Découvrez votre prochain livre audio préféré

Devenez membre dès aujourd'hui et écoutez gratuitement pendant 30 jours
The Women in the Castle

The Women in the Castle


The Women in the Castle

évaluations:
4/5 (132 évaluations)
Longueur:
12 heures
Éditeur:
Sortie:
Mar 28, 2017
ISBN:
9780062657381
Format:
Livre audio

Description

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.

Éditeur:
Sortie:
Mar 28, 2017
ISBN:
9780062657381
Format:
Livre audio

À propos de l'auteur

Jessica Shattuck is the New York Times bestselling author of The Women in the Castle, The Hazards of Good Breeding, a New York Times Notable Book and finalist for the PEN/Winship Award, and Perfect Life. Her writing has appeared in the New York Times, The New Yorker, Glamour, Mother Jones, and Wired, among other publications. 


Lié à The Women in the Castle

Livres audio associé

Avis

Ce que les gens pensent de The Women in the Castle

4.2
132 évaluations / 77 Avis
Qu'avez-vous pensé ?
Évaluation : 0 sur 5 étoiles

Avis des lecteurs

  • (5/5)
    Fantastic book about three very different women caught up in the difficult world of Nazi Germany. Marianne returns to the grand castle of her husband's ancestors. She is smart, educated, and confident. When she promises to take care of the wife and child of a dear life long friend, she rescues young Martin from a Nazi reeducation center and then his mother, beautiful Benita. Even though Benita was born into meager circumstances and is young and naive, her only wish had been to escape her small town and live a good life. As Marianne undertakes to rescue more of the families of the Nazi resisters, she finds Ania and her two boys. Ania is practical and becomes a great help at the castle as the three become close while attempting to maneuver through the war including the invasion of the Russians.There are many acts of bravery in this story but no heroes. Each woman brings her own guilt and faults to the situation Marianne is often too confident and has strong ideological beliefs against the Nazi. Benita is not in the least political but is sensitive and wants to find love. Ania is practical above all else and eventually marries a nearby neighbor insuring her sons have an inheritance.The novel does not follow a chronological line but tells the story of the three together and then back tracks to their earlier lives. Each woman has a different relationship with their own children and each woman reacts differently as the war closes. Marianne makes a decision that ruins the hopes of Benita; Ania's background as a former Nazi eventually is found out. The last chapters of the book take place in more contemporary times with Marianne living in the United States as does Martin, Benita's son. The castle in Germany is transformed into a center for the study of peace bringing together diverse peoples living in relative luxury. How much do the children really understand the sacrifices and difficulties that each of these women endured? What happens with ideology is more important than relationships?This book is beautifully written and each of the characters are very believable. There are no black and white answers. Loved it!
  • (4/5)
    This is not the story of WWII nor is it the story of the holocaust, although those events are responsible for this story. This is the story of survival and friendship in the aftermath of a terrible time in history. Jessica Shattuck tells the story of three German women whose husbands were resistors and were killed for planning the assassination of Hitler.

    When we meet Marianne von Lingenfels it is at her husband's aunt's annual party at the Castle, on the night that will become known as Kristallnacht. She happens upon a meeting of her husband and several other resistors plotting against Hitler. "Connie" Martin Constantine Fledermann, her childhood friend jokingly appoints her Commander of wives and children. She is annoyed, but this title and promise is what brings these three women together. After the war ends, Marianne finds Martin, Connie's son and Benita his wife, both in unsavory locations/situations and takes them with her to live in The Castle. Shortly after, she receives a call from an American Officer that they have located another wife and children of one of the names she gave them. She moves Ania and her two boys to The Castle from a Displaced Person's Camp. The story tells about the trials and tribulations these women and children had to deal with during this period. The dangers from roving Russian soldiers, the lack of food and water as well as other creature comforts, yet they were better off than many others. As the story unfolds we learn about their past and how it brought them to where they were and what will become of them in this "New Germany".

    This story is one that needed to be told. I had not heard about what the citizens went through after the war. The scars that they had and the animosity between the resistors and the Nazis. Marianne was a strong woman who took a stand and helped others to the best of her ability. She was not perfect, but she was human. The plot had some slow spots but overall, kept me engaged and I enjoyed this story. A good one for historical fiction lovers. The publisher generously provided me with a copy of this book via Netgalley.

