Who needs a great new read? I don't know about you but Summer is a time where I just love to lose myself in a new book. Nice weather seems to give me the license I need to let things like housework go (maybe I should rethink this haha!). In any case, I have been doing a lot of reading lately and I just finished up a great book by Jessica Shattuck called The Woman in the Castle that I think you will really enjoy. Here is the scoop....
Set at the end of World War II, in a crumbling Bavarian castle that once played host to all of German high society, a powerful and propulsive story of three widows whose lives and fates become intertwined—an affecting, shocking, and ultimately redemptive novel from the author of the New York Times Notable Book The Hazards of Good Breeding.
Amid the ashes of Nazi Germany’s defeat, Marianne von Lingenfels returns to the once-grand castle of her husband’s ancestors, an imposing stone fortress now fallen into ruin following years of war. The widow of a resister murdered in the failed July 20, 1944, plot to assassinate Adolf Hitler, Marianne plans to uphold the promise she made to her husband’s brave conspirators: to find and protect their wives, her fellow resistance widows.
First Marianne rescues six-year-old Martin, the son of her dearest childhood friend, from a Nazi reeducation home. Together, they make their way across the smoldering wreckage of their homeland to Berlin, where Martin’s mother, the beautiful and naive Benita, has fallen into the hands of occupying Red Army soldiers. Then she locates Ania, another resister’s wife, and her two boys, now refugees languishing in one of the many camps that house the millions displaced by the war.
As Marianne assembles this makeshift family from the ruins of her husband’s resistance movement, she is certain their shared pain and circumstances will hold them together. But she quickly discovers that the black-and-white, highly principled world of her privileged past has become infinitely more complicated, filled with secrets and dark passions that threaten to tear them apart. Eventually, all three women must come to terms with the choices that have defined their lives before, during, and after the war—each with their own unique share of challenges.
Written with the devastating emotional power of The Nightingale, Sarah’s Key, and The Light Between Oceans, Jessica Shattuck’s evocative and utterly enthralling novel offers a fresh perspective on one of the most tumultuous periods in history. Combining piercing social insight and vivid historical atmosphere, The Women in the Castle is a dramatic yet nuanced portrait of war and its repercussions that explores what it means to survive, love, and, ultimately, to forgive in the wake of unimaginable hardship.
My Thoughts: I loved this book. Historical fiction is one of my favorite genres and I have read a lot of it but The Woman in the Castle is right at the top of my new favorites list. Shattuck does a great job of grabbing you right away and not letting go until the very last page. I really enjoyed how the main characters were woman which offered a new view and spin on World War II which is often from a male perspective.
Marianne, Ania and Benita are all very different and complex characters yet they are bonded together by their circumstances. Marianne takes the promise she makes at the beginning of the book to Connie (Benita's husband) very seriously and is the "commander of woman and children". The new lives each of the woman now faces are very different from their old. The war has destroyed much of what they had and losing loved ones has taken a toll. Together we see them navigate their own lives which is often wrought with guilt and struggle. Their friendships are tested as is their faith but the bonds these women share is a true pleasure to read.
The Women in the Castle is a must read and would be a perfect book club pick. I would highly recommend this book to those who love historical fiction. You can pick up your copy today at your local bookstore or on Amazon...
Win It! I am so pleased to tell you that the publisher is giving one lucky Reviewed by Mom follower a copy of The Women In The Castle! Thanks so much to the sponsor and good luck!
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