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4.0 out of 5 stars The Diplomat's Wife
I really wanted to read this after finishing The Kommandant’s Girl. I’m fairly certain I didn’t even read the blurb (which I always do) before I read it. When I found out that it was about Martha I was a bit disappointed, I wanted to know what happened to Emma next. It’s not that I hadn’t liked Martha in The Kommandant’s Girl, I was...
Published 21 days ago by Lucybird

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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Where was the editor????
Real shame as the earlier book was promising but this is spoiled by ridiculous coincidences, flat and superficial characterisation and mostly by, as others have noted, ludicrous mistakes. How come everyone is using duvets in the UK when they weren't seen till the 70s or common till the 80s? Who told the author that the English for 'bathroom' is 'toilet (or lavatory or WC)...
Published on 19 April 2009 by J. R. Van Broek


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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Where was the editor????, 19 April 2009
By 
J. R. Van Broek "Jogreenwich" (London UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Diplomat's Wife (Paperback)
Real shame as the earlier book was promising but this is spoiled by ridiculous coincidences, flat and superficial characterisation and mostly by, as others have noted, ludicrous mistakes. How come everyone is using duvets in the UK when they weren't seen till the 70s or common till the 80s? Who told the author that the English for 'bathroom' is 'toilet (or lavatory or WC) without explaining the subtleties that though we relieve ourselves in toilets, we do actually use bathrooms to wash; so having a bath in a toilet just isn't on! I have asked my mother about the chances of finding an ice-cream vendor outside Westminster Abbey in September 1945 and she is still laughing - sweets were still rationed until the early 50s so getting an icecream sold openly days after the war ended seems unlikely - I could go on... But I don't blame the author for this, what on else was her editor doing not to have had an English person who had some idea of recent history read it before it went to print? I kept reading because it was an interesting story and the actual prose flowed quite well, but the book was thrown across the room a few times!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars removed from reality, 15 Nov. 2010
By 
Mrs Lofts "Polly" (Manchester England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Diplomat's Wife (Paperback)
I bought this book and the Kommandants girl together as they looked very promising. How wrong was I. This book, the Diplomats Wife I found to be slightly more interesting than the Kommandants Girl. However I am barely half way through and it is driving me mad. There are so many glaring factual errors. Marta the Polish Jewish refugee /ex partisan is in France immediately after the war and sheltering in a church when some women enter the church to pray "removing their kerchiefs" A glaring mistake they would have covered their heads on entering the church! Marta gets to London staying with a wealthy old woman and her butler. They have a full English breakfast every morning, and the woman buys her new clothes and shoes. No mention of shortages and rationing. Marta is taken on a sightseeing tour of London to see all the major tourist attractions. Not one mention of the devastation and aftermath of the Blitz only tea at Harrods and browsing antique stalls. She goes to Kings Cross station and in the pub "in the station" there are women factory workers drinking pints of beer! Never at that time! It fleetingly crosses her mind that her hostess and Londoners must also have suffered in the war listening to "Nazi bombers which roared overhead" No mention of the bombs that dropped. She has been in London a while when she suddenly looks up at the ceiling "noticing for the first time the places where the plaster had shaken loose from the bombing. They suffered here too"! Don't think I can finish it. The only consolation is I can donate these books to a charity shop.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars What a waste of space, 14 Dec. 2008
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This review is from: The Diplomat's Wife (Paperback)
I found myself becoming increasingly irritated by the number of mistakes in this totally unbelievable concoction. For example, a transistor radio was mentioned at one point, whereas as far as I know they did not become available until the 1960's. And were married women with young children allowed to stay on at work in the British Civil Service in the 1940's? As for the story line, the more I read the more unbelievable it became, until I finally gave up at page 261. What a waste of my time!
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An easy read, 5 May 2008
By 
Roman Clodia (London) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Diplomat's Wife (Paperback)
This is almost a direct follow-on from Kommandant's Girl and I think you probably need to have read that first. It's shame that the back cover gives away a major plot point so if it's possible try to avert your eyes from that!

I really enjoyed Kommandant's Girl (although was very uncomfortable with the ethics of building what is essentially a love story on a charismatic and sexy Nazi...) and I don't know whether other people felt the same way but certainly here Jenoff has an American as her 'hero' fighting the Soviets in the aftermath of WW2/start of the Cold War.

Marta is far less interesting as a character than Emma/Anna and her narrative voice is the same; and many of the plot points remain unchanged: the woman pregnant by one man, married to another; the idea of a woman 'forced' into a sexual relationship (although both the reasons and the emotions are very different here) etc. So this is a kind of re-run of the first book in my view but with all the moral ambiguities that made the KG so interesting now ironed out. The plot also unfortunately gets increasingly silly so that it was quite difficult to stifle the giggles at the end...

