A tale of courage, enduring love, and secrets kept
This was the first book I have read/listened to from Uvi's series titled "Still Life with Memories," and was attracted to "Marriage before Death" partly by that series name. I finished the book fully appreciating why she had chosen this sub-title. This is a captivating tale of memories shared and secrets kept and how they bring strength and sadness to a loving relationship. The novel opens with Lenny, a retired WW II veteran who has turned to writing, wishing he could put into words the life that has shaped his adored wife Natasha. He has an inkling of the privileged life she led as a concert pianist before the couple met in war-ravaged London. And they have shared a happy marriage since the war ended. But he knows that during the war years, she lived a secret life that she has been unwilling to share, and now no longer remembers because of growing dementia. Lenny's own memories take us back into his clandestine years in the European theater where he becomes aware of the mysterious Rochelle, the infamous "woman in the red beret" who tops the Gestapo's most wanted list. As their paths cross, he realizes that Rochelle is, in fact, his beloved Natasha, spurred into covert duty of her own by her father's counsel that "Every life should matter." As the Germans face approaching Allied forces, the two find themselves coming to each others rescue, but never fully understanding what the other has endured or sacrificed to serve. Uvi writes with such emotion and authenticity that, had I not known she is still actively working, I would have guessed this story was taken from lived experience. Don Warrick's narration adds an element of tension and passion that truly make this a captivation tale of courage, enduring love, and secrets kept. After listening to the closing lines, you will still find yourself thinking about Lenny's observation that "Such is life. It has some loose ends" - the true indicator of a book worth reading! A five-star success!