Vivienne de la Mare knew that life is not easy during the war times, especially when she has two young daughters and an ailing mother-in-law to take care of. Before the German soldiers invaded their town, she and her daughters are supposed to have left for London but Vivienne chicken out at the last minute after seeing so many people squeezed into the small ferry and that they had to travel under bad weather. Knowing that she has no choice but to stay, she grits her teeth and continues her life back at her countryside home.
When a few German soldiers take up residence in the house next door to hers, she thought that as long as they remain low profile and discreet, then they would be safe but alas she never expect that she would fall in love with Gunther Lehmann, a German captain who is not only their enemy but also one who has a family like her too.
Vivienne knew she is not supposed to love this man, but her relationship with her husband has already turned cold way before he has gone off to war. Plus, Vivienne feels connected with Gunther and she has never felt so lively with a man, at least not with her husband. So there begins their secret affair, and Vivienne now has to face another fear aside from the war - for being discovered by her family and the community.
Life continues until a day her young daughter told her about a 'ghost' she met - a prisoner who has escaped from a Nazi work camp. Either feeling sorry for the prisoner or having guilty conscious for falling in love with the enemy, she decides to help the prisoner by giving him food and a place to stay, without the knowledge to anyone except her young daughter. It is at this time that she questions herself and wonder how much she could trust Gunther.
Filled with intensity and emotions, The Soldier's Wife is one of the best fictions I read this year to date. Aside from the writing, the setting in Guernsey interest me as I don't think I have ever read a story set in that place before (yes, I should consider reading The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society) and on top of that, both the plot and the characterisations are riveting and at times, I wasn't sure if I should feel angry or sympathy towards Vivienne. She isn't a strong heroine in my opinion (i.e.her indecisiveness) ; but the good thing is, she is a compassionate person.
The scenes about her relationships between her two young daughters and her ailing mother-in-law are another highlight of this story. Through Vivienne's eyes, I understand how difficult it would be to be the only family member to take charge of the household. And finally, how would one justify her relationship with Gunther? It sounds wrong to fall in love with your enemy, but from another point, he is just an ordinary man, only with a wrong nationality. So what is Vivienne to do? I suppose you have to read this book yourself to find out, but I just want to say the ending ends well with me.