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The Women in the Castle: A Novel

by Jessica Shattuck

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,9671208,414 (3.89)92
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.… (more)
  1. 10
    The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah (dawnlovesbooks)
    dawnlovesbooks: both about women in the era of hitler
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» See also 92 mentions

English (124)  Danish (1)  All languages (125)
Showing 1-5 of 124 (next | show all)
War
  BooksInMirror | Feb 19, 2024 |
Amazing book. One that will stay with me for years...Deserving of a 5 ( )
  aefsargent | Feb 6, 2024 |
Initially I didn't feel invested in the characters or story but kept going. Good thoughts of how we survive and judge others for how they survived. ( )
  cathy.lemann | Mar 21, 2023 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
This was a book for our library book club. I enjoyed the story about women during WWII from Germany side. Most of the books I have read that are historical fiction are usually about the Polish, Jews, etc. Tis was the first one that I remember reading that took it from the German side and the resistance that could of happened or that did happen.

Marianne is the main character. She was a person that you could like and also dislike at the same time. There are certain things that she did and ways that she dealt with other women that made you question her ethics. She was sometimes very rigid in her decisions. Some of the other women like Benita and Aina had dealings with Marianne that made them question themselves.

The one thing I did not care for in this book was the way the chapters/sections went. You would read one chapter/section and be in 1938 and then the next chapter you are in 1945. Then go back to 1939. That made it hard at times to figure out what was happening or even confusing. The book was well written and kept my interest. ( )
  crazy4reading | Mar 16, 2023 |
Wonderfully researched but its intensity made it hard to read. There are 3 POVs and a lot of movement backward and forward through time, which I tend not to enjoy. The technique worked well here. ( )
  bjsikes | Jan 30, 2023 |
Showing 1-5 of 124 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Shattuck, Jessicaprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Campbell, CassandraNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lai, Chin-YeeCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Myers, RenéeCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Shutterstock.comCover imagessecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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In memory of my mother, Petra Tolle Shattuck, and my grandmother, Anneliese Tolle
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Burg Lingenfels, November 9, 1938

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. (Prologue)
Burg Lingenfels, June 1945

The entire cart ride from the train station to Burg Lingenfels, Benita lay on the musty hay bales in a half stupor, no longer caring what she looked like: a slut or a vagabond reclining in the open air, making her way across the country with all the dignity of a sack of potatoes.
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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.

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