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 labour 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. But faced with a brutal routine of overseeing executions and punishments, he longs for an escape. 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.
Customer ReviewsSee All
I thoroughly enjoyed this read. The characters were endearing. Their respective battles were heart wrenching. I felt compelled to learn more about the brothels and the plight of the missing in Argentina - both issues that had never been part of my schema. I both loved and hated the ending of each character’s story. The imagery was powerful enough to bring not only the physical setting to life, but also to supplement these images with the very sounds, smells, and tastes of these horrific places. My time was well spent on this book - my mind and heart are better for having read it.
Quite graphic but honest. excellently written and one of the best books I’ve read.