This is an easy and engaging read, but while KG resonated in my mind after finishing it, this one is quite forgettable. However it does bring a closure to the story started in KG so if you want to know how Emma/Jacob's story ends, it's here.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The ideas are there but Jenoff is not the greatest writer., 27 Feb. 2013
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This review is from: The Diplomat's Wife (MIRA) (Kindle Edition)
I read the Kommandant's wife and thought it was strong in parts and weak in others. The Diplomat's Wife is weak which is a shame because there was a lot of potential there. I liked the idea of moving on from Emma's story to Marta's story but I ended up wanting to learn more about Emma and what happened to her. I also got bored of Marta's story and ended up skimming over the last few chapters just to get to the end. Some of the characters were very one dimensional. I think Pam Jenoff should put the plot together and someone else should write it.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Too Many Mistakes..., 9 Aug. 2008
By 
Ms. Tracy Brady "Lulumaid" (Midlands, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Diplomat's Wife (Paperback)
Too many mistakes made this potentially excellent sequel into a farce.
While I enjoyed the first book (Kommandant's Girl) immensely I found that The Diplomat's Wife was flat with unbelievable characters and was badly researched. It was hard to concentrate on the story while being annoyed with small details which were wrong (even in the late 1940's there is no way that Luton Airport could be reached from central London in twenty-five minutes by road!), Americanisations used in the speech of supposedly English characters and the English using metric weights and measurements. Most of us still avoid that even now thirty odd years after it was officially introduced but it certainly wasn't common usage then. Call me picky but..!
As an earlier reviewer has commented, the back cover just about spills the whole story anyway, which is a shame so yes, avoid reading that if you can.
I suppose if the last three chapters are totally ignored as the silly ending that perhaps was rushed to meet a deadline or written for a bet then I have to admit that I did read the book in virtually one sitting.
But having enjoyed Kommandant's Girl so much, the disappointment with this sequel lingers, sadly.
Perhaps if the reader is not British or has no notion whatsoever of anything British at all it might sit easier.
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4.0 out of 5 stars The Diplomat's Wife, 6 July 2015
By 
Lucybird (Birmingham, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Diplomat's Wife (MIRA) (Kindle Edition)
I really wanted to read this after finishing The Kommandant’s Girl. I’m fairly certain I didn’t even read the blurb (which I always do) before I read it. When I found out that it was about Martha I was a bit disappointed, I wanted to know what happened to Emma next. It’s not that I hadn’t liked Martha in The Kommandant’s Girl, I was just satisfied with how her story had been left, I would rather have known what happened to Emma when she left for the mountains.

I would still like to know what happened to Emma, but it didn’t take me long to get dragged into Martha’s story, and then I mainly forgot that she was even connected to Emma. Her past was important, so in that sense it was good to have the knowledge from The Kommandant’s Girl, but it wasn’t crucial.

The Diplomat’s Wife is less of an overtly political novel than The Kommandant’s Girl, and a lot of the time it felt more…normal. I wasn’t really expecting anything exciting, and the best bits of the story were at the beginning and the end, with the story carrying on well enough in the middle to keep me going.

I liked Martha more by the end of The Diplomat’s Wife than I had at the end of The Kommandant’s Girl. I admired her at the end of The Kommandant’s Girl, but she felt more real by the end of her own story.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Diplomat's Wife, 10 Aug. 2013
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This review is from: The Diplomat's Wife (MIRA) (Kindle Edition)
I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading stories based around the 2nd World War. This book is definitely on my list of favourites.

Elsie Cooper
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1.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing, 4 Jun. 2012
This review is from: The Diplomat's Wife (Paperback)
I read Kommandant's Girl and I thought that Pam Jenoff had created an interesting but flawed book. The writing jarred with me at times, such as the repetition of cliched phrases and the over-use of one word sentences. On the other hand I did think that the atmosphere of Krakow during the war had been well captured and there were moments of tension. I wasn't overly fond of Emma/Anna and found her a bit bland - I didn't think she was an interesting enough character to have two men overwhelmed by her, particularly in such a short space of time. Having said that I enjoyed the story and it kept me reading till the end. However I really didn't like The Diplomat's Wife - the writing was really poor and I felt the characters were underdeveloped. The historical inaccuracies irritated me and the dialogue didn't sound like natural speech. Plotwise there were things that were supposed to be major surprises but you knew were going to happen long before they did and it got really silly and unbelievable the further into the book I got. After halfway I put it down a few times thinking - "Did I really just read that?!" I agree with the other readers who said that there is such a thing as too many coincidences. I doubt I would read another novel by Pam Jenoff.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great, addictive reading!, 31 May 2013
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This review is from: The Diplomat's Wife (Paperback)
While some of the storyline was a little far fetched at times, I loved this book.

I love reading about anything to do with this period and Pam Jenoffs books are always a good, addictive read.

The Kommondants Girl, The Ambassadors daughter and The Things We Cherish are and equally great read, although the Kommondants girl is my favourite. I have two more Pam Jenoff books left to read. I hope she writes more soon!
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