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In The Dutch Wife, the main character, Marijke says, “I promised myself I would do whatever it took to make it through the war alive.” The concept of doing whatever it takes, just to survive and not knowing how long until freedom will return is terrifying, and thankfully foreign to us. The storyline is original and a concept most people would shy away from. Have you ever thought about the existence of brothels at the concentration camps? I know I hadn’t, but it makes sense.
The story bounces between three characters: Marijke and Karl in 1940s Germany and Luciano in 1970s Argentina. The first two are in the midst of the Nazi’s reign of terror and Luciano is caught up in the Argentine Dirty War. While Marijke is a political prisoner in a concentration camp, Karl is a Nazi. The Dutch Wife, while not in any way condoning the atrocities committed by the Nazis, somehow humanizes Karl. He is still evil, but with a backstory of how one could end up where he did. Luciano is a political prisoner, like Marijke. He’s connected in a very apropos way.
I give The Dutch Wife 3 stars. Amazon has it at 3.5. It is a good, original book. As far as WWII historical fiction is concerned, my favorite is The Nightingale. I have All the Light We Cannot See in my pile of books, and I’m looking forward to reading it. What’s one of your favorite WWII novels?