At the age of 15, Minke van Aisma weds an older man after the death of his wife Elizabeth, the woman whom Minke tended to. Sander DeVries is smitten with Minke when he first glimpses her, but once they become man and wife his true colors begin to show. Minke, however, has grown to love the man fiercely, and soon is with child.
Minke loves being a mother to her young son Zef, and her heart breaks in two when he is abducted. Though she is expecting her second child, Minke cannot forget her darling Zef and longs for a way to reconnect with him. The unexpected reunion with a couple she once considered friends gives her the opportunity to find out what really happened to her son.
Pam Lewis based her third novel, A Young Wife, on certain events that occurred in the life of her grandmother. Like Minke, Lewis’ grandmother married at a young age and relocated from the land of her birth (the Netherlands) to Argentina and finally to New York. Whether this is where the similarities end I am uncertain; I would have liked to learn more about the author’s grandmother, but there is no further information included in the Acknowledgements page.
A Young Wife is a book that a reader can easily consume, but doing so might cause one to read over important details too quickly. There were quite a few things I missed because I read it too fast, only realizing my mistake when I peeked at what others were saying about this book online. It almost made me want to start the book over so I could pick up all the pieces that I was missing to fully appreciate the novel.
I liked Lewis’ writing style, but was a bit unimpressed by her character development. There were quite a few characters introduced in the New York portion of the novel that I would have liked to know more about, especially the two sisters who gave Minke a job as a seamstress, and Mr. Wiley, an influential patron who helped Minke unravel the mystery of her lost son.
Minke is the most tolerable character in the entire novel, but for the first portion of the book she is really meek. Once she arrives in New York, she seems to change much too quickly to become a strong, independent woman who no longer relies on a husband. I was a bit unsatisfied with the closing scene between Minke and Sander because he had changed so drastically as well.
A Young Wife, though a very breezy read, does have enough depth and mystery to keep readers entertained from the first to the last page despite being just a touch too predictable.
Jennifer graduated from the University of Utah with a BA in English. She occasionally dabbles with her own fiction writing, particularly with the Young Adult and Paranormal genres. She currently resides in Utah with her husband and daughter.
Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Simon & Schuster. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.