Book Review: The Soldier’s Wife
My rating: 2.5 of 5 stars
The Soldier’s Wife examines how three generations of a family struggle with the impact of war on their relationships, long after the tour of duty is over. Dan Riley is a major in the British Army. After a six-month tour of duty in Afghanistan, he is coming home to the wife and young daughters he adores. The outside world sees these reunions as a taste of heaven after months of hell. But are they? Can a man trained to fight adjust again to family and domestic life? And how will the family cope if he can’t? To what extent can Alexa, Dan’s wife, sacrifice her own needs and fulfillment to support his commitment to a way of life that demands everything, not just of him, but of her and the children as well? What happens when love and a vocation collide head-on?
I listened to this book on audio and three of the CDs in the middle of the book were misnumbered. I ended up listening to a good portion of the book out of order before I realized the error. I thought it was just really disjointed story! Anyway, I listened to a review copy so I’m assuming (hoping) that the CDs are labeled correctly on the final copy.
Charlotte Anne Dore did a good job with the narration. I’m not familiar with the different regional accents in England but I did notice that some of the characters had different accents than others. Being an ignorant American, I will just assume that all the accents were appropriate.
I felt ambivalent about this book. It was entertaining enough to keep listening until the end but I never felt connected to any of the characters, except Isabel, Alexa’s daughter. She’s a secondary character and only in a few scenes though. Her parents send her to boarding school to give her some stability. Apparently, it is common for children of British soldiers to go to boarding school to avoid having to move around and change schools. Isabel is miserable at boarding school and I felt really bad for her.
So many characters were introduced so quickly that I had to listen to the first CD twice before moving on to the second CD to make sure I had everybody straight. I’m not sure if that’s the author’s fault or if I should blame it on mommy brain.
I was really surprised with how invested Dan and Alexa’s parents and friends were in Dan and Alexa’s marriage. They were a bunch of busybodies but not in a humorous way. I was perplexed. Alexa’s supposed best friend Jack confused me too. I wasn’t sure what he added to the story other than being kind of mean to Alexa. I couldn’t figure out why she was friends with him.
Honestly, I didn’t have much sympathy for Dan. I thought he was an ass most of the time and that Alexa was a doormat. Maybe it’s because I’m not a military wife or close friends with one. Perhaps if there would have been some background about his time in Afghanistan, I could have related to him better. Or maybe I’m a cold-hearted snake.
The right person to read this book may be out there, but it was not me.
(I received this book courtesy of AudioGo.)