Cover Image: The American Wife (The Diplomat's Wife Book 1)

The American Wife (The Diplomat's Wife Book 1)

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A gripping read that I absolutely loved. This book left me heart broken and reaching for the tissues on multiple occasions
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The American Wife is the latest historical fiction novel by Chrystyna Lucyk-Berger and the first in her new ‘The Diplomat’s Wife’ book series. I want to preface this review by saying that I did really want to like the book as a story focusing on the annexation of Austria and the lives of American diplomats living in pre-war Europe was a really interesting concept but unfortunately it did really miss the mark for me. 
One of my primary criticisms of the book was that it tried to be too many things. There were three distinctly separate aspects to the story: Kitty’s work for the US embassy processing visa applications for those trying to leave Austria, the relationship between her and her diplomat husband Edgar despite their apparent opposing political views and her work for the Austrian resistance protecting people being persecuted by the Nazis. All three aspects were interesting plot points in themselves but it felt like they were fighting for page space and therefore none of them were explored in the depth I was craving. 
I did particularly find the exploration of the American visa application process for people trying to escape Nazi persecution to be very interesting and something I hadn’t seen before in other Second World War historical fiction novels. It was particularly powerful to see the book shed a light on the impact of international antisemitism 
I unfortunately didn’t warm to Kitty’s character at all and that did have a big impact on my overall enjoyment of the story. She felt incredibly immature, selfish and generally unlikeable. Although she did have redeeming qualities such as her determination to do whatever it takes to protect the friends she hadn’t even known for that long, these moments of bravery and thoughtfulness didn’t quite do enough to make up for her negative traits unfortunately. 
It was really quite hard to root for Kitty and Edgar’s relationship at all. Their initial connection felt very superficial and their marriage was incredibly rushed. It was inevitable that the cracks in their relationship would start to show very quickly and I honestly didn’t find myself really caring if they found their way back to each other or not. 
Although they were only supporting characters, I actually found myself really drawn to the different characters within ‘The Gang’ and felt they would have actually been much stronger protagonists than Kitty and Edgar. I am curious to see the direction Chrystyna Lucyk-Berger plans to take the rest of the series to see if we get any further exploration of their stories.
The ending of The American Wife paves the way for the next book in the series although I have to say I did find it predictable, particularly the ‘big twist’ about Pim’s identity.
Overall, whilst The American Wife did feel well researched, the plot and characters really didn’t grip me unfortunately and it ended up feeling like I was having to drag myself towards the end of the book. As stated previously, this was a shame as the different aspects of the storyline were interesting but they just weren’t as effectively executed as I would have wanted.


I have posted an extended review on my blog and the post is linked.
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4.5⭐️The American Wife by Chystyna Lucyk-Berger, first in The Diplomat's Wife Series, is an excellent historical novel. The story takes place in Vienna just before WWII and follows the life of Kitty Larsson an American woman.  She marries Edgar an Austrian and their romance is soon cooled with their differences in political views which causes much conflict between them. One working for the Nazis, the other working at the US consulate helping those in need get passports to escape the Nazis. There is many twists and turns in the story with a surprise ending. 

It is a well researched book with many true events and actual real people in it. I throughly enjoyed the book, racing along at high speed through the years prior to WWII. I would highly recommend this book. 

Thank you NetGalley and Bookouture for an advance copy of this novel. Looking forward to the second book in this series.
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An interesting perspective on WWII in Austria. While the main character wasn't my favorite, she did have an interesting story and a life full of unique characters.
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I love WWII historical fiction books. This one had a little different focus than what I have typically read. This was a delightful adventure as you rush through the pages. There is mystery, intrigue, danger, and misguided assumptions. The characters were well developed and you will quickly be drawn into the story. Kitty, the main character, is tough and tenacious. I admired her courage, the way she developed friendships with individuals with whom she probably would have never met, and her willingness to assist innocent people escape from Nazi brutality. A great twist at the end that will have you gasping in shock.

Thank you to NetGalley and Bookoutre for my advanced review copy. All opinions and thoughts are my own.

