The Diplomat’s Wife

Written by Pam Jenoff
Review by Ken Kreckel


This is the follow-up to the author’s debut novel, The Kommandant’s Girl, a tale centering on a woman reluctantly thrust into the Polish resistance during World War II. The Diplomat’s Wife picks up the story of a secondary character, Marta Nederman, a fellow resistance fighter. Having survived Nazi imprisonment, Marta embarks on a new life after the war, however one not without tragedy. She endures the loss of a good friend, as well as a passionate American lover, before finally building a new life in London. Now married to an English diplomat, and the mother of a child, she lives a comfortable, if disturbingly sterile, way of life. However, the pull of her past proves irresistible, and Marta soon finds herself on a mission back to Eastern Europe. Only this time the enemy, in the guise of the new Communist masters, is even more cunning and unpredictable.

This novel, a much more conventional romance than the author’s first effort, takes a while to really get going. When it finally does, the plot and pace are much more reminiscent of the earlier book. This is Ms. Jenoff at her best, relating a story of an ordinary woman suddenly immersed in the deadly world of espionage. Plot twists abound in this tale, and to say many of the characters are not who they seem is putting it mildly. However, unlike many works these days, the author ties them all up neatly in the end, coming to an exciting and satisfying conclusion.