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City of Women by David R. Gillham
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City of Women (edition 2012)

by David R. Gillham

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7008613,562 (3.83)69
Member:Disie35
Title:City of Women
Authors:David R. Gillham
Info:Amy Einhorn Books/Putnam (2012), Edition: First Edition, Hardcover, 400 pages
Collections:Your library, Kindle, READ2012
Rating:****
Tags:WW II, Berlin, Kindle book, READ2012

Work details

City of Women by David R. Gillham

  1. 10
    A Woman in Berlin: Eight Weeks in the Conquered City: A Diary by Marta Hillers (betsytacy)
    betsytacy: After reading Gillham's novel about a German woman's life in Berlin at the height of World War II, including her affair with a Jewish man and her growing involvement in hiding Jewish residents, turn to A Woman in Berlin, an anonymous diary account of a woman's struggle to survive the Russian occupation of Berlin at the end of the war.… (more)
  2. 10
    Those Who Save Us by Jenna Blum (pdebolt)
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» See also 69 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 86 (next | show all)
Sigrid’s husband is far away at the war and she’s living very bored life with boring job and living with her mother-in-law. But then she meets Egon at the cinema and they became lovers. She also befriends young girl named Ericha who has ties with underground movement that helps Jews.

I had read lots of great reviews about this and I was quite excited to start this but unfortunately this just wasn’t for me.

The first half started very slowly, I couldn’t connect with the characters and I didn’t like either Sigrid or Egon.
We have many, and I mean many, sex scenes and I’m not sure if her adulterous relationships were supposed to make me like her but it didn’t. And while she seems so in love with her Jewish lover, she also has sex with her neighbor’s brother.
I didn’t quite understand how she even became to have any feelings for Egon because besides sex they don’t actually talk very much. Or when Sigrid tries to talk and get to know him, he just shuts off. He never tells her anything about him or his past and she just takes it all.

And also what kind of intelligent person would have sex with a Jew in a crowded cinema at the times like that? I mean you could end up in prison or whatever for that but apparently you just can’t help that… And when we do learn more about Egon’s dealings it definitely didn’t make me like him any more.

I liked the second part more and the parts where Sigrid was helping the Jews and her relationship with Ericha. But otherwise this just fell flat for me. ( )
  Elysianfield | Nov 16, 2016 |
This book was rich in history and vivid in emotions. A story of bravery, suspense, love, lust, and tragedy. My heart was torn and teased while turning the pages. One minute I was consumed with anger and the next my body was hot with seduction.

Its a bit of a love story, but the major plot is about helping the jews seek freedom. Sigrid places her life on the line for others and falls into the trap of temptation. Her husband is a soldier at the front and she is left home to drown in her own thoughts. When she meets a man in the cinema her life takes a wild turn. Secrets are hidden and sexual escapades are exposed. Mix a wounded soldier husband, a spit fire guy, a strong willed teen, a snotty mother in law and you get pages full of intrigue, passion, and unexpected outcomes.

I really found the story to be interesting and the words to be unraveling. There were a few parts that were meh, but overall I thought it was a great story.

I recommend it to all readers that like their books historical and sexy with a bit of suspense. ( )
  ReadersCandyb | Oct 7, 2016 |
I received this book as a Goodreads giveaway winner. I loved this book. I was in Berlin in July and have recently read a few fiction books during WWII. They have been from different perspectives and this one is about the women who are left behind in Berlin during the war. The main character is Sigrid whose husband is off to war and she is stuck home with a mean mother-in-law who is a member of the party and a mundane job. She befriends Ericha, who is supposed to help a woman in Sigrid's building take care of her children. But Ericha helps smuggle Jews and other people out of Berlin. Sigrid gets sucked into helping and also has a love affair with Egon who is a Jew.

The characters are very rich and developed. I worried about what would happen with every turn, would the gestapo find them. Can they get the Jews out of Berlin. We know Jews were being helped and hidden in different safe houses. Who knows if Berlin had a lot of sex happening during the war. I think it could have happened because they needed to escape the war. The Berliners were also being misled to what was happening with the war.

What a beautiful book and I could see it as a movie. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and can't wait to share it with friends and family. I would recommended and have already recommended it to several people. ( )
  MHanover10 | Jul 10, 2016 |
It's the height of World War II and all the men are away at front, leaving Berlin a city of women.
  MerrittGibsonLibrary | Jun 21, 2016 |
Would've been 5 stars if it stuck to the premise. The story of the people who stuck their necks out trying to save others from the SS and the regime and what was happening to the average citizen during the war. I would've loved that book. But no, he had to throw in multiple affairs (not just Sigrid but every female character there not to mention the completely unnecessary acts of masturbation) to liven things up. I mean, where did she get the energy let alone the time. And seriously, neither myself or anyone in my book club has had a random man grab my hand and put it on his junk... she had that happen multiple times. A bit too much of the author's fantasy if you ask me. ( )
  Half-elf28 | Jun 1, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 86 (next | show all)
This is a shopworn premise, but Gillham has two great strengths that elevate his story. The first is his hard-won command of Berlin in 1943, its geography, its restaurants and hotels, even its language. (There are German words on nearly every page, but they seem authentic, never showy.) Second, and more significantly, his characters suffer from the full moral complexity of their time. A woman and a man, of whose integrity we have been sure, betray their friends not out of evil, but because they face impossible dilemmas, what the Holocaust scholar Lawrence L. Langer has called "choiceless choices" — while the book's villains have flashes of crabby, unexpected selflessness.
added by ozzer | editUSA Today, Charles Finch (Aug 6, 2012)
 
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Epigraph
"Take hold of kettle, broom, and pan, then you'll surely get a man! Shop and office leave alone, Your true life's work lies at home." -Common German rhyme of the 1930s

"Who will ever ask in three or five hundred years' time whether a Fraulein Muller or Schulze was unhappy?" -Heinrich Himmler, Reichsfuhrer of the SS and Chief of the German police, circa 1941
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To Ludmilla
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The blind man taps his cane rhythmically.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
Sigrid Schroder is the model German soldier's wife during World War II, except for one secret, she misses her Jewish lover, but she is not the only one with secrets, and she must choose to act on what is right and what is wrong and what falls somewhere in the shadows between the two when the carefully constructed fortress of solitude she has built over the years begins to collapse.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 039915776X, Hardcover)

Amazon Best Books of the Month, August 2012: While the world hardly lacks for novels about WWII, David R. Gillham’s City of Women is extraordinary for what it does not do. It does not detail the events or imagined conversations of Hitler’s Reich, and it has not a single scene of life in the death camps. Instead, it chronicles-–in detail so specific that it’s mesmerizing, but not so obviously researched as to be annoying-–life for “ordinary” Berliners at a time that was anything but. Through Heroine Sigrid Schroder, a German wife drawn into an affair with a Jew, Gillham shows us a world in which not all Germans are bad, not all Jews are victims, and loyalty is a fiction, the grimmest of fairy tales. -–Sara Nelson

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 17:59:47 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Hiding her clandestine activities behind the persona of a model Nazi soldier's wife at the height of World War II, Sigrid Schroeder dreams of her former Jewish lover and risks everything to hide a mother and two young children who she believes might be her lover's family.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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