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The Prisoner's Wife

Reviewed by Wyn Pettinger of Bramley Guild

This novel by Maggie Brookes, 64, is based on a true story told told to her by a former prisoner of war living in the same care home as her mother - the tale of Izabela, a Czech woman who posed as a man in a Nazi POW camp to stay with her British husband.

I was born during the war, and could never imagine a girl of 18 going through what Izabela did - and I could not put this book down.

Loved by her parents but without any real friends, Izabela has never been in love. But she is headstrong and persistent, so when she falls for Bill, a prisoner sent to work on the family farm, they run away and marry in secret.

However, Bill and Izabela - who has disguised herself as a man - are caught by the Nazis and sent to a POW camp, where life is tough and cruel, and only friendships with other prisoners prevent Izabela's discovery.

As I got into the book, it showed me how men can be many things - cruel, kind, thoughtful, harmful - to get what they want, and how fear and greed can overcome men when hunger hits. To me, this book showed that power can kill, love can conquer all, and friendships can last a lifetime. I loved it from beginning to end and hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

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