The Prisoner's Wife
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.

The Prisoner's Wife Details

TitleThe Prisoner's Wife
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseMay 26th, 2020
PublisherBerkley Books
ISBN-139780593197752
Rating
GenreHistorical, Historical Fiction, Fiction, War, World War II

The Prisoner's Wife Review

  • Denise
    January 1, 1970
    I haven't read any historical fiction books in quite some time (especially WWII books, as they all start to blend together after awhile), but The Prisoner's Wife was a great book to remind me why I really do love this genre.The storyline, which is based on a true story, centers around Izzy, a Czech farm girl, and Bill, a British POW who comes to work on her family's farm. They fall in love and secretly marry when her mother is out of town. Izzy refuses to leave Bill, so in order to be together, I haven't read any historical fiction books in quite some time (especially WWII books, as they all start to blend together after awhile), but The Prisoner's Wife was a great book to remind me why I really do love this genre.The storyline, which is based on a true story, centers around Izzy, a Czech farm girl, and Bill, a British POW who comes to work on her family's farm. They fall in love and secretly marry when her mother is out of town. Izzy refuses to leave Bill, so in order to be together, Izzy cuts her hair and dresses like a man. They manage to evade capture for a couple of weeks, but eventually they are cornered by Nazi soldiers and transported to a POW camp. In the POW camp, they face appalling living conditions and constant fear that Izzy will be exposured. To try and keep Izzy safe, Bill confides in a small group of fellow prisoners, and the two are befriended by the group (for the most part). These men become their new family, and are even willing to jeopardize their lives to save Izzy from being discovered, as women who were caught disguised as men in POW camps were deemed spies and shot. The couple faces extreme starvation and cruelty when they are moved to other camps and are forced to walk hundreds of miles in the dead of winter. The book goes into great depth in describing the hardships POWs endured during WWII. I was fully immersed in the storyline and read incessantly just to find out what happened to Bill and Izzy. My only criticism of the book was the ending, as I would have loved an epilogue that went a number of years in the future to update the reader on what happened after the war ended.In the end though, it is an incredible story of love, risk, and of how the deepest bonds are tested in desperate times. So worth the read for any historical fiction fans out there. 4 stars.
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  • Karren Sandercock
    January 1, 1970
    In 1944, Izabela is living on the family farm in Vrazne in Czechoslovakia, with her mother and little brother Marek. Her father has left the farm with her older brother Jan and are both fighting with the Czechoslovakia resistance. One day theres a knock on the door, its a Nazi Officer they nickname Captain Oily and hes organized prisoners of war to help harvest the families hay. The following morning five POWs along with a guard arrive at the farm, its hard work swinging a scythe and its hot. In 1944, Izabela is living on the family farm in Vrazne in Czechoslovakia, with her mother and little brother Marek. Her father has left the farm with her older brother Jan and are both fighting with the Czechoslovakia resistance. One day there’s a knock on the door, it’s a Nazi Officer they nickname Captain Oily and he’s organized prisoners of war to help harvest the families hay. The following morning five POW’s along with a guard arrive at the farm, its hard work swinging a scythe and it’s hot. Izzy and her mum notice how thin all the POW’s are, they give them food, water and the guard doesn’t care if they eat or not!Bill an English soldier and Izzy quickly fall in love, it’s basically love at first sight and Izzy’s mum is very concerned about her daughters welfare. Ezabela’s mum needs to leave the farm to help a relative who is having a baby, Bill and Izzy have made secret plans to marry, once married they plan to escape and leave. They make the choice to hit the road, the plan is for Izzy to dress as a boy, change her name to Cousins and pretend she is mute. It doesn’t take long for the couple to realize that life on the road is going to be hard; Izzy misses her family, they need to hide, walk when they can and are sleeping rough. Izzy and Bill are soon captured, the guards use tracking dogs to find them, there taken to a POW work camp, if anyone discovers Izzy true gender she could be shot as a spy, she’s very vulnerable and nervous.Fellow prisoners help to keep her identity a secret, as it’s exhausting for Bill to do this alone and they make friends among their fellow inmates. The story is based on how the captured group of POW’s survive being prisoners of war deep in German territory, together they face many hardship, forced to do back breaking hard labor, being constantly hungry, freezing cold, they become filthy, sick, infested with lice, moved from one camp to another and being sent on dangerous long death marches. Despite all the challenges, Bill and Izzy’s love for one other never changes and it grows stronger. The friendships they make with their fellow POW’s, and the unbreakable bond formed between them all, how they all look after each other is truly inspiring and a tribute to humanity.Based on a true story, The Prisoner’s Wife by Maggie Brookes is a brilliant historical fiction book, I highly recommend reading it and I gave it five stars. I have shared my review on Edelweiss, Goodreads, Twitter, Australian Amazon and my blog. https://karrenreadsbooks.blogspot.com/
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  • Deborah
    January 1, 1970
    When I began reading this book, I thought the story could not possibly be believable. Yet the writing grabbed me and I could not put the book down. I wanted to know what happened to the characters- would they survive? If they did survive, how would they do so? Knowing that the author based the book on details she had learned from a WWII survivor helped suspend some of my initial disbelief. The author's research was apparent in the historical accuracy. The Prisoner's Wife is good historical When I began reading this book, I thought the story could not possibly be believable. Yet the writing grabbed me and I could not put the book down. I wanted to know what happened to the characters- would they survive? If they did survive, how would they do so? Knowing that the author based the book on details she had learned from a WWII survivor helped suspend some of my initial disbelief. The author's research was apparent in the historical accuracy. The Prisoner's Wife is good historical fiction.I was given an ARC of The Prisoner's Wife by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Kori Sulewski (korireads)
    January 1, 1970
    When I first read the synopsis of this, I was a little bit uncertain that the story would turn out to be believable but oh my goodness, it was! I was completely hooked from page one. It tells the story of a Czech farm girl (Izzy) and British prisoner (Bill) during WWII who fall in love, run away together, and then are caught by Nazis and transferred to a Nazi POW camp. The catch? Izzy is dressed as a boy and has to keep her disguise hidden for months amidst truly horrifying camp conditions. I When I first read the synopsis of this, I was a little bit uncertain that the story would turn out to be believable but oh my goodness, it was! I was completely hooked from page one. It tells the story of a Czech farm girl (Izzy) and British prisoner (Bill) during WWII who fall in love, run away together, and then are caught by Nazis and transferred to a Nazi POW camp. The catch? Izzy is dressed as a boy and has to keep her disguise hidden for months amidst truly horrifying camp conditions. I was in awe of Izzy’s strength and also of the bravery and kindness of the group of prisoners who worked together to keep her identity hidden.This book is inspired by a true story and I think that’s what really got me. I couldn’t imagine! I think it will stick with me for a very long time. I was enthralled by the entire story.My only complaint is with the ending. I wanted MORE! More closure, more details, more words. It just ended too abruptly for me.It also took a little bit to get used to Izzy’s voice, but pretty quickly I was 100% rooting for her and Bill.Thank you Berkeley Pub for sending me an ARC!
