The Dutch Wife

The Dutch Wife

by Ellen Keith


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A sweeping story of 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 Müller 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-13: 9780778369769
Publisher: Park Row Books
Publication date: 09/04/2018
Edition description: Original
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 13,777
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

ELLEN KEITH is a Canadian writer and graduate of the University of British Columbia's MFA program in creative writing. Her work has appeared in publications such as The New Quarterly and the Globe and Mail, and she has received the Anton Fiction Prize and the James Patrick Folinsbee Memorial Scholarship in Creative Writing. She lives in Amsterdam. The Dutch Wife is her first novel.

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The Dutch Wife 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 17 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I much appreciated the significant history contain in the novel. I felt like I was there observing the events. So true & scary! Glad to be educated about Argentina.
Anonymous 11 months ago
Very compelling novel.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Couldn’t put The Dutch wife down. Excellent read!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Excellent, very hard to put it down.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
At times confusing. Ending confusing. It seems to me to me too many story lines. I felt like the story was unfinished. Being Dutch I had hoped for a better story line. Just felt like decent dinner without any dessert,
Ellen Yazbeck 12 months ago
Wow, this was a raw, and an emotional story on different levels. At one point I thought this is too graphic, too sensory to continue reading. It ripped at your heart strings. A very interesting link to the concentration camps and their brothels, the "Dirty War" in For anyone who enjoys reading historical fiction, and especially WWI genre, this should be on your list.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The ending seemed rushed and incomplete. Otherwise I enjoyed this book very much.
ggmm More than 1 year ago
Could not put this book down.
LlamaJen More than 1 year ago
Absolutely LOVED this book!!! Marijke's story was my favorite. It was heartbreaking and I may have teared up at a few spots. She did what was needed to survive. I kept hoping she would live to see the liberation of the camp. The book alternates between Marijke, Karl and Luciano and is primarily set during WWII. Marijke is a Dutch political prisoner of the Nazis. She ends up working at the prisoner brothel in Buchenwald. She sees this as her only chance to survive in the camps. Marijke never gives up hope of being reunited with her husband. Karl Müller is the new Schutzhaftlagerführer at Buchenwald and ends up falling in love with Marijke. At times I liked Karl. He helped Marijke survive and was even loving towards her and at times he felt bad for the people at the camp. But honestly he was a horrible person and was the cause of so many deaths even if he personally didn't kill them. I think he did struggle with his position at the camp and would have rather been a biologist. In the end he finally got what he deserved, but it was nothing compared to what the people in the camps endured. Luciano's story takes place in 1977 while he is a college student in Argentina, living with his parents. He is kidnapped and tortured for being involved in protests. He always felt like his father was ashamed of him. I loved the story , characters and writing style. The torture that Luciano endured was sometimes hard to read about. I never knew there were brothels at the camps for the privileged prisoners or even the SS officers. I can't imagine what the woman endured. I also never knew that Buchenwald had a zoo. I didn't want Marijke's story to end. I wanted to keep reading about her life. I definitely recommend this book. It was a wonderful read. I look forward to reading more books by the author. Thanks to NetGalley, HARLEQUIN – Trade Publishing (U.S. & Canada) and the author, Ellen Keith, for a free electronic ARC of this novel.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A test of faith when that is all that's left.
Fredreeca2001 More than 1 year ago
Marijke and her husband are political prisoners of the Third Reich. Marijke stays alive by becoming one of the many women in the camp brothel. This is where she encounters Karl Müller, an SS officer. He falls in love with this Dutch beauty. This could ultimately be the death of her.
 There is another story line weaving through this novel. Luciano has been kidnapped by the Argentine Army. He struggles to maintain his sanity and his strength while being tortured and starved. The reason for this tragedy is not revealed to the reader till the very end of this tale .
This story is hard to read in places. It is difficult to read about man's inhumanity to man! When Marijke becomes a lady in the brothel, I cringed. I can't imagine going through what these people went through to survive. Then there is Luciano's hardship. It is along the same line and is definitely cringe worthy. But, the whole time I am wondering what the devil this has to do with Marijke? Why is this even part of this book? I figured it out before the author let me in on the is a big WHY!
 I wish the characters were a little more well-rounded. They seem a little detached and unfeeling. And this is a novel which gives you all the feels. The horrors, the torture, the relief when it is all over create a fantastic story. One not soon forgotten. 
I received this novel from Netgalley for a honest review.
PegGlover More than 1 year ago
4.5 stars The Dutch Wife is a well-crafted, riveting, and haunting novel. It held me captive from the very first page. There are two stories which run parallel in this book, with different timelines. The first story takes place in Germany during WWII, and involves, a political prisoner, Marijke, and the Schutzhaftagerfuhrer for Buchenwald, Karl Muller. And, the second, in Argentina, during the Dirty War, involving, a University student, Luciano Wagner. In Amsterdam, Marijke de Graaf, and her husband, Theo, were arrested for taking part in the resistance against the Third Reich. The two of them were considered political prisoners and sent to different camps. Because Marijke was beautiful, she was given the choice of working in a brothel at Buchenwald, or staying where she was, and possibly not surviving the work camp. She chose the brothel. Initially, she was hoping to see her husband at Buchenwald. But as time went on, Marijke felt more and more ashamed, for prostituting herself, and for her growing attachment to Karl Muller, the Schuzhaftagerfuhrer. The parallel story in this book, takes place in Argentina, during the 1970s. Anyone in Argentina who was discovered, speaking out, against the government, disappeared. Luciano Wagner, a University student, was arrested for attending a resistance rally. He became one of many students who were kidnapped by the military and tortured. I didn’t know much about the Dirty War, so the details shocked me. The torture that took place was hideous, heartbreaking and haunting. Although I was totally engrossed in this novel, and highly recommend reading it; switching back and forth, between Germany, 1943, and Argentina, 1977, in my opinion, took away from the book. The two parallel stories do come together, however, in the end. The Dutch Wife is a compelling read, realistically graphic, engrossing, and well-researched. Thank you, Harlequin and NetGalley, for my advanced review copy. I loved it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved the book but the ending was awful. I would love to know what happened to the characters
Anonymous More than 1 year ago