For more reviews, please visit my blog at: Over 1000 reviews posted!
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In the first book of The Diplomat’s Wife series, Chrystyna Lucyk-Berger brings Kitty Larrson, daughter of an American senator and who is wholly uninterested in settling down according to her French mother’s wishes, to life. Kitty maintains a fierce independent streak and a strong sense of justice and fairness, both in her daily life and in her ideas of bureaucracy. When visiting her brother in Tokyo, Kitty meets Dr. Edgar Ragatz, and sparks fly, drawing Kitty to Vienna in the years just before World War II. The reader views the complications of the Anschluss and Austrian resistance through Kitty’s eyes and relationship with Edgar, watching as her love for Edgar and her loyalties to her friends and justice become messily entwined as the war looms ever closer. Lucyk-Berger, clearly familiar with some of the roles that women held in World War II, brings the terror and uncertainty of the period to life through her vivid descriptions and her characters’ experiences. Lucyk-Berger’s characters are dynamic, vivacious, and lively, and their relationships are equally compelling and immersive. Lucyk-Berger’s prose, descriptions, and settings bring her many characters and their acts of resistance to the forefront of the novel, immersing her character in the day-to-day of World War II.
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Fabulous story, great writing, can't wait to read the next book. Such a well put together story, characters and details of the years leading to WW2
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The American Wife was a story that page after page started to grow and evolve better, at the beginning the heroine acted in a way that made me feel like the book was going to fall short but hey wait a minute, Chrystynas writing is always known at least to me to change in a way that you never know where the story or the characters will take you and that's is what I like about her books.

The American Wife is the story of Kitty a heroine who fell in love with a man who grew colder and more distant with each new day, making her feel like she did the wrong thing to marry someone who in the end was not what she knew or respected. 

Kitty is one of those heroines who grew up with the story, who will surprise you and make you fall in love with her strength and her vivacious humor that constantly bothers the rest of the people who didn't understand her at all. This is exactly what I love about Kitty how she started as someone very naive and end up empowering herself and moving forward without looking back no matter what.

This is when she started to get involved with the resistance a group that will give her hope but at the same time, things will change forever in her life and also in her marriage making her also aware that she was living a very dangerous life one that she never had imagined.

without giving too much away this is a story that will captivate you and will leave you wanting more to the point that we can't wait for the second book to come out.

Thank you, NetGalley and Bookouture, for the advanced copy of The American Wife in exchange for my honest review
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I received an advanced copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. I had trouble finishing this one, but it was not a tough read. The lead character was very insistent about making questionable choices, which I know was supposed to make the story  move along, but it made me think that the author felt like we should believe women were just that gullible and fallible.  I would recommend this as a light read, but not if you're expecting a super thoughtful heroine.
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The American Wife by Chrystyna Lucyk-Berger and Narrated by Madeline Pell is the first book in the new The Diplomat's Wife series and I really enjoyed it. This book was heart-wrenching and very hard to put down  once I started to read/listen to especially as it was set in Vienna, 1937, in the years leading up to World War II and is historical fiction. This book has everything, friendship, romance, with a little mystery and suspense which made it an excellent book from start to finish! and a great holiday read. I loved it.

The narrator Madeline Pell  was excellent.

I highly recommend this beautifully written book and I am looking forward to Book two in the brilliant new series. 

Big Thank you to Netgalley and Bookouture for the preview copy and audiobook copy.
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Thank you to Netgalley for the e-ARC of this book for an honest review! 

For friends who loved The Nightingale, this is a very similar story (but different plot, in all the best ways).

Kitty is a strong woman, looking to change the world and then she meets Edgar, a very established gentleman, but very mysterious. Kitty's brother warns her that Edgar is not the best choice, but Kitty thinks he is being ridiculous. 

Kitty finds herself in a very strange predicament when her Jewish friends start disappearing and she finds out that her husband Edgar is one of Hitler's biggest supporters. Kitty struggles between love and friendship as well as what in the world she should do in this wildly dangerous situation. 

I loved this book, it did end the way I hoped it would and I thought that the author did an amazing job at telling this story. I see that there is another book in the works and I am READY for the sequel to this story. 

If you enjoyed The Nightingale, I would say this would be a safe pick if you're looking for a similar story/setting. 

Overall, I loved this book and I can't wait for book 2!
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I found the American Wife to be an interesting story that has kept my attention throughout. The author has done a fantastic job with character development and setting. The characters are wonderfully written and relatable, and descriptions of the places are easily imagined. I find myself thinking about the book even when I'm not reading it. This book is not simply another account of life during WW2 but captures unique struggles that occurred during this period.  The pressure of the political tide causes stress in the workplace, strife amongst family, affects friendships, and even causes issues in marital relationships.