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  • Sherwood Smith
    January 1, 1970
    Though I've read a great deal of history, there are some periods about which I tend to shy away from fiction, among them World Wars I and II. The marketing material accompanying this novel emphasized how it was based on a true story, so I assayed it.I'm not sorry. Once we got past the early portion, in which teenage Izzy, living on a Czech farm during occupation, falls in lust, er, love, with English POW Bill and marries him out of hand, the novel becomes really absorbing. The two take off, are Though I've read a great deal of history, there are some periods about which I tend to shy away from fiction, among them World Wars I and II. The marketing material accompanying this novel emphasized how it was based on a true story, so I assayed it.I'm not sorry. Once we got past the early portion, in which teenage Izzy, living on a Czech farm during occupation, falls in lust, er, love, with English POW Bill and marries him out of hand, the novel becomes really absorbing. The two take off, are captured, and the rest of the book focuses on their surviving--Izzy disguised as a man--in prisoner of war camps, before they join the infamous Long March to Freedom.The author makes clear in the afterword that her novel is based on a story told in reminiscence by an old vet, who insisted that someone in one of his POW camps had a wife living there as a man. He couldn't remember their names. The rest was research on the part of Brookes. Diligent research--except for tiny glitches like the German omitting caps of nouns, the background matches facts and attitudes I've been reading for decades.The complex main characters are drawn with verisimilitude, and though there are a couple of scenes that feel a bit novelistic, they do contribute to the high tension and keep those pages turning. Brookes vividly developed the physical stresses of the characters' experience, and the emotional fallout. It kept me reading until quite late.Copy provided by NetGalley
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  • Elizabeth of Silver's Reviews
    January 1, 1970
    FULL REVIEW WILL BE ON MAY 26.Izabela and Bill were destined to meet, but did Izabela realize what she was getting herself and Bill into when she rushed the marriage and escaped the farm she had known for her entire life?Her plans were to marry Bill, find her father and brother, and join the resistance, but the Germans had other plans for them.They were captured and sent to Lamsdorf Prison where Izzy had to hide that she was a woman.Historical fiction fans will be completely absorbed in this FULL REVIEW WILL BE ON MAY 26.Izabela and Bill were destined to meet, but did Izabela realize what she was getting herself and Bill into when she rushed the marriage and escaped the farm she had known for her entire life?Her plans were to marry Bill, find her father and brother, and join the resistance, but the Germans had other plans for them.They were captured and sent to Lamsdorf Prison where Izzy had to hide that she was a woman.Historical fiction fans will be completely absorbed in this book that gives yet another look at what suffering went on during WWII.THE PRISONER'S WIFE is a beautiful but heartbreaking book.A MUST READ!!  5/5
This book was given to me by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Renee
    January 1, 1970
    An exciting tale of love and survival amidst horrible circumstances. At the center of this page-turner is the pure-hearted, resilient Izzy, a stubborn, wise, yet innocent character, who strongly brought to mind Annie from Betty Smiths Joy in the Morning. I loved how Bill and the other men guarded Izzys secret and protected her. This is not exactly a sweet storythe author presents the crudeness of the mens language, terminology, and actions as they might have been. But it is poignant and An exciting tale of love and survival amidst horrible circumstances. At the center of this page-turner is the pure-hearted, resilient Izzy, a stubborn, wise, yet innocent character, who strongly brought to mind Annie from Betty Smith’s Joy in the Morning. I loved how Bill and the other men guarded Izzy’s secret and protected her. This is not exactly a sweet story—the author presents the crudeness of the men’s language, terminology, and actions as they might have been. But it is poignant and victorious. An author to watch!
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  • Pavlina Read more sleep less blog❤❤
    January 1, 1970
    I cannot wait to start it!!    
  • Dianne
    January 1, 1970
    A heartbreaking story of how far a woman will go to be with the man she loves during one of the darkest and most vile times in human history, World War II as the Nazis mow down and capture warriors and innocents alike, sending them to the hell of POW camps.Fiction based on a true story of one young womans deception and those around her who helped keep her alive as she poses as a man to be with her soldier husband. THE PRISONERS WIFE by Maggie Brookes is a testament to the power of love and A heartbreaking story of how far a woman will go to be with the man she loves during one of the darkest and most vile times in human history, World War II as the Nazis mow down and capture warriors and innocents alike, sending them to the hell of POW camps.Fiction based on a true story of one young woman’s deception and those around her who helped keep her alive as she poses as a man to be with her soldier husband. THE PRISONER’S WIFE by Maggie Brookes is a testament to the power of love and determination, aided by sheer luck and possible the hands of Fate. Feel as if you are there, feel the brutal cold, the seemingly impossible conditions that thousands endured and realize what a monument to the resiliency of humanity against the odds as the love between an English soldier and a farm girl from Czechoslovakia propel her to risk discovery and death. Ask yourselves, could YOU do this?The action is not-fast-paced, this isn’t an adventure story, it is a story of survival against the odds. Often brutal, that it is based on reality is a chilling prospect as we cannot help but cheer this couple on.Fabulous reading! Highly recommended, a humanized version of history we can only hope never to repeat.I received a complimentary ARC edition from Berkley Books! This is my honest and voluntary review.Publisher: Berkley (May 26, 2020)Publication Date: May 26, 2020Genre: Historical FictionPages: 400Available from: Amazon | Barnes & NobleFor Reviews, Giveaways, Fabulous Book News, follow: http://tometender.blogspot.com
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  • ☕️Kimberly
    January 1, 1970
    Full RTC
  • Sally Lindsay-briggs
    January 1, 1970
    This should have received more than 5 stars. A very intriguing, gritty, and poignant story of two people who loved each other so much that Izzy was willing to run away from home. She and her newly married husband (who is a British P.O.W.) escape. Their capture and harrowing life (Izzy has to be a mute man so she won't be discovered) are based on a true story. They portray the unspeakable and horrible conditions in Hitler's WWII labor camps. The book is almost impossible to stop reading. Bravo This should have received more than 5 stars. A very intriguing, gritty, and poignant story of two people who loved each other so much that Izzy was willing to run away from home. She and her newly married husband (who is a British P.O.W.) escape. Their capture and harrowing life (Izzy has to be a mute man so she won't be discovered) are based on a true story. They portray the unspeakable and horrible conditions in Hitler's WWII labor camps. The book is almost impossible to stop reading. Bravo Maggie Brookes! I received this book from Goodreads, thank you Penguin Random House.
