Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Review: A Young Wife by Pam Lewis

Title:A Young Wife
Author:Pam Lewis
Publisher:Simon & Schuster
Pub. Date:06/14/2011
ISBN:1451612729 (ISBN13: 9781451612721)

When fifteen-year-old Minke van Aisma travels to Amsterdam to care for the dying wife of an older, wealthy man named Sander DeVries, she has no idea what awaits her. Within hours of his wife’s death, Sander proposes marriage, and within days the couple sets sail for the burgeoning oil fields of Argentina.
But the future that seemed so bright takes a dark turn the morning their son, Zef, is kidnapped. Dire circumstances dictate that Sander immigrate to New York at once, leaving Minke little choice but to wait for their new baby’s arrival, follow Sander to America, and abandon her firstborn.

What follows is a triumphant turn-of-the-century saga of love, betrayal, and redemption that takes readers from the opulent life in Amsterdam during the 1900s to rough life on the Argentine coast to the impoverished life of a recent immigrant in New York.

An indelible portrait of one woman’s struggle to steer her own fate, A Young Wife is a powerful journey that will stay with readers long past the final page.

(Summary and cover via Goodreads)


This was a pretty interesting book. It says it is loosely based on a true story, and I'm curious just how loose it is. A lot of bad stuff happened, and I'm interested in how much of it was real. The book tells the story of a 15 year old Dutch girl who marries an older man she hardly knows. She is then whisked away to Argentina. The city in Argentina is a new world on several levels. Minke has to adjust to her new married life and to an entirely new way of life in Argentina. Through a series of events, Minke ends up immigrating to the United States. There, even more new things await her.

The action proceeds at a fairly quick pace. In fact, there is so much going on, I didn't ever really get a feel for the characters. I like to know what's going on in their heads, and you don't really get any of that in this book. I never really understood why Minke married her husband in the first place. However, that was a pretty minor problem for me. I got engrossed in the book. I found that I had read half of it in one sitting without realizing it. I didn't want to stop without finding out what happened next.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. I think it will serve people well who just want a quick, interesting read. If you really like to get into the characters' heads, you may not enjoy this book that much. It certainly kept my interest, and I felt compelled to keep reading until the end.

Galley provided by publisher for review.

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