Book Review: The Soldier's Wife by: Joanna Trollope

Rating: 3/5

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Publish Date: June 5, 2012

Origins: From Publisher for Review

Format: Trade Paperback

Order From:  Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Kindle / Nook

Synopsis: 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.

Author Bio: Joanna Trollope has been writing fiction for more than 30 years. She is the author of seventeen highly acclaimed bestselling novels including Daughters-in-Law, The Other Family, The Rector’s Wife, A Village Affair, Other People’s Children, The Choir, and Marrying the Mistress. She was awarded the OBE in the 1996 Queen’s Birthday Honors List for services to literature, and is the current chair of the Orange Prize for Fiction 2012. She lives in England.

Review: It is difficult to be the family member of someone in the military whether they are deployed or not. The military always seems to come first and non-military family doesn’t understand what their loved one is going through. My brother was in the Army and was deployed overseas two or three times. I know it was difficult for our parents and even more so for his wife. It was hard for him adjusting when he returned to the States and at times I did not recognize the man my brother had become. Many relationships of military members deteriorate over time because the spouses feel stuck and are afraid to start new jobs or friendships because they don’t know when they’ll be forced to be uprooted next.

In The Soldier’s Wife, Alexa Riley is trying to hold her family together. She has a daughter, Isabel, from a previous marriage who she thinks isn’t as important to her husband, Dan, as the twin daughters they have together. Alexa is trying to balance the needs of Dan, Isabel, the twins, and, of course, her own needs. Now Dan’s home from Afghanistan, but he’d rather spend time with Gus (his army buddy) than his own family. Alexa tries to understand, but she doesn’t have the knowledge base to feel useful to her husband. Alexa feels as if her life is spiraling out of control and has nowhere to turn. The Army has a lot of programs to support the soldiers, but is sorely lacking a support structure for the rest of the family. Touching, poignant, and timely as many of our soldiers come home, The Soldier’s Wife will give readers an inside look at the lives of military families. 


  1. This is a new one for me! Like Joanna Trollope so much,

  2. Star, thanks for sharing your own personal story about your brother's military service, and how close the fiction came to real life.


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