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  • Linda Zagon
    January 1, 1970
    Linda' Book Obsession Reviews "The Prisoner's Wife: by Maggie Brookes, Berkley Publishing, May 2020Maggie Brookes, Author of "The Prisoner's Wife" has written a unique, memorable, poignant, intense, captivating, and riveting novel. The Genres for this Novel are Historical Fiction and Fiction. The author is basing this novel on a true story, and using poetic license, filling in certain fictional details. The timeline for this story is during World War Two. The story begins in Czechoslovakia and Linda' Book Obsession Reviews "The Prisoner's Wife: by Maggie Brookes, Berkley Publishing, May 2020Maggie Brookes, Author of "The Prisoner's Wife" has written a unique, memorable, poignant, intense, captivating, and riveting novel. The Genres for this Novel are Historical Fiction and Fiction. The author is basing this novel on a true story, and using poetic license, filling in certain fictional details. The timeline for this story is during World War Two. The story begins in Czechoslovakia and goes to surrounding areas. The author describes her characters as complex, and complicated. Some are courageous, moral and brave. Others are mean spirited and evil. There is loyalty and betrayal.Bill is an English soldier, that has been captured and is a Prisoner of War and being used with the other men on farms in Czechoslovakia to do the heavy work. Izzy is a young woman helping her mother run the farm and falls in love with Bill. Izzy's mother is concerned about the War and has mentioned to Izzy, that it would be a good idea for Izzy to cut her hair and dress like a boy, so hopefully, any soldiers would leave her alone.Izzy and Bill marry and are planning to run away together. They are both captured by the Germans. Izzy decides to pass herself off as a young man. Bill realizes that he is going to have to trust some of the other male prisoners to protect her. Some of these prisoners are risking their own lives to protect Izzy's identity. If Izzy is found, she will be shot. Not everyone can be trusted. These are German soldiers, and this is set during World War Two.The author vividly describes the events and the characters. This is a very edgy and tense read. I would highly recommend this book for readers who like World War Two Historical Fiction.
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  • Lori
    January 1, 1970
    I received a copy of this book from the goodreads, giveaway. This book is based on two real life people. It takes place in Europe starting at a Czech farm. Isabel is a farm girl helping her mother work on the farm while her father and older brother are taken away during the Holocaust. It is 1944 when a group of prisoners are brought to help tend to the farm. Bill is one of the prisoners. Izabela and Bill quickly fall in love. They secretly marry and are on the run, until they are tracked down I received a copy of this book from the goodreads, giveaway. This book is based on two real life people. It takes place in Europe starting at a Czech farm. Isabel is a farm girl helping her mother work on the farm while her father and older brother are taken away during the Holocaust. It is 1944 when a group of prisoners are brought to help tend to the farm. Bill is one of the prisoners. Izabela and Bill quickly fall in love. They secretly marry and are on the run, until they are tracked down and caught. They are now both prisoners of the Nazi's. to stay together Izabela disguises herself as a male officer. From fall of 1944 until the end of the war Izabela dresses as a male. Bill and a few of the other officers help to hide her secret. For the next six months they endure cruelty, starvation and then a two month drive to be forced to walk 500 miles in winter. This book is one of fiction since to author wrote to imagine what it must have been like for the characters. But is it based on a real story about a young woman who disguised herself as a male to be with her husband. Good story!
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  • Meghan
    January 1, 1970
    This book was received as an ARC from Berkley Publishing Group in exchange for an honest review. Opinions and thoughts expressed in this review are completely my own.My jaw was wide open throughout the entire book plus if you want to get your heart racing with some historical fiction, this is the book to do it. The story behind Izzy and Bill was so breathtakingly risky that out of all the historical fiction novels I have written focusing on couples and romance, this one really tugged at my heart This book was received as an ARC from Berkley Publishing Group in exchange for an honest review. Opinions and thoughts expressed in this review are completely my own.My jaw was wide open throughout the entire book plus if you want to get your heart racing with some historical fiction, this is the book to do it. The story behind Izzy and Bill was so breathtakingly risky that out of all the historical fiction novels I have written focusing on couples and romance, this one really tugged at my heart strings. They used their love as strength and that is what brilliantly got them through disguising Izzy as a man to plan their greatest escape. Meeting a group of prisoners created more people to protect Izzy from being exposed and killed. This book made me feel the power of strength and the bond of family to get you through anything! I know this book will do very well at our library and our book club will can't get enough of it.We will consider adding this title to our Historical Fiction collection at our library. That is why we give this book 5 stars.