Kitty finds herself in a difficult situation. She's newly married and because of political differences she is caught between her husband and her friends and struggles with the decisions that she must make which will affect those she knows and loves.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author and this is my honest and voluntary review.
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Chrystyna ,she never disappoints you on her writing style and her stories! In this story, you find yourself in Austria in 1930's at the beginning of the war, where Kitty falls in love and marries, only to find out that her marriage isn't the fairy tale she thought it would be. Her friends are in trouble, being chased down by Hillter's people, her job is in trouble, and so is her marriage, thinking which side is her husband really on? To help out her friends and her country she will start working as a spy sort to speak and she puts a lot of people in harm's way. Instead of going back to the United States, she remains in Austria to help all the Austrian people and the Jews. Exciting situations Kitty gets herself into and will she have to make changes to her marriage? Alot of history is shared in this story where you will find out things that went on that I'm sure you were never taught in school, you can tell so much research went into this book. This is the first book and it's so exciting to find out what Kitty is going to do next. Off to book two and you will see what I mean after you read this exciting story.
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The American Wife by Chrystyna Lucyk-Berger was an outstanding novel.  Taking place in the 1930s as Hitler is designing the domination of Europe, I found the novel very emotional and the characters so secretive that I was unable to decide which character was the trustful one.

Kitty, the daughter of a United States senator, meets and falls in love with an Austrian businessman.  They make their home in his native Austria.  She works for the U.S. Embassy.  When the Anschluss looms on the horizon, both Kittey and her husband Edgar hope that they can make it through the trouble.  

However, Kitty’s friends are deemed deplorable by the Nazis and are hunted because of their faith or their lifestyles.  Kitty defies her husband and secretively tries to help them out of Nazi control.  Edgar becomes distant as though he is holding secrets himself.  Neither is forthcoming with their secrets and it causes a strain in their relationship.  

I will say no more about the plot because you MUST read this book to understand the diplomacy and secret missions that must take place if people are to be saved.  I was thoroughly enthralled with this story and I am patiently waiting for the next book, which will continue the story of Kitty and Edgar.  I absolutely LOVED this book.
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The American Wife is the first book in the new series, The Dilpomat’s Wife, recently read which takes us back in time to several years before the outbreak of World War Two. It’s refreshing to see the historical fiction genre being changed up a little bit instead of books just always solely focusing on the war years. I am loving that I am getting more background information as to the causes of the war and detailed explanations and explorations of the rise of Hitler and his anti-Semitism. This book is set primarily in Austria. We have all learned in history lessons in school that Hitler invaded Austria but then the actual details and the people who lived there well we never read about what happened to them. How their lives changed and what life was like under occupation. It was like it was one sentence in a book and then we learned about the next big move by Hitler. But here the author has given a voice to so many people and detailed how one American woman full of anger and grief at the futility of what was happening did so much to help those whose lives were more or less being annihilated all because of their religion and beliefs.

Kitty is a young American woman who wants to make her mark on the world. She comes from an affluent and influential family. Her  brother Nils is a diplomat working in Japan is a strong influence on her life. She travels to Japan to visit him and she is shown a world that she would long to get her teeth into as she would love to work as a foreign service officer. Kitty meets Edgar an Austrian diplomat and she is totally struck by him. She can’t get him out of her mind so much so that she decides to go to Austria and seek him out. Her father gets her work in the US consulate in Vienna and here she is where she meets Millie who introduces her to the Gang. The Gang are a group of men and women from all walks of life. They are free and liberal and no one is judged for their sexual preference, their beliefs or religion. Kitty soon becomes firm friends with all of the gang and in particular Judith who is a Jewish fashion designer. She balances her time between work, Edgar and the gang and by the end of 1937 herself and Edgar are celebrating their marriage. Little does she know her love and faith are about to be severely tested.