  • (4/5)
    This was a different look at World War II and post-war as it deals almost exclusively with Germany. The saying "To the victors go the spoils" could be amended by adding "and the book deals". When a group of Germans plot to assassinate Hitler during WWII, it is the men who carry out the plot but the women are affected by the aftermath when the plot fails. The men are killed but some of the women are imprisonted and their children are taken from them. When the war is finally over Marianne von Lingenfels vows to carry out her duties as "the commander of the wives and children". She moves with her own children into the old and decrepit castle belonging to her husband's family and then sets out to find the widows of other resistors. She manages to find the son of her friend from childhood (Connie Fledermann) and then his wife Benita. Benita was one of the women imprisoned and at the end of the war she was passed from one Russian soldier to another. Benita thus owes a large debt to Marianne. Another widow, Ania, is discovered by sympathetic American soldiers in a nearby displaced persons camp and she joins the household. Ania is competent and realistic and helps Marianne run the household in ways Benita can't. On a night when a large group of starving Russian soldiers descend on the castle grounds it is Ania who sits up with Marianne. And Benita almost makes the situation much worse when she goes to warn a former Nazi prisoner who helps out cutting wood about the presence of the Russians. Benita never has the antipathy to Nazis that Marianne feels so her feelings for the former Nazi tend toward friendship and then love the more they are together. As Marianne learns more about her fellow widows and their secrets she cuts off ties with them. By the end of her life (and the end of the book) she realizes that there is quite a bit of grey and not everything is black and white.
  • (4/5)
    This saga begins in 1938 and it doesn’t end until 1991. There are flashbacks and jumps forward as the author tells the story of three very different women united by a war. The widows of resisters in a failed plot to kill Hitler, they must now make their way in a ravaged country, to save themselves and their children. Their story is a captivating one, made even more so by the revelations that are finally exposed in their back stories. It’s not so much a story of the war itself, but rather of the ordinary people caught up in something they really didn’t understand, at least, not at first. It’s a of secrets and of trust, of honor and dishonor, and of survival and giving up. The characters are compelling and their story, though just plain dreadful at times, is beautifully told.
  • (5/5)
    It is November 1938 and in Burg Lingenfels the elderly countess’s annual harvest party is about to get under way. As she is now wheelchair-bound, she has relied on Marianne von Lingelfels, her niece-in-law, to organise it and to perform the role of hostess. Along with a group of close friends at the gathering, Marianne’s husband Albrecht, feels deeply concerned about the power of Hitler and the Nazi regime; they are all fearful of the future and are actively involved in the resistance movement. During the party news of the organised and co-ordinated destruction of Jewish properties, later to become known as Kristallnacht, reaches the castle. This information reinforces the fears of all those resistance members present that their own lives, and those of their families, are in grave danger if they continue with their opposition; in spite of this they remain committed to opposing, by whatever means they can, the destructive regime. Connie, a long-term friend of Marianne, has recently married Benita, a young woman from outside the aristocratic circle they belong to and, even though he is aware that she doesn’t approve of his choice of wife, he implores her to look after her should anything happen to him. When Marianne and Benita are widowed following their husbands’ involvement in the failed July 1944 plot to assassinate Hitler, Marianne feels duty-bound to keep this promise to help Benita, as well as any other resistance-widows in need of refuge. She eventually manages to find Benita, who was being held as a sex-slave to the Russians. She also tracks down Benita’s young son Martin who, as a result of Connie’s part in the plot, had been taken from his mother and placed in a children’s home. Them, some months later, the American Army, working from the list Marianne had given them, put her in touch with Ania and her two sons, who had escaped from a Polish work camp for political prisoners. These three, disparate women and their children find refuge in the by now rundown Bavarian castle as they attempt to forge new lives for themselves, whilst attempting to come to terms with their individual experiences of the war.The story moves backwards and forwards, from pre-war Germany to their lives as the post-war decades move on towards the 1990s, exploring how each of the women deals with their experiences and find ways to reconcile their past behaviour with their desire to move forward. Marianne’s dream that their shared experiences will forge a strong bond between them is soon threatened; she recognises that she risks alienating Benita and Ania as she tries to dictate how they should behave, but struggles to relinquish her desire to control how they should face the future. However, the women do find some feelings of safety and security within this makeshift family and there are as many examples of love, support and generosity as there