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  • Karen Cole
    January 1, 1970
    The description for The Prisoner's Wife almost sounds too incredible but as author, Maggie Brookes explains in her notes, it is based on a remarkable true story. The characters, including Izabela and Bill are invented but the exemplary historical details and the excellent sense of place ensures the novel feels utterly authentic throughout.Izabela is Czechoslovakian and lives with mother, and younger brother, Marek. Her father and older brother left to join the Partisans, leaving them to run the The description for The Prisoner's Wife almost sounds too incredible but as author, Maggie Brookes explains in her notes, it is based on a remarkable true story. The characters, including Izabela and Bill are invented but the exemplary historical details and the excellent sense of place ensures the novel feels utterly authentic throughout.Izabela is Czechoslovakian and lives with mother, and younger brother, Marek. Her father and older brother left to join the Partisans, leaving them to run the family farm. When a German officer suggests he can supply a group of POWs to work on the farm, they know it's an offer they cannot afford to refuse and not just because they desperately need the extra hands to help cut the hay. Bill has been a prisoner since being captured in Tobruk in 1941 and it's humbling to read the brief description of his wartime experiences - like so many young men he joined up on a whim, with little idea of the horrors he would face. Having spent time in camps in North Africa and Italy, he is eventually sent to Lamsdorf in Poland where he and his mate, Harry become part of the huge forced labour workforce of Allied prisoners-of-war sent out to work in factories, mines, quarries and forests for the Third Reich. When he and Izabela first set eyes on one another, it's almost love at first sight - much to the concern of her watchful, perceptive mother.The speed at which their relationship develops may seem excessive these days but at a time when people didn't know when or for how long they would be separated, or even whether the day might be their last, it wasn't so unusual or surprising for couples to fall in love quickly. In 1944, the Nazis are being pushed back in Eastern Europe but the Russians are coming and throughout the book, the very real fear of what they are capable of, and what atrocities they might commit - particularly towards women - is almost palpable. As the passion grows between the pair, their plan might seem foolhardy or dangerous but Maggie Brookes' powerful depiction of their blossoming love means it's easy to understand why they decide they need to risk such a drastic course of action.The narrative switches throughout the book between Izzy's first-person perspective giving readers a close, intensely personal sense of what she went through, and the third-person chapters which provide a wider view of both her and Bill's experiences. There are necessarily a number of tense and distressing scenes here; the ever-present danger of their extraordinary circumstances and the dreadful treatment of prisoners isn't something which should be glossed over but there are several deeply touching moments too. The small group of prisoners whom Bill and Izzy take into their confidence and rely on to keep their secret safe - particularly Ralph, Max and Scotty are so vividly brought to life and their immense courage ensured I grew to care about them all. The small but important acts of generosity and kindness described throughout the novel serve as vital reminders that hope can still be found even when it all seems almost impossible.The Prisoner's Wife is a harrowing read at times but although it is a frank exploration of the worst of humanity, it also reveals the best of people too, and is ultimately a reminder that love - both romantic and that between friends can survive and flourish in even the darkest of times. Without giving anything away, I would love a sequel to discover what happened to some of these characters whose lives I became so invested in. Maggie Brookes has written a well-researched, compelling and emotive story; I thoroughly enjoyed it.
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  • Chelsie
    January 1, 1970
    I have read LOTS to WWII novels, and every single time I read one, I still cannot fathom and grasp what they went through and how they survived. The will power and strength these people endured, is just unfathomable and The Prisoner's Wife is another example of those hero's.Izzy is a Czech farm girl, helping her mother and brother to keep things running. As her father and other brother left to help fight the war. One day, a man brings a group of POA's to help her mother get the crops completed I have read LOTS to WWII novels, and every single time I read one, I still cannot fathom and grasp what they went through and how they survived. The will power and strength these people endured, is just unfathomable and The Prisoner's Wife is another example of those hero's.Izzy is a Czech farm girl, helping her mother and brother to keep things running. As her father and other brother left to help fight the war. One day, a man brings a group of POA's to help her mother get the crops completed before winter settles in. Izzy eye's these prisoners up and doesn't understand what is so bad about them. They seem nice enough, do what is asked and they are grateful for the food and water. What could they have done that was so bad.As they come, day after day Izzy falls for one of them, Bill. Her mother has seen the glances and smiles between the two and tries to warn Izzy off. But on the verge of womanhood, Izzy thinks that no one knows anything about her feelings for Bill and that he feels the same back. After weeks of meeting up at night, and each one sneaking to see the other, she hatches a plan to be with Bill.The two run off, and quietly get married in secret after Izzy having called in a favor for them to be rightfully married in the eyes of God. The two of them then take off together, Izzy is determined to find and meet up with her brother and father. They can then help with the resistance.Soon enough, their lives are in danger, and a plan is hatched. Izzy will have to act as a male. No one can know she is a female, let alone married to a POA. She will be shot with no questions asked. Bill realizes that he has to let others in on the secret, as he cannot protect her himself 24/7. She is terrified that this is not a good idea, and that she will then be found out. Surprisingly these men all agree to keep the secret and help keep her safe.They inspire to have her courage, and look up to her. Izzy becomes known as a mute who has shell shock. She no longer speaks and Bill does everything on her behalf. Often the other men step in to make a diversion if someone is getting too inquisitive or handsy with her.This is the story of how Izzy and Bill kept their promises of always being together, and to never leave the other no matter what. Where there was a will, there was a way and these two defied the odds and beat a lot of other's in believing what they wanted them to believe about Izzy. This story really is remarkable!
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  • Erin
    January 1, 1970
    The Prisoner's Wife by Maggie Brookes is a 2020 publications from Penguin Random House LLC Berkley.-----------------------------I won this book through Goodreads as an advanced readers copy. I was very excited to get it as WW2 fascinates me and the premise of the story sounded amazing.The back cover reads; Inspired by the true story of a daring deception that plunges a courageous young women deep into the horrors of a Nazi POW camp to be with the man she loves. Who wouldn't want to read about The Prisoner's Wife by Maggie Brookes is a 2020 publications from Penguin Random House LLC Berkley.-----------------------------I won this book through Goodreads as an advanced readers copy. I was very excited to get it as WW2 fascinates me and the premise of the story sounded amazing.The back cover reads; Inspired by the true story of a daring deception that plunges a courageous young women deep into the horrors of a Nazi POW camp to be with the man she loves. Who wouldn't want to read about that? The prologue is a page and a half of the action of what is to come later in the book and once you read that it is hard to put the book down. The story takes place from October of 1944 to March of 1945, it is amazing how much can happen in a short period of time. From disguises to running to ending up in Lamsdorf POW camp to working at a quarry to taking the Long March across Europe and into Germany to end at another POW camp all in the dead of winter in a harsh climate.It starts with meeting the young women, Izzy, and her family and not long after you meet the man (Bill) whom she falls in love with. It is a riveting tale where you meet men that could be your own brother. You feel their hunger and their despair. You start to love these characters as if they were your own family. I thoroughly enjoyed most of the story. The reason for 4 stars instead of 5 is because of the ending. I felt that the ending with the two main characters was very abrupt and seemed a little odd.While I was reading I couldn't wait to get to the Author's Notes to find out what the names of these people actually were so that I could do research of my own. I unfortunately found out that the story was told to the author second hand by someone she meet in the lift and that with his declining health and old age he couldn't actually remember their names. Never the less the story of these people feels so real that you could almost believe that it could have been your own grandparents.