1938 and the Nazi’s invade Vienna.Working at the consulate Kitty and her fellow workers know that there will be a stream of people seeking visas and passports as the net tightens around them. They do their best in what becomes a difficult and heart-breaking situation and when her friends need a lifeline she tries her best to give it to them. It really struck me how if you hadn’t any way of getting a visa and getting out of the country than you really were stuck and that there was nowhere to run to. So many people must have thought why is this all happening just because they were Jewish. They must have been in such a limbo waiting to see whether they would get a visa or else face the inevitable which would turn out to be the death camps but I guess they wouldn’t even have known anything about these horrific places given it was quite some time before the official outbreak of war when the majority of the story takes place. 

I loved how Kitty always fought for the cause and the resistance work she becomes engaged in was fascinating and the fact that she used what was readily at her disposal really gave her the one up on Edgar. It was like she was putting two fingers up to him as he seemed to distance himself from her the further the book developed and the country’s situation changed. More so in the later half, I became fascinated with all of Kitty’s clandestine work and the fact she was so selfless and courageous.

The book is split into four different parts and to be honest I found the first half of the book hard work and I struggled to get through some of the chapters. I found the wording was heavy going at times and I found myself stopping to reread paragraphs to try and understand the bigger situation that was transpiring and how the characters slotted into this. The start was very slow. I do understood it all needed to occur so that the main characters could meet and fall in love but having the beginning set in Japan just more or less so that the meeting of two like minds could occur did nothing for the story in my opinion. I felt the story couldn’t get going as it was bogged down in unnecessary detail. If the opening section could have been shorter and subsequently the pair got together in a chapter or two and then move to Austria it would have been much better. I just kept waiting for the story to kick off so to speak and for me that didn’t occur until the midway point. 

Then when things started to click for me, I really got into the plot and Kitty became an incredible character. She could see the brutality and violence starting to erupt all around her and knew how unjust and unreasonable the whole situation was. She was a clever woman who wanted to do everything in her power to help those who needed to get out of the country. I thought she was incredibly brave and forthright  and never allowed men in a role of privilege to shoot her down especially when she had such valid and erstwhile opinions. Kitty really was torn between a rock and a hard place as Edgar was on the other side working as a diplomat and legal advisor to the German office in Vienna. Initially, they had seemed like a match made in heaven and throughout the years leading up to the war and the during the annexation of Austria they became polarised in their opinions. Needless, to say this caused anguish and mistrust in their relationship. 

I couldn’t fathom how a man who was so enamoured with Kitty could not share the same beliefs as her. That he couldn’t be on the right side instead of supporting what the Nazi’s were doing with their racial laws. It just seemed unbelievable that someone could turn like that and I think kitty felt the same way and grappled with the fact that the man she loved was doing the exact opposite of what she was in her daily life. That being he supported the actions and rules introduced whereas Kitty was doing everything to save those affected by the new laws. Yet, there were moments of tenderness and togetherness that occurred every now and then between them. I questioned whether Kitty should have just gotten out of the marriage? Why stay with someone who becomes part of a regime that devoured, smashed and destroyed everything and everyone in its path?

After what I believe to be a rocky start, The American Wife redeemed itself in the second half. The writing didn’t feel as challenging to read and comprehend and I could see where the story was going and how little things were starting to fall into place. Kitty really does come into her own and the bravery, courage and resilience she shows is remarkable. She goes through heartache and devastation but friendship and love will be found amidst the darkness and her undercover work trying to assist in the bigger picture deserves nothing but admiration. At the start of the book she wants to work in the foreign service and little did she know that meeting Edgar would allow her to fulfil her potential in this regard and take her on a personal journey far beyond her realms of possibility. 

