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The Women of the Castle by Jessica Shattuck

The Women of the Castle (2017)

by Jessica Shattuck

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    The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah (amanaceerdh)
    amanaceerdh: both about women in the era of hitler

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Not what I expected. I expected that Marianne would 'rescue' more wives of the German resistance and they'd form a close bond. A community of women.

Actually, she finds only two, and one is an imposter. And this unlikely 'rescue' exposes ugly truths about each woman. Marianne is judgmental, not very self aware, yet she is steadfast and loyal and generous. Benita is so immature. Ania's story illustrates the story of many Germans who believed the Nazi government and the propaganda, until much too late. And now that ignorance seems much too unlikely to be credible.

I think I was expected something more like the typical WWII novel, of happy ending stories of love and steadfast waiting and hard work and luck and unbelievable odds. And then it occurred to me that can't happen here because it's from the German point of view. The national shame has to be part of this.

The characters were not that interesting, maybe because they weren't very likable. The chapters switch the point of view and the time loops back and forward a little, so it's easy not to get attached to anyone. ( )
  BeckiMarsh | May 26, 2017 |
This book has been getting lots of good reviews so I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it! The Women in the Castle is the story of three women who come to live together in a rundown castle at the end of World War II. It reminded me very much of “The Nightingale” by Kristin Hannah.
The prologue starts out pre-war, where Marianne von Lingenfel promises to be “the commander/protector of the wives and children” at a secret meeting her husband, her lifetime friend, and other men are having to plan actions against Hitler.
In order to honor her promise to her husband, best friend and the other husbands (who all were caught and killed for their actions) she sets out in search of the wives and children left behind after the war.
First she locates Martin, son of her beloved, deceased friend Connie. Next she tracks down Benita (mother of Martin/wife of Connie). It is obvious they have both been deeply affected by the war. Benita is broken, frail and withdrawn. Martin is quiet and subdued. Their love for each other keeps them going.
Marianne then discovers another resister’s wife (Ania) and her children and brings them to live with her at the castle. Marianne, Benita and Ania develop a friendship and live together many years. Throughout all of their stories you learn about each of their struggles for survival, their damaged souls, and the horrible ordeals they have all survived.
The book exposes all the horrors of the Hitler era and the effects of war. Secrets are revealed that affect the friendships the women have forged. Each woman has to come to terms with horrors from their past to move forward with their lives. I can’t say much more without revealing too much about the book. It was a very good novel about war, friendship, love, the power of the past and the will to survive. Highly recommended!!! ( )
  amanaceerdh | May 14, 2017 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I have not yet received my copy of [The Women in the Castle] from the publisher, but will post a review. Thank you, [Early Reviewers} and LibraryThing!

Still waiting for my copy from the publisher as of May 20, 2017. Eager to read this one!
  hollysing | May 6, 2017 |
I won a copy from LibraryThings March 28, 2017, but have not received it as of May 5.
  kdabra4 | May 5, 2017 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
The Women in the Castle, by Jessica Shattuck, is a well-written sturdy little book about a time-period that I have never read about before. The story encompasses the aftermath of the 2nd World War, and specifically, the lives of three women and their children. These women were all left widows by the war, and by their husband's disastrous attempt to assassinate Adolph Hitler.

For me, the most intriguing parts of the story were those that dealt with the guilt, and non-guilt, of the German people after the war ends. I have traveled to Germany and visited concentration camps and spoken with those whose relatives lived in Germany and Austria while the war was on-going. This book truly made that time period come to life. It would have been a difficult time to be German, no matter what side you had been on.

Right now, there are many many books being sold that are about women during World War II. This is the first that I have read about women in the aftermath of that terrible time. This is definitely a book worth picking up, in my opinion, if you are a fan of historical fiction. ( )
  ouroborosangel | May 2, 2017 |
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In memory of my mother, Petra Tolle Shattuck, and my grandmother, Anneliese Tolle
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The day of the countess's famous harvest party began with a driving rain that hammered down on all the ancient von Lingenfels castle's sore spots - springing leaks, dampening floors, and turning its yellow façade a slick, beetle-like black.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0062563661, Hardcover)

Three women, haunted by the past and the secrets they hold

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Fri, 28 Oct 2016 09:57:52 -0400)

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