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  • Susan McGrath
    January 1, 1970
    I received an Advance Reading Copy of The Prisoners Wife by Maggie Brookes from the publisher (Berkley) in exchange for an honest review. The Prisoners Wife is scheduled for release on May 26, 2020.The Prisoners Wife is a novel inspired by a true story. Brookes states in her note at the end of the book that while talking to an English POW during WWII, he told her about a woman who had hidden in their midst, in order to be with her husband. While Brookes did additional research, she was not able I received an Advance Reading Copy of The Prisoner’s Wife by Maggie Brookes from the publisher (Berkley) in exchange for an honest review. The Prisoner’s Wife is scheduled for release on May 26, 2020.The Prisoner’s Wife is a novel inspired by a true story. Brookes states in her note at the end of the book that while talking to an English POW during WWII, he told her about a woman who had hidden in their midst, in order to be with her husband. While Brookes did additional research, she was not able to identify the woman, or her husband, so the story presented in the novel is definitely fiction. Izzy is a young Czech woman working with her mother to keep their family farm running. A work crew made up of prisoners of war is sent to the farm, and Izzy falls in love with one of the men. She and Bill come up with a plan to be secretly married and for him to escape. They then intend to flee, with Izzy dressed as a boy to protect her if they are caught. They do indeed end up caught, and both are taken in as prisoners of war. Bill is himself, but Izzy is pretending to be a young British soldier. To maintain her secret, she cannot speak, as her tone and accent would reveal their lies.This was a very interesting premise, promising me a view of the war different from what I had seen before. To my surprise, I struggled to really get into the story. I kept reading, trying to figure out why I wasn’t being pulled in. Around 3/4 of the way through, I finally realized what two things were causing my struggle with the novel.The first issue for me was the focus of the plot. For the first 3/4 of the novel, the danger to Izzy is because she is a female. The situations described in the story, and the concerns revolve around her being a woman. As a reader, I wasn’t forced to worry for her as a prisoner of war, only as a woman. Given the overall situation of the novel, this put a layer of distance that kept me from engaging fully. I expected to be impacted by the war itself, not just the sex of the main character.The second issue for me was the choice of main character. The novel is written in first person, from the perspective of Izzy. While she is in the most unique situation of the characters in the novel, she is not a character who actually does much in the story. This novel is really about a group of men who keep a woman safe in a POW camp. I think the novel would have been much stronger if it were told from the perspective of her husband. We do get a few chapters in third person from his point of view. As he is doing a lot more to keep Izzy safe than she is, he would make a stronger narrator for a reader to follow.Overall, The Prisoner’s Wife had an interesting premise, with a different view of WWII than we are used to seeing. While I struggled a bit with the focus of the story (both main character and plot) I am curious if other readers had the same experience of the story. If you are drawn to historical fiction, I encourage you to read this one and let me know what you thought about the novel’s focus.
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  • Becky
    January 1, 1970
    THE PRISONERS WIFE by Maggie BrooksBased on a true story, THE PRISONERS WIFE tells of a Czech farm girl who falls in love with the British POW assigned to work on her familys farm. When it becomes apparent the POWs will be moved to another area, Izabela and Bill decide to marry and then have Izabela pose as a mute British soldier. The privations and terror of prison camps, hard forced labor, fear of discovery and then a forced march ahead of the Russian Army as the Germans face defeat make up THE PRISONER’S WIFE by Maggie BrooksBased on a true story, THE PRISONER’S WIFE tells of a Czech farm girl who falls in love with the British POW assigned to work on her family’s farm. When it becomes apparent the POW’s will be moved to another area, Izabela and Bill decide to marry and then have Izabela pose as a mute British soldier. The privations and terror of prison camps, hard forced labor, fear of discovery and then a forced march ahead of the Russian Army as the German’s face defeat make up the whole of the book.The characters are well defined and grow and change as time passes. Each of the POW’s is a complete and complex person. The guards are more “stock” characters. The situations are believable and grab your attention from the first pages. My one complaint is – I want to know the outcome of all the characters we have become so intimate with, what happened to them when the POW camps were disbanded and they returned to civilian life, were they able to achieve their desires as war’s end? My desire to lnow more confirms the writer’s ability to draw me in to each character’s story. Book groups might discuss the decision’s that were made, the morality of various deaths, the culpability of civilians, the actions of the guards, the treatment of POW’s in time of war, the endurance of the human spirit, etc.5 of 5 stars
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  • Donna Maguire
    January 1, 1970
    https://donnasbookblog.wordpress.com/...This was a superb story and I am so glad that I read it!I genuinely loved this story and the fact that it is based on a true story made it an even more enjoyable and poignant read for me. I have been reading an awful lot of non-fiction at the moment and I have been focussing partly on this era and from my reading this book was very true to what it would have been like at the time and that made it even more special, it almost felt as though I was getting a https://donnasbookblog.wordpress.com/...This was a superb story and I am so glad that I read it!I genuinely loved this story and the fact that it is based on a true story made it an even more enjoyable and poignant read for me. I have been reading an awful lot of non-fiction at the moment and I have been focussing partly on this era and from my reading this book was very true to what it would have been like at the time and that made it even more special, it almost felt as though I was getting a forbidden peak in to the lives of Bill and Izzy – the author has a fabulous writing style and way with words that brought the story to life for meI smiled, I fretted and worried for them and the author put me through the emotional ringer with the story more than once but it was one that I am so glad I read and the story will remain with me.It is 5 stars from me for this one, it was very well written, set at a brilliant pace and an addictive read – definitely recommending this one!!
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  • Beverly Carmichael
    January 1, 1970
    This book, based on a true story, is truly amazing! I couldn't put it down. It is the story of a married couple captured by Nazi soldiers during WWII. They enter a prisoner of war camp and with the help of a small group of fellow prisoners hide the fact that she is a woman. As they move to a work camp, there is new fear that she will be discovered. At that camp they are forced to break up pieces of granite for grave markers for Nazi soldiers. Then they are forced to march for many days without This book, based on a true story, is truly amazing! I couldn't put it down. It is the story of a married couple captured by Nazi soldiers during WWII. They enter a prisoner of war camp and with the help of a small group of fellow prisoners hide the fact that she is a woman. As they move to a work camp, there is new fear that she will be discovered. At that camp they are forced to break up pieces of granite for grave markers for Nazi soldiers. Then they are forced to march for many days without food or water to the next camp arriving there almost dead. Sometimes they are allowed one potato a day or a small hunk of bread. This is an amazing story of perseverance, grit and the will to live while helping each other survive.
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  • Debbie Whetstone Collinge
    January 1, 1970
    An absolutely marvelous book! I will make sure that I give this book to a relative back home to read(that's you, Candy!). I loved the story but hated it as well. I am interested in this time in history even though it breaks.my.heart.