are of antagonism and resentment. Once I started this novel I could hardly bear to put it down because it so quickly and powerfully drew me into the lives of three women whose experiences of the Nazi era, and its aftermath, had as many differences as similarities. The intricate story-telling, with its many surprising twists and turns, movingly captured the way in which, in order to survive the war, each one of them had faced difficult decisions but, post-war, often felt haunted by the choices they had made. Marianne had been vehemently anti-Nazi from the start but Benita had been, albeit rather indifferently, a member of a Hitler Youth Group before her marriage to Connie and remained apolitical, whilst Ania’s sentiments had, before her gradual disillusionment, been actively pro-Nazi. I thought that the tensions between the moral certainties of Marianne and the more complex moral struggles faced by Benita and Ania were very well highlighted and explored as the story developed. I frequently found myself alternating between outrage and sympathy at the choices each of the three characters made and how they attempted to justify their decisions. Each character had her own secrets and nightmares, but the ways in which each attempted to reconcile them made for a very thought-provoking and, in many ways, disturbing reading experience. I have never been faced with life-threatening dilemmas so found myself wondering how I would have behaved; would I have been able to live up to my principles and ideals, or would I have been tempted to compromise them in order to survive? I hope it would have been the former but the truth is that none of us can possibly be certain until we have had to face those choices. I thought that the power of Jessica Shattuck’s story-telling enabled me to experience, in an almost visceral way, the struggles of her characters with the moral dilemmas they faced; to simultaneously feel horror at some of their decisions and yet still feel some empathy with their behaviour.The story explores, through the three women as well as through the behaviour of people in the wider community, the complexities of how the people of Germany struggled to acknowledge and come to terms with their individual participation in what happened during the Nazi period. Some people wanted to deny that they were aware of any of the horrors being perpetrated; some wanted to just be allowed to move on, to try to forget the past; whilst others were unable to move forward because they were haunted by their past behaviour. However, whatever their personal inclinations, the outside world remained ever ready to remind them of the weight of their history. The story raises questions about how, both individually and collectively, people are able to reconcile a horrific past with moving on to forge a positive, productive future. The exploration of how the children of the three women dealt with the past and their own struggles to come to terms with what happened in Germany in World War II, as well as with the decisions their parents had made, added another layer of moral and emotional complexity to this thought-provoking story. I enjoyed Jessica Shattuck’s writing style, which I found elegant, fluent, unhurried and compassionate. In her story-telling she delved deep into the complexities of lives lived in times of crisis. Although she didn’t shrink from describing some of the true horrors of a brutal war, her descriptions and reflections were always within the context of the experiences of her characters and never felt gratuitously vicarious. Her intimate knowledge of Germany (her mother is German and she made frequent holiday visits to Germany to see her grandparents) clearly contributes to the fact that the whole story feels authentically realistic. I think that this is a moving and memorable novel, and I know that all the characters, as well as the challenging themes which form the foundations of the story, will remain with me for a very long time to come. I think it would be a wonderful choice for reading groups because it raises so many issues which are as relevant in today’s world as they were during the Second World War. My thanks to Nudge/newbooks for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
  • (4/5)
    Splendidly written story of Germans at the end of WWII which helps the reader process how an nation could have followed Hitler into the depths of hell exterminating millions of people that he deemed unfit. Based on true stories including a group of men who attempted to assassinate Hitler in 1944 and the wives and children they left behind after they were caught and killed after not succeeding. Even the morally higher group, and the one wife who knew what they were up to, made compromises. It explores the compromises and disregard of what was going on and willingness to belief lies and what we now call fake news. People felt helpless to fight the bully culture of the Nazis and in many ways there was no black and white morality, but rather shades of gray and small measures to not directly participate in the exterminations. A thought provoking read that is relevant today with fake news, lies by leaders, and a culture of exclusion that has built in the US and around the world. Citizens must rise up against these tactics early on before they snowball into the kinds of major exterminations we have seen in recent years in Uganda, Bosnia, Syria, and many other places. In the mid-1930s, if strong leaders would have risen up against the Nazi bullies they might have been stopped.
  • (5/5)
