A Young Wife

When fifteen-year-old Minke van Aisma is sent from her small village in the Netherlands to tend the dying wife of the much older Sander DeVries, she has no idea what awaits her. She is unprepared for his sumptuous home in Amsterdam, for the tension in the household caused by the couple’s disagreeable daughter and impaired son, or for the mystery around Sander’s background and business. Upon his wife’s death Sander astonishes Minke by proposing marriage. And she astonishes herself by accepting. Within days she is on a ship headed for the oilfields of Comodoro Rivadavia, Argentina.

Her companions aboard ship include a wealthy oil speculator, Frederik Dietz, his haughty wife, Tessa, their sickly daughter, Astrid, and Sander’s old friend and business partner, the elegant Dr. Cassian Tredegar.

Onboard ship, Minke discovers a passion she hadn’t known existed. She is besotted with her new husband and her love prepares her for anything she might encounter, including Comodoro itself. Instead of the sweeping pampas and graceful estancias she had expected, her new home is a hardscrabble place where oil gushes in the streets, people live in metal shacks with dirt floors, and gambling and heavy drinking are the norm.

Still wildly in love, however, she is willing to overlook any hardship. She is bewitched by the gauchos who race their magnificent horses up and down the main street. She learns to ride and to love the vast open spaces of her new home, so unlike the crowded little village where she grew up.

But the future takes a dark turn the morning her son, Zef, is kidnapped. Circumstances dictate that Sander must immigrate to New York at once, leaving Minke no choice but to wait for the birth of her second baby, then follow Sander to America, abandoning all hope of ever finding her firstborn.

What follows is a saga of betrayal and redemption that takes Minke from rough living on the Argentine coast to the impoverished life of a recent immigrant in New York. Her tale is one of love, betrayal and redemption, one you won’t soon forget.

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