Don’t Miss Ellen Keith’s Novel–The Dutch Wife–Coming 9/4/18
The Dutch Wife is a well-crafted, riveting, and haunting novel. It held me captive from the very first page. There are two stories which run parallel in this book, with different timelines. The first story takes place in Germany during WWII, and involves, a political prisoner, Marijke, and the Schutzhaftagerfuhrer for Buchenwald, Karl Muller. And, the second timeline, is in Argentina, during the Dirty War, involving, a University student, Luciano Wagner.
In Amsterdam, Marijke de Graaf, and her husband, Theo, were arrested for taking part in the resistance against the Third Reich. The two of them were considered political prisoners and sent to different camps. Because Marijke was beautiful, she was given the choice of working in a brothel at Buchenwald, or staying where she was, and possibly not surviving the work camp. She chose the brothel. Initially, she was hoping to see her husband at Buchenwald. But as time went on, Marijke felt more and more ashamed, for prostituting herself, and for her growing attachment to Karl Muller, the Schuzhaftagerfuhrer.
The parallel story in this book, takes place in Argentina, during the 1970s. Anyone in Argentina who was discovered, speaking out, against the government, disappeared. Luciano Wagner, a University student, was arrested for attending a resistance rally. He became one of many students who were kidnapped by the military and tortured. I didn’t know much about the Dirty War, so the details shocked me. The torture that took place was hideous, heartbreaking and haunting.
Although I was totally engrossed in this novel, and highly recommend reading it; switching back and forth, between Germany, 1943, and Argentina, 1977, in my opinion, took away from the book. The two parallel stories do come together, however, in the end. The Dutch Wife is a compelling read, realistically graphic, engrossing, and well-researched.
Thank you, Harlequin and NetGalley, for my advanced review copy. I loved it.
~4.5 out of 5 stars~
Bio (from author’s page on Amazon)
Winner of the HarperCollins/UBC Prize for Best New Fiction, Ellen Keith is a Canadian writer and a recent graduate of the University of British Columbia’s MFA program in creative writing. Her work has appeared in publications such as the New Quarterly and the Globe and Mail. She currently lives in Amsterdam.