By Pam Lewis
Simon & Schuster
From the publisher:
When fifteen-year-old Minke van Aisma travels to Amsterdam to care for the dying wife of an older, wealthy man named Sander DeVries, she has no idea what awaits her. Within hours of his wife's death, Sander proposes marriage, and within days the couple sets sail for the burgeoning oil fields of Argentina.
But the future that seemed so bright takes a dark turn the morning their son, Zef, is kidnapped. Dire circumstances dictate that Sander immigrate to New York at once, leaving Minke little choice but to wait for their new baby's arrival, follow Sander to America, and abandon her firstborn.
What follows is a triumphant turn-of-the-century saga of love, betrayal, and redemption that takes readers from the opulent life in Amsterdam during the 1900s to rough life on the Argentine coast to the impoverished life of a recent immigrant in New York.
An indelible portrait of one woman's struggle to steer her own fate, A Young Wife is a powerful journey that will stay with readers long past the final page.
Author Pam Lewis tells a hypnotic tale of love, intrigue, foreign adventure and personal growth. In 1912 fifteen year old Minke is chosen (over her older sister Fenna) by Mr. Sander DeVries to accompany the much older and dashing man to Amsterdam, where Minke is to to care for De Vries' dying wife, Elizabeth. Minke's FIFTEEN! I kept reminding myself that if she were alive today she'd be a sophomore in high school. Elizabeth soon dies and within hours Sander weds the young, naive and sheltered Minke so they can board the ship that will carry them to the new and developing Argentine oil fields where they will open a store.
We quickly learn that people and situations are not always what they seem and that the trusting Minke has fallen wildly, crazy in love with Sander. Again, I kept having to remind myself that Minke is only fifteen when I am frustrated by her easy trust in people. She's soon pregnant and her dashing husband isn't quite so dashing anymore.
In A Young Wife, Lewis writes a story that is loosely based on the events of her maternal grandmother's life. I couldn't help but wonder what events and happenings were true and which were developed for this story in which the young Minke sees her first child abducted, she sees the aftermath of betrayal by people she cares for, and she sees the damage that happens when lies and money become more important than the soul and human relationships.
Lewis writes Minke's responses to the events of her life as a young girl would react! Lewis chronicles the development and growth of Minke's own survival skills and maternal instincts. One thing that does not betray her is the Comodoro Rivadavia area of the Argentine. Minke loves its people and its land. Somewhat like Scarlet O'Hara, Minke belongs to the Argentine land. She decides she must do what's necessary to find her son and eventually her way back to the land and the people where she can be her own person.
I highly recommend A Young Wife! It's a great plot driven story, and the fact that is it plot driven is my only whine. I do wish we knew a bit more about the characters, but I think that author Pam Lewis gave us all of the information we needed for her to tell her grandmother's story. It's my curiosity that made me want to know more.
I give it 4 1/2 out of 5 stars.
This galley was provided to me by the publisher and in no way affected my review.