Title: The Prisoner’s Wife
Author: Maggie Brookes
ARC provided by Berkley through NetGalley.
The Prisoner’s Wife was inspired by a true story–and a shocking one at that. The story centers around Izzy, a Czech farmgirl, and Bill, a British prisoner of war. After falling in love and secretly marrying, Izzy dresses as a boy and the two run away together, full of desperation and hope, but are found by the Germans and sent back to Lamsdorf, a German POW camp. Now they face an even greater ordeal as they struggle to keep Izzy’s identity hidden in order to save her from being discovered and shot.
The writing captivated me from the beginning. It’s hard not to become invested in Izzy and Bill’s story. I really loved the transformation of their characters; at the start of the book they are naive, blindly in love, and make the brash decision to run away, however, this changes as they two face more and more difficulty. Maggie Brookes is an incredible writer and the desperation and bleakness felt by the character bleeds through the pages and into the reader. It’s not an easy book to read; this is a book about survival during one of the darkest times in history.
My only complaint is that I was looking for more from the epilogue. After everything the characters (and readers) are put through it would have been nice to have had a glimpse at some sort of happiness for them in the future.
The Prisoner’s Wife is an remarkable debut inspired by a true story. It’s a harrowing tale about maintaining love, hope, friendship, and perseverance during incredible hardships. It’s heartbreaking and beautiful. I absolutely recommend this book to anyone looking for a breathtaking, poignant story.