Towards the end, I came to a certain realisation and I was kicking myself not to have guessed it earlier given upon reflection all the clues were there and this was another point that made the book redeem itself. It was a brilliant twist and made me revaluate everything I had read and the opinions I had formed. Things were left on a cliff-hanger of sorts in terms of what Kitty now knows and what she will do.Where she will venture next will be interesting to see in book two. I am caught up in her story now and can’t wait for the next instalment which I hope we will get sometime later this year.
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Parts of The American Wife were intriguing and taught me a lot I never knew about the early days of Hitler's rise to power. For instance: I had never heard that Jews were forced to change their last names if their own names didn't sound Jewish enough. The author did a good job showing how individual families were often divided by ideology and personal loyalties. It was also eye-opening to see a different perspective on a city (Vienna), that we tend to think about romantically. The love story was okay--nothing spectacular and parts of it seemed unrealistic. Kitty fell in love very fast but never seemed to really know her husband. I was also thrown off course several times by poor punctuation as many sentences were run-ons, but overall it was a good read. The subtitle of the book is The Diplomat's Wife Book 1. I'm curious as to what the author intends for this series. I don't think it will be a continuation of Ktty and her husband's story, but perhaps I'm wrong.
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Lucyk-Berger creates a headstrong protagonist that challenges the female roles of the time period.  It is refreshing to see a character like Kitty, who has ambition and drive.  The intriguing story line moves through the expansion of German power in Austria, but there a places when the author focuses on the minutiae of the resistance activities.  I would have loved to see greater development of the relationship between Kitty and her husband. The twist at the end was predictable as well.
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Vienna, 1937 Kitty leaves her life in America and searches for a diplomatic job in Austria.  She becomes engaged to Edgar, an Austrian diplomat.  Europe isn’t exactly what she expected and that makes her homesick for her life in America.  Kitty meets and becomes friends with Judith, who is also the woman designing Kitty’s wedding dress.  Judith introduces Kitty to what Vienna really is about.  The culture and the best things about Vienna and the people that live there.  Soon after Edgar and Kitty get married, the world around them changes drastically and it doesn’t take long for life to take a toll on their marriage.  They begin to grow apart, and then the Nazis’ come for Judith because she is Jewish.  As a diplomat’s wife, Kitty knows of only one way to save her friend, but it would mean betraying her husband, Edgar.  Kitty is at an impossible crossroad, does she save Judith or does she betray her husband?

This heartbreaking story of new beginnings, love, friendship and loss was enthralling.  I felt a connection to the characters in the story and as I dove into the pages, my heart was beating faster and faster.  The people that lived during this era were very courageous in what they had to do in order to survive such a terrible time.  This story was both inspiring and gripping as I flipped page after page.  Make sure you keep the Kleenex box nearby because you will surely need it.  It was hooked from the very first chapter.  This fantastic read is one that I highly recommend.
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At first Kitty seemed like an overindulged, spoiled, carefree woman. Her desire to be loved and have adventures paralleled her wish to be taken seriously in the male dominated field of international relations. While she appeared to get everything she wanted, Kitty knew that under the surface things weren't quite right. As the Nazis encroached upon her world, Kitty had to decide what course she was going to take.
The author focused on some of the darkest days in Vienna during WWII. This story highlighted the bravery of so many who chose to do what was right at great risk to themselves. Lucyk-Berger's writing was so compelling and her characters so richly developed that the reader cannot help but be fully immersed in the story. From Minnesota to Toyoko, from Vienna to London, readers follow Kitty as she struggled to find a balance in her life and her marriage.

I received a copy of this title via NetGalley.
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The American Wife (The Diplomat's Wife Book 1)
By: Chrystyna Lucyk-Berger
Publish Date: Apr 14, 2023

Thank you to NetGalley, Bookouture Publishing and the author, Christyna Lucyk-Berger for the advanced copy of The American Wife.

Are you looking for something new to sink your teeth into, but historical? A book that will make you laugh, cry and scream....I knew it?! Well, take a chance on this amazing book, because you will not be disappointed!!

The story follows, Gertude Larsson, an American nicknamed Kitty who has previously been engaged twice, when she meets Edgar, a friend of her brother Nils. Kitty thinks he is everything she could want and falls in love, fast. Unfortunately, their meeting ends rather quickly and he returns to Vienna. Edgar does tell Kitty he loves her though. At that point Kitty decides she will work abroad and find Edgar. Through the story of Kitty and Edgar's relationship, Kitty's boss, co-workers and friends, Edgar's prominent career opportunity -if he follows the Nazi rules, we are right along side the happiness, heartbreak, hope and confusion that has changed everyone's life overnight. Leaving the ultimate question, can love, both romantic and platonic, survive anything?

I really enjoyed this book. The authors words flowed so smoothly from character to character and chapter to chapter. 

My favorite part, besides that the book is based partially on real life people, is when the boss John Cooper whose staff are in charge of intaking visa applications tells everyone no matter who comes in, if they can be helped or not, they will be treated as humans and kindly. To maintain human decency in the midst of chaos and confusion risking your life is absolutely incredible and carries on through the book. Hope, love, trust and decency. 

#TheAmericanWife #NetGalley #ChristynaLucykBerger
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