  • Kristin
    January 1, 1970
    I won this book on a Goodreads first reads giveaway.I don't know what to say, other than I guess this wasn't my cup of tea.Can a story really claim to be "inspired by a true story" if there's no proof the two main characters actually existed except in the hearsay of an old solider, who can't even remember either of their names? Another problem, and probably my biggest, is that I didn't care at all for Izzy. For a 20 year old girl that grew up in that time period and on a farm where maturity and I won this book on a Goodreads first reads giveaway.I don't know what to say, other than I guess this wasn't my cup of tea.Can a story really claim to be "inspired by a true story" if there's no proof the two main characters actually existed except in the hearsay of an old solider, who can't even remember either of their names? Another problem, and probably my biggest, is that I didn't care at all for Izzy. For a 20 year old girl that grew up in that time period and on a farm where maturity and hard work are expected from a very young age, she had the maturity of a fifteen year old. She was selfish, quick tempered, and a bit of a rash idiot. Seeing how stern and blunt her mother was, I can't accept the excuse she was "sheltered". Her mother told her straight up what the Soviets were doing to women and girls they caught and Izzy basically scoffed at her. Until, of course, her husband told her the same thing four pages later, then suddenly the big bad Russians were terrifying. Again, emotional maturity of a rebelling fifteen year old. Not a 20 year old farm girl in an occupied nation.Another thing I didn't care for was the obvious political agenda. Oh yes, I'm sure an immature 20 year old girl hiding in a Nazi POW camp (who, if caught, could be raped, tortured, thrown into a real concentration camp, or subjected to experiments, a firing squad, hanging, or thrown to the Russians) is totally going focus almost solely on politics. What did said political agenda add to the story?Nothing.Rather than extending the insta-love at the beginning of the book (after swearing it wasn't love at first sight), or lengthening the amount of time they were on the run, or even focusing on day to day life surviving and Izzy's budding friendships with the men in the bunk, the author deflects and distracts with political talk to cover up that there is no story or plot in the middle half of the book. Izzy barely leaves their bunk. So rather than focusing on how hungry she is, how scared she is, what she would love to eat, or thinking about her mother and brother, or daydreaming about the future, or hell, even skipping the most of the camp altogether...we're treated to almost the entire middle of the book dedicated to politics.Almost every other page was pushing one particular political party. What political party? Doesn't matter, none of it was necessary and made the book feel like it was even dragged out than it already was. Almost the entire middle of the book could have been removed and the reader wouldn't have noticed anything missing.And yes, I do know the historical significance of the mentioned party to both Britain and Czech's reincarnation under a new occupied ruler. Still doesn't make almost the entire middle half of the book necessary, except to drag out and attempt to hide any character depth/maturity from Izzy or any of the soldiers in the bunk. It was just a cover to hide the fact there was literally no story to be had (just an author trying to meet a page count) in the middle part.I did like that the author based the "scenery" and many of the characters around the old soldier's memories of the actual places he had been a POW at and I did like that, unlike when Izzy was in the first camp, the author didn't flinch away from horrors and tribulation of The Long March to Freedom.Otherwise, this book just wasn't for me. I wish it had focused more on making defined characters and had more character growth and maturity instead of a political agenda to cover up that there was no story to be seen at the first POW camp.On a side note, I said "middle" way too much. Sorry.
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  • Kathryn at Book Ink Reivews
    January 1, 1970
    A copy of this review can be found at Book Ink Reviews.Thank you to Netgalley, Maggie Brookes, and Berkley Publishing Group for the free ARC in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed herein are my own.I wanted to adore Brookes' The Prisoner's Wife. While a historical fiction in its truest form, she shaped it around true events and was based on a true story told to her by an aging veteran.The novel focuses on Izzy. A Czech girl who fell in love with a British soldier during WWII A copy of this review can be found at Book Ink Reviews.Thank you to Netgalley, Maggie Brookes, and Berkley Publishing Group for the free ARC in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed herein are my own.I wanted to adore Brookes' The Prisoner's Wife. While a historical fiction in its truest form, she shaped it around true events and was based on a true story told to her by an aging veteran.The novel focuses on Izzy. A Czech girl who fell in love with a British soldier during WWII married him, and while dressed as a man to keep her safe became imprisoned at Lamsdorf with him.A harrowing tale, right? Except that it just seemed to lack something. The first part of the novel was instantaneous love. And I mean instant. Parts II and III got a bit long and at this point, I found myself not really wanting to pick it back up. But little parts stick out. How men help a young bride hide her period from Nazi guards. How men shield her so she can bathe. How men help her from rape. How men banded together--their only goal to keep her safe in a world where she was anything but and to sacrifice their own lives for it if necessary.Part IV was brilliant. The Long March is depicted without flinching at the gore and destruction. The novel took on meaning, grace, and strength. Izzy comes into her own and it ended as well as any WWII novel can end.Because of the golden nuggets through three quarters of the novel and the spectacularly done final part I ended up enjoying it as a whole.Fans of WWII, historical fiction, and young love will want to give this one a try.
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  • Judi Ross
    January 1, 1970
    Set against the backdrop of war, in the most devastating and dire conditions, mistreatment by sadistic guards, harsh weather and near starvation, Maggie Brooks tells a love story of maximum proportion. It is almost unbelievable, yet, this novel is based on a true story. To support this love story, Brooks conducted thorough research through interviews, documents, visits and tours to give us another World War II story from yet another perspective. Bill is a British POW and meets a young Set against the backdrop of war, in the most devastating and dire conditions, mistreatment by sadistic guards, harsh weather and near starvation, Maggie Brooks tells a love story of maximum proportion. It is almost unbelievable, yet, this novel is based on a true story. To support this love story, Brooks conducted thorough research through interviews, documents, visits and tours to give us another World War II story from yet another perspective. Bill is a British POW and meets a young Czechoslovakian woman. They fall in love, marry and run off to join the Partisans. They are captured by the enemy and thus begins their harrowing experiences as prisoners. The author writes with increasing tension, sometimes from Izzy’s point of view and sometimes from Bill’s. This heightens the emotion for the reader as you are able to feel what each of the main characters feels. Brookes also draws out some of the experiences a little long but the effect on the reader helps to understand the despair that the characters experience. The book is full of characters that the reader is rooting for.
