Tells a wartime romance story, which sees a headstrong young woman face hardship, danger and dilemmas as the forces of history sweep her across continents, while two men compete to claim her heart. This book is suitable for fans of 'Cold Mountain' or Captain Corelli's 'Mandolin', Sebastian Faulks, Pam Jenoff, and, Anthony Capella.Goodreads doesn't seem to have a good synopsis of this book!
A novel set in Poland during WWII, The Officer's Daughter is a story of Marta, who happens to be the daughter of a Polish Colonel. At sixteen, she dreams of joining the military, following in her father's footsteps in serving her country. Due to her gender, this is impossible and makes due with being a Girl Guide (Americans, think Girl Scouts).
This is where the story starts for us and the adventure for Marta. Her story takes us across Poland, to a logging camp in Siberia Russia, onward to the cotton fileds of Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic and then a British tent hospital in Iran.
Marta is a naive girl at the beginning. Her desire for military service reminds me of myself at her age. Perhaps this made me connect with her right from the beginning. She seems innocent of war and its realities. As her life unfolds, we watch Marta grow, and in some aspects, become hard hearted.
About halfway through the book, romance appears and becomes an important subplot. The romance is not steamy nor does it take away from the novel. Ms. Rohan is not overly descriptive, not taking the focus off the story. The intimacy has a purpose and when we understand, the story moves on.
Marta was not an overly loveable character, but I felt myself drawn to her. I felt a connection with her, which is very important to me as a reader. When Marta makes a hasty decision at the pivital part of the novel, I found myself pleading, "Oh, Marta," willing her not to do it. My heart dropped when she did.
I was very much drawn into the novel. I froze and felt the loneliness in Siberia. I was isolated from the rest of the world in Iran. My heart ached for Marta while another part was totally annoyed with her.
In the end, Rohan does not leave us with a fairytale ending. I have read a few reviews that looks negatively on this. I do not agree. A happy ending would have made us warm inside, but I have more respect for the author for keeping it honest. I actually can see a sequel, but perhaps that is wishful thinking on my part.
This is the first book in a long time where I have connected with the characters so much that they have stayed wth me for days after I read the last page. I haven't read any other novels by Rohan, but I now will keep my eyes open.
Here's a link to a short interview with the author about the novel.
Author's Website: Zinarohan.com
Title: The Officer's Daughter
Author: Zina Rohan
Publisher: Portobello Books
Source: Personal copy