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3.8 out of 5 stars100
3.8 out of 5 stars
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on 15 November 2010
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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on 14 December 2008
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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on 19 April 2009
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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on 27 February 2013
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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on 9 August 2008
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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on 6 July 2015
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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on 10 August 2013
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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on 31 May 2013
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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on 2 February 2009
A good follow on to previous book but as an American author not quite getting the dialogue right for English characters, particularly of the post-war period.
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on 26 August 2010
On the whole I found this book quite entertaining, but as I read on I became increasingly annoyed with how easily and neatly the strands of Marta's life seemed to fall into place for her. I found it all a little tongue in cheek (which I'm sure was not Jenoff's intention!)
Towards the end though, I was thoroughly fed up with the glaring mistakes made by the author. A motorway, in London in 1947...really???
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