Book Review: The Diplomat's Wife by Pam Jenoff

I did not know when I bought this book at Barnes and Nobles that it was book 2. The Kommandant's Girl is book 1 in this series. It states on the front cover of The Diplomat's Wife, International bestselling author of The Kommandant's Girl. It would have been nice to see on the front cover something about The Diplomat's Wife being book 2.

When the book begins Marta Nederman is a young Jewish woman that is found in a Dachau prison camp cell by an Army soldier. Her camp has been liberated, shortly afterwards the war in Europe ends. Marta is sent to an Allied camp in order to be nursed back to health. She befriends another woman named Rose that is recovering next to her in their room. She befriends the nurse that is caring for them named Dava. Marta continues to think about, and wonders if she'll see the handsome soldier that found her.
Throughout the book Marta reflects on her family, friends, resistance work against the Nazi's in Krakow Poland, and another man she once loved.
Marta and the soldier that rescued her, Paul, have another chance encounter. Their relationship is brief. They are in love. Plans are made. But, Paul's plane crashes. Marta discovers she is pregnant; on the re-bound, or in order to move on with her life she marries another man, Simon. Before they marry they are already working together at the British Foreign Office in London. She is hired as an interpretor/secretary. Later she will be involved in an important mission because of a particular person she once knew in Poland.

Over-all I liked this book.
I liked the building story-line, especially how some of the characters morphed in to other traits and ploys, that gave the story dimension and suspense.
It is a story with the back-drop of post war Europe. The war ravaged and destroyed countries are re-building; but now Communism is taking over the eastern European countries. People are tired both mentally and physically of the battles of war, and they are afraid of Communism and what it will mean for them. People in Europe had just lived through Nazism, and then Communism aggressively barges in to their country. The Diplomat's Wife explores the feelings of the characters, as well as Marta's observation of everyday people. These everyday people by their mannerisms or facial expression show how they feel.
The trauma of being in a concentration camp is explored in the story, especially through Marta's voice, but other characters as well.
The only thing I would not say I dis-liked or rather iffy about, was the main character was too stoic. Marta is bland, extremely reserved, chilly. It could be that the author had in mind when creating Marta's character that she would be a sort-of stoic/brave/introspective/non-expressive type. Also, in Marta's continuing role in the book she was a character that did not stick out, but rather looked bland or in the back ground. I'm not stating she did not show feelings, or that she was a wall-flower. But, she was rather unintriguing. 

Published by Mira Books May 2008
360 pages
Fiction/World War II/ Post War Europe/ Communism/ Socialism/ Spy/ Suspense

The authors website:
Paperback $11.18
Kindle $9.99
Paperback $11.18
Nook $10.66


  1. This is just what I was looking for. I did not expect that I’d get so much out of reading your write up! You’ve just earned yourself a returning visitor.

  2. Thank you! You also visited another blog of mine. A Garden of Books. I have a 3rd also, A Well-Watered Garden.
    Thank you.

  3. I read both of the books in order, and The Diplomat's Wife certainly could be read as a stand-alone. Marta is in the first book, so reading the first one might help you to understand her character a little more.


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