Saturday, September 17, 2011
A Young Wife - by Pam Lewis
Minke is just fifteen years old when she is hired to care for Elisabeth van Aisma, a wealthy woman who is dying. The arrangement is made between her parents, who live in a small town in the Netherlands, and Elisabeth's husband Sander. Once naive Minke meets Sander her life will never be the same.
After Elisabeth's death, Sander proposes marriage to Minke. Despite their age difference and the questionable circumstances of Elisabeth's death, Minke agrees. Very shortly thereafter, the two set sail for Comodoro Rivadavia. Although she loves Sander, Minke learns eventually that her husband has many secrets. These secrets ultimately tear her life apart, causing her to lose her first-born son Zef in a mysterious kidnapping and uproot their lives.
I don't want to reveal any spoilers and the plot contains a lot of twists and turns which will keep you guessing at which characters can be trusted and where the story will take you. I couldn't stop turning the pages, wanting to find out what happens next.
Minke is an endearing character who you will want to root for. When we are first introduced to her she is quite naive, but she has great spirit and a quiet strength which develops even more as she moves from one adventure to the next. As we read of Minke's adventures, from Amsterdam to Comodoro Rivadavia to New York City, we are there with her - breathing in the crisp sea air on the Frisia as it crosses the ocean, feeling the ground shake beneath our feet as the gauchos gallop across the pampas, fearing the watchers at Ellis Island will turn you away and your long journey will have been for naught. I found A Young Wife to be a very enjoyable read, one that I could barely put down. This is a book that I definitely recommend.