‘Deeply moving and compelling … an epic journey not only across war-torn countries but deep into the heart of what it is to be human. A heart-rending story beautifully told.’ JUDITH ALLNAT, author of The Poet’s Wife and The Silk Factory
Their love is a death sentence. But can it keep them alive?
Czechoslovakia, 1944. In the dead of night, a farm girl and a British soldier creep through abandoned villages. Secretly married and on the run, Bill and Izabela are searching for Izabela’s brother and father, who are fighting for the Czech resistance. They know their luck will not last.
Captured by the German army, it seems they must be separated – but they have prepared for this moment. By cutting her hair and pretending to be mute, Izabela successfully disguises herself as a British soldier. Together, they face the terrible conditions of a POW camp, reliant on the help of their fellow POWs to maintain their fragile deception.
Their situation is beyond dangerous. If Izabela is discovered, she and Bill – and all the men who helped them – will face lethal consequences.
A novel set in war-torn Czechoslovakia amid the extreme privations of a prisoner of war camp, based on a true story of passion, heroism and a love that transcends overwhelming odds.
HERE ARE MY THOUGHTS AND REVIEW
This story is absolutely stunning, once you read it, it just won’t go away. Based on a true story which has been past from person to person, it begins in 1944 with a British POW in Czechoslovakia who has been sent to work on a farm and the young farm girl Izzy that lives there.
Only Izzy and her mother live on the farm now after her father and brother left to join to Czech resistance. Over the weeks Izzy and Bill fall in love and plan to escape after they marry secretly without her mother’s knowledge. The only way that the pair can travel safely is for Izzy to take on the appearance of being a young British soldier who is so traumatized that he can no longer speak. It isn’t long before they are captured and transported to a prisoner of war camp.
This was a book that was read in one session because the tension was just too high to be able to settle to doing anything else. The descriptions of everything made it visual, made me feel my skin crawl and scratch as I read at imaginary things I could feel in my hair. The conditions were horrific and the fear of them being caught horrendous. They couldn’t do this on their own, but who could they trust to help? Izzy was in great danger. Washing, going to the toilet, showers (which weren’t often) and of course the time of the month.
There are heroes and villains in this story but wow! what a love story this is! A beautiful love story that tested them beyond anything I have read. Brilliant writing. this will stay with me a very long time. Highly recommended.
I wish to thank NetGalley and the publisher for a copy of this book which I have reviewed honestly.
HERE, IS A LITTLE ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Maggie Brookes is a British ex-journalist and BBC television producer turned poet and novelist.
‘The Prisoner’s Wife’ is based on an extraordinary true story of love and courage, which was told to her in a lift by an ex-WW2 prisoner of war. Maggie visited the Czech Republic, Poland and Germany as part of her research for the book, learning largely forgotten aspects of the war.
‘The Prisoner’s Wife’ is due to be published by imprints of Penguin Random House in the UK and in the US in May 2020. Publication in other countries, including Holland, Italy, Portugal, Hungary, Poland and the Czech Republic will follow.
As well as being a writer, Maggie is an advisory fellow for the Royal Literary Fund and also an Associate Professor at Middlesex University, London, England, where she has taught creative writing since 1990. She divides her time between London and Whitstable, and is married with two grown-up daughters.
She has published five poetry collections in the UK under her married name of Maggie Butt. Poetry website: http://www.maggiebutt.co.uk