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The Soldier's Wife Paperback – 31 Jan 2013

4.0 out of 5 stars 265 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Black Swan (31 Jan. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0552776424
  • ISBN-13: 978-0552776424
  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 2.7 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (265 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 125,450 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"Written with all Trollope's customary skill and panache, this is an absorbing look at the modern military wife who no longer automatically follows the drum" (Daily Mail)

"Nobody understands the snags and frustrations of family life better than Joanna Trollope. She also captures the dangerous pressure points in relationships, the steady build-up of tension, the exact moment when the family fur might really start to fly" (Sunday Express)

"Trollope is on top form, hitting the zeitgeist with this perceptive and compassionate inside story of an army marriage" (Woman & Home)

"The Soldier's Wife is a cracking read and has clearly been thoroughly researched. All the little details which animate a novel ring true... compassionate, humourous and topical" (Spectator)

"Trollope is always immensely readable, managing to depict characters' inner turmoil with deft, artful simplicity. Here, she brings her emotionally acute eye to bear on army life" (Henry Sutton Daily Mirror)

Book Description

Does marrying a soldier mean marrying the army? The topical new novel from this number one bestselling author.

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Format: Hardcover
Dan Riley, a major in the British Army, is home from a six month tour of duty in Afghanistan. He has an attractive and clever wife, Alexa, a step daughter, Isabel, and lively three-year-old twins, Tassie and Flora. His entire family is very proud of him, especially his grandfather, an ex-army man himself. Dan is highly thought of by his men and his superior officers, and he is in line for promotion; life, therefore, appears rather good for Dan.

However, adjusting to home life after the excitement and horror of war is not easy for Dan - and Alexa is finding it difficult to cope with a husband who seems to put the welfare of his men above his family. An intelligent woman, Alexa loves her children and is a good mother to them, but she does have needs and desires of her own and sometimes finds being a full-time wife and mother rather limiting; therefore, when she is offered a teaching job that she realizes she is unable to accept, she understandably feels confined and frustrated. Added to this, Alexa is worried about Isabel, who is unsettled and unhappy at boarding school; there is a problem with one of Flora's eyes, and Beetle, the adored family dog, is ill. Alexa needs to share her worries with Dan, but he does not seem to have the time to discuss their problems. There always seems to be an issue concerning his men to be dealt with, and then there is his best friend, Gus, whose wife has left him, and who needs Dan's support and company. Alexa turns to her girlfriends and her good male friend, Jack, who is always there at the end of the phone, to offer her his advice and support. And when Dan can't attend a meeting with the headmistress at Isabel's school, it is Jack who takes the time out to support Alexa.
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Format: Hardcover
As someone who is married to an Army officer, I found this book disappointing. Although some of the observations and emotions are accurately articulated and well phrased, generally I thought it was too simplistic and did not reach the heart of the issues.

I found both the plot and the characters very thin and did not find an emotional attachment with any of the characters. I also found people too simply observed - it's not just as simple as the man comes home from a tour and isn't communicative and busy at work, there is far more to it than that.

I also found the views expressed about the main character's wife unrealistic. Everyone from her in-laws to her husband's senior bosses seem to adore her and blame her husband for being uncommuncative. I think the reality is that whilst the Army hierachy is sympathetic to the pressures on the families, their husband is expected to perform and do well and she would be expected to support that. In addition, although hopefully in-laws would be supportive of their child's spouse, the reality is that they would give far more sympathy to the person returning from a hellish operational tour. I think there would be much more of the wife being expected to provide support to the serving person.

I don't wish to give away too much of what plot there is but I also found the "answers" to the issues overly simplistic and easy. I had hoped that the book would really tackle the issue of being married to someone in the Army who you love desperately but their job is so all encompassing that you are really married to the Army but felt it only skimmed the surface. It felt like the first episode of a serial drama and I was waiting for the plot and characters to really bed in when the book ended.
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Format: Hardcover
Being a soldier's wife myself, I SO wanted to like this book. I didn't begin it with the intention of finding fault and picking holes in Joanna Trollope's research on Army life. I was very excited to find a novel based on modern day soldiering and Army life covering pertinent issues. It was in fact very well researched in most areas, and I had a giggle immediately upon reading the comment about the maintenance contractors based in Liverpool (fellow Army wives will know exactly why that tickled me!). However, as another reviewer pointed out, the actual homecoming which I had been so looking forward to reading about was completely glossed over. In my opinion, it started to go downhill from there. Yes I completely understand Alexa's frustration at her and her childrens' lives being dictated by her husband Dan's career in the Army, but I think it went a bit far. Personally, adjusting to life together after a long period of deployment has been our bugbear as a family, not the sudden realisation that my own dreams and ambitions are put on hold indefinitely. I found it hard to like Alexa, or indeed any of the adult characters in the book. She was so negative and despite the histrionics remained very one dimensional to me. It became somewhat emotionally draining and I only saw it through to the end as I can never start a book and not see it through. It was the first of JT's books I've ever read; I've not been put off reading anything by her again, but I am disappointed that this didn't live up to my expectations.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I have read many Joanna Trollope novels but feel that she has really lost her 'touch'.This book is formulaic and unrealistic.Her characters are badly drawn and the plot is non-existant.It is hard to believe that men, especially soldiers, would be so open about their personal lives with other men.
All in all a waste of time.
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