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  • Ekta
    January 1, 1970
    A young couple take the biggest risk imaginable for love and end up in a series of Nazi POW camps. With a terrible secret that could subject them to the worst of Nazi oppression, the two find a group of friends to help them survive. Author Maggie Brookes puts her documentary expertise to work at the slow-to-start but ultimately gripping novel The Prisoners Wife.In Czechoslovakia in 1944, Izabela is restless on her familys farm. The previous year, during their work for the resistance, her father A young couple take the biggest risk imaginable for love and end up in a series of Nazi POW camps. With a terrible secret that could subject them to the worst of Nazi oppression, the two find a group of friends to help them survive. Author Maggie Brookes puts her documentary expertise to work at the slow-to-start but ultimately gripping novel The Prisoner’s Wife.In Czechoslovakia in 1944, Izabela is restless on her family’s farm. The previous year, during their work for the resistance, her father and older brother went missing. Everyone suspects Nazi involvement, but no one can prove it. All Izabela knows is that she wishes she could have joined the resistance with them. The Nazis have torn their country apart, and she wants to do more than hoe vegetables and tend to pigs.It surprises her more than anyone, then, that it is the same Nazi army that changes her life forever. Through a work program set up by the Nazi government, prisoners are brought to the farm to help her family with the hard labor. On the day the prisoners arrive, Izabela notices Bill right away. A British soldier, Bill and his best friend Harry are now consigned to the ill treatment of the POW camp. Wherever the commanding officer points with his gun, they go.A friendship and then love blossom between Bill and Izabela. He teacher her English; she teaches him how to work a farm. Before long they become inseparable, and Harry conspires with them to help them get married. Once she has Bill at her side, Izabela thinks, they can follow the resistance to the north. Maybe they’ll find her brother and father and join the cause.The two get married and run away. Izabela dresses like a boy to avoid suspicion while they travel. They manage to spend 10 days on the road before they’re captured by the Nazis and sent to a POW camp. In those first terror-filled moments, Bill and Izabela are sure the Nazi guards will discover that Izabela is a woman. They manage to prevent that from happening and only share the secret with other prisoners once they’re in the all-male camp. To their astonishment, the other prisoners help them hide the truth. Any small thing they can do to defy the Nazis feels like a victory, especially in a war that seems to have no end. As Izabela, Bill, and the others try to survive, they will find bonds and challenges unlike any they’ve ever known before. With the weight of their secret and the heavy responsibility just to survive, they draw on one another’s strength to carry them through it all.British author Maggie Brookes, well-known for her documentaries, uses her attention to detail to craft a touching novel. In the author’s note, she shares the research she did to depict the times. Her research shines as every page and chapter of Izabela and Bill’s time in the camps ring true. Their horror, their uncertainty, the sheer will to survive for one another will leave readers in tears by the end.If the novel can be faulted anywhere, it’s in the slow buildup. It takes almost a third of the book for Bill and Izabela to meet, fall in love, get married, and run away. Impatient readers might give up on the book by then, which is a shame because the best parts come when the young couple are captured and sent to the POW camp. Then Brookes shines as an author. The early portions during the love story, by contrast, don’t grip the attention as much. They venture a little too much into romance novel territory, and readers wanting a historical fiction experience might be tempted to put the book down. A firmer hand on editing these portions would have tightened the narrative.Also, while marketing materials tout this as based on a true story, Brookes shares in the end notes that it was a story told to her. No one knows the name of the young couple who endured this hardship or where they might have gone after the war ended, and she entreats anyone with information on them to come forward so she can connect with the real-life Izabela and Bill. Given the stories of courage and sheer force of will from World War II, it’s easy to imagine this to be a true story, but the fact that Brookes is uncertain of the identity of the couple who endured it takes away something.Readers who enjoy World War II fiction and would like another lens through which to view the last year of the war will definitely want to read this book. I recommend they Bookmark The Prisoner’s Wife.
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  • Julie
    January 1, 1970
    The most affecting and heart-breaking book you will read all year, The Prisoners Wife is a superbly written and wonderfully evocative historical novel that brings to vivid life the horrors and the anguish of the Second World War, the strength of the human spirit and the immense power of love.Bill and Izabela had wed despite of the vast chasm that divided them. While Bill was a British solider, Izabela was a farm girl, but their differences had only succeeded in bringing them even closer The most affecting and heart-breaking book you will read all year, The Prisoner’s Wife is a superbly written and wonderfully evocative historical novel that brings to vivid life the horrors and the anguish of the Second World War, the strength of the human spirit and the immense power of love.Bill and Izabela had wed despite of the vast chasm that divided them. While Bill was a British solider, Izabela was a farm girl, but their differences had only succeeded in bringing them even closer together. With their love impossible to deny and the thought of a future apart absolutely unbearable, Bill and Izabela had married in secret, buoyed by the unpredictability and cruelty of the world they were living in during the Second World War. Czechoslovakia, like the rest of the world, had endured its fair share of misery and despair and although Bill and Izabela count themselves lucky to have found one another, against all the odds, they know that their luck will not last and that pretty soon, evil and dangerous forces will catch up with them. Creeping through abandoned and derelict villages to find Izabela’s father and brother who are fighting for the Czech resistance, the one thing they dreaded most becomes a bitter reality when they are seized by the German army. Bill and Izabela had been preparing themselves for this moment – but not for the shocking events that are about to unfold…Izabela cuts off her hair and pretends to be mute, a disguise that she hopes will be convincing enough to fool the Germans into thinking she is a British soldier. This masquerade is all that is keeping Bill and Izabela together because the reality of being torn asunder does not bear thinking about. The two of them might be together, but the conditions inside the POW camp they find themselves imprisoned in are tough and terrible and each day brings with it the terrifying risk of their fragile deception being discovered. Helped by their fellow prisoners, Bill and Izabela take comfort in each other and in the friendships they forge with kind-hearted people who aid them in keeping up this deception. But at the back of their minds, Bill and Izabela are always waiting for that spine-chilling moment when their dark secret comes out into the light.Danger and terror stalks their every move as Bill and Izabela find themselves with everything to lose. Will their love see them through this horrible ordeal? Or is love simply not enough in a war against evil?Maggie Brookes’s The Prisoner’s Wife is an intense, harrowing and emotional page-turner that is sublimely written and will make readers experience every single emotion her characters go through. Maggie Brookes is an extraordinary writer who deftly and effortlessly sweeps her readers back to the past and back to a time of fear, injustice, cruelty and despair that also manages to be hopeful and humbling as Bill and Izabela’s powerful love story and their strength of character will leave readers sobbing and full of admiration for such noble, honourable and brave characters.A story that I am still thinking about days after finishing it, The Prisoner’s Wife is a must-read for fans of Heather Morris’s The Tattooist of Auschwitz.
