The Diplomat’s Wife by Pam Jenoff

the-diplomats-wife Surviving the brutality of a Nazi prison camp, Marta Nederman is lucky to have escaped with her life. Recovering from the horror, she meets Paul, an American soldier who gives her hope of a happier future. But their plans to meet in London are dashed when Paul’s plane crashes.

Devastated and pregnant, Marta marries Simon, a caring British diplomat, and glimpses the joy that home and family can bring. But her happiness is threatened when she learns of a Communist spy in British intelligence, and that the one person who can expose the traitor is connected to her past.

Jenoff’s second novel is a sequel to The Kommandant’s Girl, but this particular novel follows the life of Marta, a supporting character in the life of Emma. Unlike The Kommandant’s Girl, however, I had a hard time getting into the story or even caring about Marta.

I think my lack of sympathy for Marta stems from the fact that The Kommandant’s Girl presents her as an unlikeable person. She falls for Emma’s husband, although she had no idea Jacob was married, and still cannot let go of him in The Diplomat’s Wife, despite having her own Jacob. In addition, Marta comes off as cold in the first book, and I never could warm up to her or get over my distaste for her in the second.

The Diplomat’s Wife also reads like a poorly written spy novel, and the idea that Marta would go gallivanting across Soviet-controlled Europe seemed completely unbelievable, although in a way it was more in line with her characterization in the first book. The “operation” is forced at times, and, at others, doesn’t make any sense.

On a side note, since this is a semi-sequel to The Kommandant’s Wife, I appreciated knowing what happened to Emma. While it wasn’t exactly what I had dreamed up, it was nice having a little closure because the ending of the first book was so open-ended.

Book Mentioned:

  • Jenoff, Pam. The Diplomat’s Wife. New York: Mira, 2008. Print. 360 pgs. ISBN: 0778325121. Source: Gift.
Book Cover © Mira. Retrieved: January 5, 2009.

3 comments

    • @ Serena: I wouldn’t pick it up just for the closure. The Kommandant’s Girl is very open ended {in a good way}, and The Diplomat’s Wife robs the reader of what they think happens.

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