Synopses & Reviews
The “brilliant, mesmerizing storyteller” (The Washington Post) Joanna Trollope illuminates an experience shared by millions of people: a soldier’s return to family life causes three generations of a family to struggle with the impact of war on their relationships.
Dan Riley is a major in the British Army. After a six-month tour of duty in Afghanistan, he is coming home to the wife and young daughters he adores. The outside world sees these reunions as a taste of heaven after months of hell.
But are they? Can a man trained to fight adjust again to family and domestic life? And how will the family cope if he can’t? To what extent can Alexa, Dan’s wife, sacrifice her own needs and fulfillment to support his commitment to a way of life that demands everything, not just of him, but of her and the children as well? What happens when love and a vocation collide head on?
With her trademark intelligence and kind, clear-eyed insight, Joanna Trollope shows us a family striving to balance duty and ambition with intimacy and understanding.
"In Trollope's dull newest (after Daughters-in-Law), British Army Major Dan Riley has just returned home from a six-month stay in Afghanistan. His wife, Alexa, has been holding down the fort, juggling young twins and an older daughter, Isabel, who is desperately unhappy in boarding school. And though Dan is glad to reunite with his family, his homecoming is marred by his inability to readjust to civilian life. Dan spends the bulk of his time at the base with his best friend, Gus, whose wife has just left him, while Alexa yearns for a life apart from the Army one in which she can seek out her own career as a teacher. But with a potential promotion on the horizon, Dan struggles with the prospect of giving up a career that his father and grandfather before him proudly pursued, and to which he has become deeply linked. While the subject matter is timely and rife with possibilities, Trollope fails to adequately engage with the complexities of PTSD or the reentry of veterans into domestic life. Trollope's writing is consistent but consistently unexciting. (June)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
“A penetrating study of military families and the potential conflicts between duty and love, The Soldier's Wife bears all of Trollope's trademarks: an affecting, well-constructed story; elegantly restrained prose; explorations of the ramifications of change; and, above all, characters conceived and nurtured with care. Those characters are people we know, people who might be our neighbors, ordinary people rendered with extraordinary perception and grace by an author who never fails to impress and whose journeys into the human condition always satisfy.”—Richmond Times-Dispatch
“With her stories about the tensions of middle-class families, Trollope consistently picks women's-page issues. In The Soldier's Wife, she continues to explore the power balance in relationships and whether it's possible to be happy if we subjugate our desires to someone else. “—The Independent (UK)
”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.”—The Mail (UK)
“Trollope is on top form, hitting the zeitgeist with this perceptive and compassionate inside story of an army marriage.”—Women & Home (UK)
“Nobody understands the snags and frustrations of family life better than Joanna Trollope . . . exquisite . . . a serious story that is unraveled sensitively.”—Sunday Express (UK)
“A deservedly popular writer, but she isn’t a frivolous one . . . a cracking read . . . compassionate, humorous, and topical.”—The Spectator (UK)
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN LOVE AND DUTY COLLIDE?
DAN RILEY IS A MAJOR IN THE BRITISH ARMY. After a six-month tour of duty in Afghanistan, he is coming home to the wife and young daughters he adores. He’s up for promotion and his ex-Army grandfather and father couldn’t be prouder. The Rileys are united in support of Dan’s passion for his career.
But are they really? His wife, Alexa, has been offered a good teaching job she can’t take because the Army may move the family at any time. Her daughter Isabel hates her boarding school—the only good educational option for Army families—and starts running away. And Dan spends all his time on the base, unable to break the strong bonds forged with his friends in battle. Soon everyone who knows the Rileys is trying to help them save their marriage, but it’s up to Alexa to decide if she can sacrifice her needs and those of her family to support Dan’s commitment to his work.
With her trademark intelligence and grace, Joanna Trollope illuminates the complexities of modern life in this story of a family striving to balance duty and ambition.
About the Author
Joanna Trollope has been writing fiction for more than 30 years. Some of her best known works include Daughters-in-Law, The Other Family, The Rector's Wife, A Village Affair, Other People's Children, and Marrying the Mistress. She was awarded the OBE in the 1996 Queen's Birthday Honors List for services to literature. She lives in England.