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  • Joseph Reinhart
    January 1, 1970
    The Prisoner's Wife By: Maggie Brookes I received an ARC of this book from GoodReads.com Giveaway.......AND I'M SO GLAD I READ IT! This is an honest review from a male point of view who's preferred genre is Urban Fantasy. So I went wayyyy out of my comfort zone of magic and adrenaline induced literacy and I took a leap! Up until now the only other period/historical romance i've loved is Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers and it was my de facto suggestion for a 5 Star romance novel that The Prisoner's Wife By: Maggie Brookes I received an ARC of this book from GoodReads.com Giveaway.......AND I'M SO GLAD I READ IT! This is an honest review from a male point of view who's preferred genre is Urban Fantasy. So I went wayyyy out of my comfort zone of magic and adrenaline induced literacy and I took a leap! Up until now the only other period/historical romance i've loved is Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers and it was my de facto suggestion for a 5 Star romance novel that men need to read. I now have one more!As I began to read outside my comfort zone what held me to pursue this book was its setting, WWII. My male brain came in with hopes that I would be redeemed with sporadic sections of dramatic action scenes. Slowly, that changed. I found myself intrigued with a romance born of horror the likes of which few have ever seen. REALISM.... while reading I found myself remembering the times I visited The Holocaust Museum in Washington, DC. Maggie Brookes vividly describes scenarios that, at first glance you might think circumstances were dramatized, but are so very true. Brookes then takes you to another scenario, a world away from horror, love. Not just love, but agape love, a sacrificial and unconditional love. The longer I read the more I found myself feeling protective of Izzy (the female lead in the novel who disguises herself as a man to be with Bill, a British POW whom she fell in love with while he worked forced labor on her farm, so that she may follow him into the hellish conditions of a Nazi Germany prisoners camp - yeah, i know, a small detail that i'm just now getting to ) as well as outraged on her behalf. YES, MEN, LEARN FROM THIS BOOK and it may just put into perspective how well you have it your relationship. It actually made me wonder why I was mad at my wife over a small issue earlier this week.IN SUMMARY....I highly recommend this book, guys don't just skip over it like we do the entire section at the book store. I don't look at this as a love story, but as a war story. The Prisoner's Wife is a war story at its heart. Death, rape, abuse, these horrors and more are accurately portrayed. The love that develops out of this is in itself a war. So, wives suggest it to your husbands - or just take the initiative yourself and read this book, it has now become one of two romance novels I will PROUDLY recommend to all my guy friends and personally vouch for it.
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  • Teri Parks
    January 1, 1970
    As I was reading this book, I couldnt fathom how I was going to review this book and what I would say.It is a love story, on so many levels. It starts out with a budding romance between Izzy and Bill, but as the story progresses, the love for a new family blooms, and that love makes them do the unthinkable for everyone they love.While the first section is all about Izzy and Bill falling in love, the remaining sections give harrowing details about life in the concentration camps and the death As I was reading this book, I couldn’t fathom how I was going to review this book and what I would say.It is a love story, on so many levels. It starts out with a budding romance between Izzy and Bill, but as the story progresses, the love for a new “family” blooms, and that love makes them do the unthinkable for everyone they love.While the first section is all about Izzy and Bill falling in love, the remaining sections give harrowing details about life in the concentration camps and the “death marches” POWs endure during war. And while my knowledge of such a life has been sheltered and reduced to the misconstrued knowledge from watching the old show “Hogan’s Heroes”, nothing can prepare you when faced with the hard truth of what really happens in those camps. I expected to be so twisted up inside with the truth staring me in the face that I thought I might not finish the book. But the more I read, the more I was drawn into it, and the more appreciation and understanding I have for those who have suffered and died or lived through such an experience.When you are starving, defeated, and beyond hope, how do you make the right choices to survive? When faced with unreasonable odds, how do you leave something precious behind? When death is imminent, how do you not give up? What will you do for everything and everyone you love? These are the questions you will be forced to ask yourself at the end of this book.This novel is based on true events, and although the identity at the time of print has not been established yet, there was such a remarkable lady who endured what is told in this story. Be sure to read the author’s notes at the back of the book to understand more about how the story was brought to light.The point of view changes in each chapter between Izzy’s voice and a separate narrative voice. It shouldn’t work together, as the other voice should be Bill’s, but it compliments very well and the story keeps moving along very nicely. I found the book to be a fairly fast read.I give this book a very high 4.95⭐️ rating. Although I don’t think it is one that so could read again and again, I think everyone should read it at least once.Anyone interested in WWII stories will like this book, especially if you read “The Tattooist of Auschwitz” and “Cilka’s Journey”.Thank you to Penguin Random House for an Advanced Readers Copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.P.S. If you aren’t physically itching by the end of the story, I think the author missed her mark on drawing you in to the story.
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  • Viviane Crystal
    January 1, 1970
    A Czech farm girl, Isabel, meets a British Prisoner of War, Billy and its love sparked from the first look and touch. Billy is a prisoner and they have to keep their love secret or the German guards would exact a horrible retribution on both of the lovers. Isabels father and brother were taken away by the Germans and she is the only one to help her mother on the farm. Billy begins to help her in so many ways but they know their relationship must change and it cant be in their present conditions. A Czech farm girl, Isabel, meets a British Prisoner of War, Billy and it’s love sparked from the first look and touch. Billy is a prisoner and they have to keep their love secret or the German guards would exact a horrible retribution on both of the lovers. Isabel’s father and brother were taken away by the Germans and she is the only one to help her mother on the farm. Billy begins to help her in so many ways but they know their relationship must change and it can’t be in their present conditions. However, they eventually escape and trek their way from the countryside until they are finally caught by the Nazis. Isabel cuts her hair and dresses like a boy. She acts as a mute would and they tell the soldiers that she was suffering from the results of a horrific battle at Tobruk. This novel is more than just a litany of horrendous prisoner of war conditions which are almost beyond belief. Starvation, sickness, lice, and cruelty by captors are more than enough to break and even destroy the prisoners. What truly stands out in this account, however, are the tremendous traits of compassion, loyalty and kindness by which men are bound and which they exert to protect Isabel’s female status. Indeed, one of the men will die to protect Isabel’s life. Billy sings and shares his musical harmonica talent to lift up the spirits of the suffering men. As the end of the war approaches, conditions begin to change as the Nazi soldiers fear retaliation if they are exposed to the Allies. Billy and Isabel, however, are united in honoring and respecting men who treasured and shared books, meager portions of food and medical care, minimum as it was. They all dream of returning to home and a decent meal. One mourns as his fiancé married his brother but he still finds courage to go on for this loving prisoner couple.War often shows the world the worst in human beings but in Maggie Brookes’ novel it also shows the best human and superhuman qualities operating in the worst of wartime stress and difficulties. Remarkable historical fiction that is a phenomenal read and highly recommended. You won’t forget this novel for a very long time!
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