The Soldier’s Wife

Written by Pamela Hart

This book opens in 1915 in the midst of World War I as Jimmy Hawkins is about to be sent away to Gallipoli. Although his wife, Ruby’s, roots are from the country, she made a decision to live in the city while her husband is away. The book follows her progress as she gains a position in a man’s world and is thrown into all that this entails. Although seemingly naïve to begin with, she does prove herself to be of strong character and perfectly capable of carrying out her job as a book-keeper. In the meantime she receives letters from the front periodically, with Jimmy looking forward to returning home to Australia to settle and start a family.  However, bad news does come from the front and has an effect on Ruby’s life.

Hart does a marvelous job creating the social landscape of the time.  It was interesting to note the reaction of people to a woman getting a job in a man’s world. She portrays the difficulties faced by men coming home from the atrocities of war, to settle back into life, as clearly the war has affected them, and it is not a straightforward process.