Debbie's World of Books
My book reviews, book news & random rants

The Diplomat's Wife by Pam Jenoff

December 1st, 2008 by Debbie's World of Books

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I give this book a 4 out of 5 stars.  It started off a little slow for me but I eventually got into it.  It wasn’t one of those you can’t put down books but I was satisfied when I was done reading.

Marta is a Jewish member of the Krakow resistance who gets captured after shooting a Kommandant to rescue a friend, Emma.  Emma escapes but Marta is taken to a camp and tortured to try and get information about the resistance.  She is eventually rescued after Hitler kills himself and the Americans liberate the camp she is in.  Two soldiers find her and one wants to leave her behind saying she is too sick but the other one insists that they take her.  Next thing Marta knows she wakes up in a make shift hospital.  She befreinds another rescuee named Rose and their nurse, Dava.  While recuperating she meets the soldier that rescued her and finally finds out his name, Paul Mattinson.  She feels an instant connection with Paul but his unit is due to deploy to the Pacific.  Marta convinces Dava to let her off the grounds to spend one evening with Paul.  Paul and Marta get stranded in an old gardner’s shed due to an unexpected downpour.

The next day Paul leaves and Marta finds out Rose passed away from a high fever.  Dava tells Marta that Rose’s aunt had sent her a visa to come to England.  Rose had asked for one for Marta as well but did not get a reply yet.  Dava tells Marta the visa is only good until the next day so Marta should use it to go to England and justifies it by saying she can return Rose’s belongings to her aunt in person.

Marta finally agrees and departs for England.  Unfortunately the train she is riding runs into track problems and are forced to detour through Paris.  Due to the delay Marta’s visa expires and she is stranded in Paris.  She goes to the consulate but they say they cannot extend her visa without the original applicant applying for an extension, in other word’s Rose’s aunt.  Disheartened Marta starts looking for a Red Cross shelter to stay at while she tries to figure out what to do.  She doesn’t have enough money to return to the hospital or to even buy food for herself.  As she is wandering through Paris she is shocked to see Paul sitting in a cafe with another soldier and two women.  She is so hurt to see Paul with another woman she immediately tries to run away but runs into a waiter.  Paul spots Marta and chases her down.  He explains that the other soldier had a sweetheart in Paris and the other women was her sister or cousin.  He helps her get her visa extended, they go out for dinner and eventually end up staying at the servicemen’s hotel that Paul is checked into.  While wandering around Paris they hear the Japanese have surrendered and the war is officially over.  Paul ends up proposing to Marta and she accepts.  They agree that Marta will go deliver Rose’s items to her aunt and then Paul will meet up with Marta in England in two weeks time and then they will go to the United States.

Marta makes it to England meeting Simon, a British diplomat, on the trip.  When Simon finds out Marta is from Poland he offers her a job with the consulate to help translate Polish and help them against the Soviets trying to take over Eastern Europe.  He is disappointed when she tells him she is engaged to a US soldier and will be moving to the States.

Once Marta is in England she meets Rose’s aunt, Delia, and the butler, Charles.  Delia thanks Marta for bringing Rose’s belongings and takes a liking to Marta.  She insists that Marta stay with her until Paul’s arrival.  They become close companions during the two weeks.  On the day of Paul’s arrival Marta goes to the designated train station and waits and waits and Paul never shows up.  Charles shows up and insists that Marta come home since Paul does have Delia’s address and no other trains would be arriving that night.  Eventually Charles notices a story in the paper about a US military unit’s airplane suffered engine troubles and crashed into the ocean killing all on board.  Of course that turns out to be Paul’s unit.  Marta is devestated and to add to her troubles she suspects she is pregnant.

In her daze she goes wandering the streets and coincidentally enough runs into Simon again.  When he finds out what happens he again offers her a job.  With Delia’s encouragement she accepts and after a few weeks Simon ends up proposing.  Marta accepts and everyone accepts that their baby was just born prematurely.

Stop here if you don’t want spoilers.

Marta eventually winds up getting sent to Czechoslovakia on a secret mission to get information from someone she knew from the resistance.  While on the mission she is rescued by Paul!  It turns out he was the sole survivor from the crash but since he was already listed as dead the US government offers him as a position with their intelligence agency with a new identity.  Eventually he and Marta get the information she needs and make it back to England.  They both admit they still love each other but Marta is now married.

A lot goes on but eventually Marta discovers Simon is actually a traitor who was spying for the Soviets.  He tries to poison Marta and kidnap their daughter to take back to the Soviet Union.  In the end it turns out the entire scenario was a setup.  Dava, the nurse from the hospital, killed Rose in order to get Marta the passport to England where Simon setup to meet her.  When he finds that Paul is in his way he arranges for the plane’s mechanical failures to kill Paul so Marta has no where else to turn.  In the end Paul rescues Marta again and they end up getting marries. Yay!  Happy ending :)

Posted in 4 Star Books, Books, Historical Fiction, Romance

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