A Young Wife

A Novel

A Young Wife

Now in paperback from the author of Perfect Family: “a stirring journey” (Booklist) of love, betrayal, and redemption.

An epic tale of a mother’s sacrifice, determination, and love spanning three continents

When fifteen-year-old Minke van Aisma travels to Amsterdam to care for the dying wife of an older, wealthy man named Sander DeVries, she has no idea what awaits her. Within hours of his wife’s death, Sander proposes marriage, and within days the couple sets sail for the burgeoning oil fields of Argentina. But the future that seemed so bright takes a dark turn the morning their son, Zef, is kidnapped. Dire circumstances dictate that Sander immigrate to New York at once, leaving Minke little choice but to wait for their new baby’s arrival, follow Sander to America, and abandon her firstborn. What follows is a triumphant turn-of-the-century story of faith, betrayal, and redemption, an indelible portrait of one woman’s struggle to steer her own fate.
  • Simon & Schuster | 
  • 320 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781451612738 | 
  • June 2012
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Reading Group Guide

This reading group guide for A Young Wife includes an introduction, discussion questions, ideas for enhancing your book club, and a Q&A with author Pam Lewis. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.


Amsterdam, 1912. When fifteen-year-old Minke Van Aisma travels to Amsterdam to care for the dying wife of a wealthy man, she has no idea what journey lies ahead. Only hours after his wife’s death, her employer, Sander DeVries, proposes marriage. Within days the couple has set sail for the oil fields of Argentina. They settle in the rough coastal town of Comodoro Rivadavia, where Minke eventually learns that her husband is not a successful trader, but a morphine producer. The future that seemed so bright takes an even darker turn the morning their toddler son, Zef, is kidnapped. Sander seeks murderous revenge for the kidnapping, and he must flee Comodoro and start over in another country. Already pregnant with their second child, Minke has little choice but to wait for the new baby’s arrival, then follow Sander to America, leaving their firstborn behind forever. But when she arrives in New York and discovers that Sander has betrayed her, she leaves him, finds works as a seamstress, and vows to find her son, no matter h see more

More Books from this Author

Perfect Family
Speak Softly, She Can Hear

About the Author

Pam Lewis
Photograph by Doug Anderson

Pam Lewis

Pam Lewis lives in rural Connecticut with her husband, Rob Funk. Since 1991, she has worked as a freelance writer of business and marketing communications. She is the author of the novels Perfect Family and Speak Softly, She Can Hear and her short fiction has appeared in The New Yorker and various literary magazines.