The Dutch Wife by Ellen Keith


A novel about the blurred lines between love and lust, abuse and resistance, and right and wrong.

Amsterdam, May 1943. As the tulips bloom and the Nazis tighten their grip across the city, the last signs of Dutch resistance are being swept away. Marijke de Graaf and her husband are arrested and deported to different concentration camps in Germany. Marijke is given a terrible choice: to suffer a slow death in the labour camp or—for a chance at survival—to join the camp brothel.

On the other side of the barbed wire, SS officer Karl Müller arrives at the camp hoping to live up to his father’s expectations of wartime glory. But faced with a brutal routine of overseeing executions and punishments, he longs for an escape. When he encounters the newly arrived Marijke, this meeting changes their lives forever.

Woven into the narrative across space and time is Luciano Wagner’s ordeal in 1977 Buenos Aires, during the heat of the Argentine Dirty War. In his struggle to endure military captivity, he searches for ways to resist from a prison cell he may never leave.

Here's what #HCCFirstLook readers thought!

"Ellen Keith has produced a compelling and timely read that reminds us how things can escalate when we begin to demonize people we judge to be different. ... This story with its many thought-provoking themes will stay with me for a long time." - Mary-Jane E.


"This book was absolutely heartbreaking and beautiful in the best way. The characters are imperfect and flawed, and completely human. I loved this book, it was an absolute privilege to read." - Brianne C. Read her full review here.


"This book is fast-paced and an intriguing read. Keith is masterful at making the you feel for and understand the characters, though the plot moves quickly enough that it doesn't feel like it's dragging." - Danielle L. Read her full review here.


"There are lots of poignant moments of sadness in this story for all characters. And, WOW, did it ever make me think. I really needed to take a moment after finishing this book to think about it, and I still don’t feel ready to move on to another book, because I need to really mull this one over" - Julia M. Read her full review here.


"Keith teaches us that there is always a price to pay for survival. It’s a matter of how far someone is willing to go in order to do so. Filled with emotion with roots in tragedy I highly recommend The Dutch Wife as your next read." - Audrey H. Read her full review here.


"This book is not something that I would go and pick off the shelf in the bookstore as I’m normally not into that genre but WOW let me tell you, this book is fast paced, holds your interest and definitely keeps you wanting more. So before you know it you’re turning pages like crazy to try and find out what happens next." - Tegan M.


"I read this book in two sittings. I could not put it down! It is a very fast paced read. I would recommend this book to anyone, even if you’re not a historical fiction fan or WWII buff." - Whitney C. Read her full review here.


"Keith raises important questions about survival, retribution and secrets making it a perfect book club choice. I couldn’t put this one down!!! " - Ashley N.


"Overall the novel was well written and I would recommend to anyone that enjoys historical fiction stories. I'm looking forward to Ellen Keith's next release!" - Julie M.

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