Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Review for The Prisoner's Wife by Maggie Brookes

The Prisoner's Wife

publication: May 26th 2020 by Berkley Books

Inspired by the true story of a daring deception that plunges a courageous young woman deep into the horrors of a Nazi POW camp to be with the man she loves.

In the dead of night, a Czech farm girl and a British soldier travel through the countryside. Izabela and prisoner of war Bill have secretly married and are on the run, with Izzy dressed as a man. The young husband and wife evade capture for as long as possible--until they are cornered by Nazi soldiers with tracking dogs.

Izzy's disguise works. The couple are assumed to be escaped British soldiers and transported to a POW camp. However, their ordeal has just begun, as they face appalling living conditions and the constant fear of Izzy's exposure. But in the midst of danger and deprivation comes hope, for the young couple are befriended by a small group of fellow prisoners. These men become their new family, willing to jeopardize their lives to save Izzy from being discovered and shot.

The Prisoner's Wife tells of an incredible risk, and of how our deepest bonds are tested in desperate times. Bill and Izzy's story is one of love and survival against the darkest odds.

My Thoughts…

I could not stop reading.   The story is set in an era I love but it has the unique twist of being told from a POW, a woman POW.   The even bigger twist is that the woman POW must pretend to be a man for her entire time being in the POW camp.    Can you even imagine all that must entail?  Hiding your womanly shape and features, not growing hair (shaving) as a man would, and dealing with your period when it arrives.    I cannot even imagine all the Izzy went through just to stay alive and with her husband.  

The characters of Bill and Izzy were perfect for the story.   They met each other under difficult, to say the least, circumstances.   They fell in love without knowing a lot about each other.  They took risks to stay together and their love grew stronger.    They learned about each other in times that did not allow them to have discussions, to fight and have time to cool off, they had to stay calm and stay together to stay alive.   

The Prisoner’s Wife is a phenomenal historical story.   It shows the life POW’s lived, it showed how love can be achieved even during war, and it showed how strong women and men were forced to be just to stay alive during WWII.   I would have loved an epilogue with a glimpse into the future of Mr. and Mrs. Bill King and see how the lived after the war was over. 

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Meet Maggie Brookes
Maggie Brookes is a British ex-journalist and BBC television producer turned poet and novelist.
The Prisoner’s Wife is based on an extraordinary true story of love and courage, told to her by an ex-WW2 prisoner of war. Maggie visited the Czech Republic, Poland and Germany as part of her research for the book, learning largely forgotten aspects of the war.
The Prisoner’s Wife is due to be published by imprints of Penguin Random House in the UK and in the US in May 2020. Publication in other countries, including Holland, Italy, Portugal, Hungary, Poland and the Czech Republic will follow.
As well as being a writer, Maggie is an advisory fellow for the Royal Literary Fund and also an Associate Professor at Middlesex University, London, England, where she has taught creative writing since 1990. She lives in London and Whitstable, Kent and is married, with two grown-up daughters.

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