda! Thanks for stopping by.

ali cross said...

Wow Joanna is a beautiful woman. The book sounds lovely. Thanks for sharing!

Beverly Stowe McClure said...

What a touching story. I imagine being separated for such long periods would take its toll on a family. A nice review, Susanne.

Congratuatlions on your novel, Joanna.

Joylene Nowell Butler said...

This was fascinating and poignant. Our son is a sergeant in the Army. Thank you, Susanne and Joanna.

Kimberly said...

It is really tough sometimes for the military spouses, whether they are the wife or the husband - :) This sounds like a really great book. Thanks for sharing this review.

Lynda R Young said...

This sounds like a great book

Susanne Drazic said...

Hello! I want to thank all of you for stopping by to check out the post. If you get a chance to read THE SOLDIER'S WIFE, stop by and let me know what you think.

Tribute Books said...

Susanne, thanks for the lovely review. I'm glad you enjoyed Joanna's book and found it hard to put down. And the comments from your blog readers are just wonderful!

Sherry Ellis said...

I bet it's really hard to be in a military family. This book sounds like it gives a good glimpse of what it's like.


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