The Dutch Wife (Paperback)

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Staff Reviews

Ellen Keith writes the story of the Dutch Wife.  While this book is a bit more of a fiction story, there is still so much truth behind the scenes that brings this story to life.  There are three stories that do not seem to blend together until the very end.

Marijke de Graaf and her husband have been arrested in the Netherlands under conspiracy charges of helping Jews.  Each is sent a different concentration camp not knowing what has happened to the other. Marijke is given the choice of either a slow death of hard labor and starvation or to work in the brothels that are being set up as a way to entice the prisoners that are not Jews, to work harder and earn coupons for good behavior.  

This is also the story of Karl Müller, as he comes to  the camp to take over operations. He is as brutal as they come and leaves nothing in his wake to live up to his father’s great expectations.  He also takes advantage for the brothels workers as well.

The third story is of the Argentine Dirty War.   Luciano Wagner is a young man just coming into his own and not sure how to live up to his father’s demands.  Then he is kidnapped and put in prison in Buenos Aires and not sure if he will make it out alive. This war shows so many similarities to World War II and the hardships that people have.

Keith brings all these stories full circle with an ending that you don’t expect.

- Recommended by Chris

— From September Staff Picks to Start the School Year


A sweeping story of love and survival during World War II

AMSTERDAM, MAY 1943. As the tulips bloom and the Nazis tighten their grip across the city, the last signs of Dutch resistance are being swept away. Marijke de Graaf and her husband are arrested and deported to different concentration camps in Germany. Marijke is given a terrible choice: to suffer a slow death in the labor camp or--for a chance at survival--to join the camp brothel.

On the other side of the barbed wire, SS officer Karl MYller arrives at the camp hoping to live up to his father's expectations of wartime glory. When he encounters the newly arrived Marijke, this meeting changes their lives forever.

Woven into the narrative across space and time is Luciano Wagner's ordeal in 1977 Buenos Aires, during the heat of the Argentine Dirty War. In his struggle to endure military captivity, he searches for ways to resist from a prison cell he may never leave.

From the Netherlands to Germany to Argentina, The Dutch Wife braids together the stories of three individuals who share a dark secret and are entangled in two of the most oppressive reigns of terror in modern history. This is a novel about the blurred lines between love and lust, abuse and resistance, and right and wrong, as well as the capacity for ordinary people to persevere and do the unthinkable in extraordinary circumstances.

Product Details
ISBN: 9780778369769
ISBN-10: 0778369765
Publisher: Park Row
Publication Date: September 4th, 2018
Pages: 352
Language: English