Kitty is a forward thinking young woman in 1937 and is interested in becoming a foreign diplomat. But she is restricted by her sex and the era in which she lives. She marries Edgar and hopes for greater freedom but finds herself in a complex international situation and her loyalties divided…
The American Wife is an historical novel set in the late 1930s.
Kitty is a vivacious and tempestuous woman who knows her own mind and isn’t fond of compromises. Her dream is to be involved in international politics but her age and sex restrict her opportunities. She falls in love with Austrian Edgar and finds a role at the US embassy but finds herself conflicted between his politics and the desperate Jews trying to get a visa.
I really liked Kitty’s character. She is certainly larger than life but also has a softer side. Her friendships show her warmth and passion, and lead her into trouble as she tries to save them from the Nazi purges. I understood and agreed with her frustration at the bureaucracy which gets in the way of saving lives. She puts herself in danger while trying to negotiate personal and international politics and this endears her to the reader as she refuses to meekly accept her circumstances and limits.
The author has clearly researched the era and geography which brings the background to the plot to life. There is a careful mix of real life characters amongst the fictional ones to add authenticity.
The American Wife is a well researched and emotional historical novel.
With her heart in her mouth, Kitty let herself into her husband’s private study. She knew where he kept the papers that might save her dearest friend from the Nazis. She just had to steal them…
Vienna, 1937. When beautiful American Kitty becomes engaged to Austrian diplomat Edgar, she finds herself thrown into a very different world in Europe, and soon longs for home. But when the woman designing her wedding dress, Judith, takes Kitty under her wing, she sees the city of Vienna in a new light – a city of culture and music that she can explore with her new friend.
But when the Nazis come, the fact that Judith is Jewish means she is no longer safe. Kitty knows that as a diplomat’s wife she can steal the papers that will allow her closest friend to escape to safety, but will it mean betraying the love of her life?
Except that Edgar has grown distant and secretive since she joined him in Europe and, when war breaks out, Kitty wonders which side her husband is really on. And, as she prepares to betray him, Kitty begins to fear that she doesn’t really know the man she married at all.
Facing an impossible choice between her dearest friend and the man she loves, Kitty knows she must be brave, and do the right thing, no matter the personal cost…
An absolutely heartbreaking, powerful and gripping story about finding love, resilience and friendship in the midst of the darkness of World War 2. Perfect for fans of The Nightingale, My Name is Eva and All the Light We Cannot See.
Chrystyna Lucyk-Berger is a Ukrainian-American who transplanted to Austria.
Born in 1969, she grew up in the culture-rich neighborhood of “Nordeast” Minneapolis and started her writing career with short stories, travel narratives, and worked as a journalist and managing magazine editor, before jumping the desk and pursuing her own writing and traveling.
Her books tackle David-vs.-Goliath themes with strong women battling for the Underdogs against a system, be it political, geographical, or industrial. Sometimes all three. “I enjoy discovering the good, the bad, and the ugly in my characters when they come into conflict,” she says. “And all of my stories have been inspired by injustices I’ve discovered along my travels.”