    If you can't get enough WW2 stories of survivors then this is an interesting story of German Resistance Survivor story - it helps to know that not all germans went along with Hitler; and there were many who lost their life trying to fall him.
  • (5/5)
    This book grabbed me from page one and kept my eyes flying across the pages until the bitter sweet end.Riveting and heartbreaking and highly recommended.
  • (4/5)
    Three women--Marianne, Benita, and Ania--find themselves in a Bavarian castle, an ancestral home for Marianne's family, during the Great War. All the women lose spouses in a rebellion against Hitler. The story is from an angle most fiction does not take, but helps readers understand life for the Germans during that time. My biggest criticism is that, even though the author provided clear dates, it was sometimes difficult to wrap your mind around all the chronology differences since they did not follow a pattern. I found myself confused about what time period I was currently reading frequently. The story line does pull forward to more recent times toward the end, but the majority of the book occurs between 1944 and 1950.
  • (5/5)
    Incredible! This book takes us behind the scenes of the front line. The experiences of the women, the children, the elderly...and then the prisoners. I have many friends that are German and still have family in Germany. I understand them a little better after taking this journey through our not so distant past.
  • (5/5)
    Even if you think you’re sick of World War II novels, try this one because THE WOMEN IN THE CASTLE is more than that. Jessica Shattuck has assembled what SEEMS to be a story of three German women, survivors who were married to heroic men of the Resistance. But little by little we learn these women’s secrets.Together, Marianne, Ania, and Betina, the women in the castle, survive the aftermath of World War II. Their stories continue through 1991, all the while revealing Betina’s and Ania’s secrets and those of the people they were and are involved with. THE WOMEN IN THE CASTLE examines guilt and moral culpability. It is not as simple and cut and dry as Marianne believes.THE WOMEN IN THE CASTLE goes back and forth in time, but it is not confusing if you pay attention to chapter headings. Rather, you will find, when you are taken back in time, you will understand more. You may find that you identify with Marianne and see German guilt for what they did or didn’t do before, during, and after World War II, even for just what they thought, in a new light.
  • (5/5)
    A fascinating look at the psychology of perception through the experiences of three women of unequal social standing and disparate political views brought together by the realities of their experiences as German widows in the Second World War. This book made me rethink the current political situation in the US and how I had been judging those whom I believed to be "stupid" in light of what was going on, not looking at how their own experiences colored their views of right and wrong, just as mine have impacted my own views. The book gave me pause as to how otherwise enlightened individuals can be drawn into believing that a person or political party has the power to somehow "save" them from destruction. A book well worth reading during the current divisive political landscape that is America in the 21st century, providing both a cautionary look at how people can be deceived, and an understanding of the gray areas that our society must operate in.
  • (4/5)
    This is the story of three German women and their children coming together after the fall of the Third Reich to survive and put their destroyed lives back together. The three are widows of men executed (hung on meat hooks, according to the author), after the failed Hitler assassination attempt in July 1944. The wives were imprisoned; the children sent to special orphanages dedicated to the reeducation of traitor's children.Marianne von Lingenfels had made a promise to her husband that she would try to find and care for other wives if the assassination went wrong. Once released from prison, she began her search and found the widow of her childhood friend's - a peasant girl who had married into the nobility. She was also able to find a widow of a man she didn't know. She brought them and their children to live in her husband's family castle in Bavaria.Their lives are not easy; they are haunted by ghosts and secrets of their pasts, and marked by what they have endured. More secrets accumulate as they survive in the post war days. Well written and interesting, with what was for me, a unique view of post war Germany.
  • (5/5)
    What a refreshing World War II story! Three women and their children after facing the horrors of the war are brought together to survive after World War II. What I found most interesting was the how each woman’s background led to their reactions as Jews were sent to death camps.
  • (4/5)
    I had a hard time connecting with any of the characters throughout the book, however by the ending I just loved them all. I felt so much for each of them. I thought this book was a little slow, but I got so used to the rhythm of the book that I really grew to love it. I really liked this book and I am so glad I finally got to read it! It was such a unique pov; seeing how these women survived and got through their lives changing due to the choices of their husbands. I would definitely recommend this book, but maybe not everyone will love it.
  • (4/5)
    This was a book that took place during and after WWII in Germany. One woman of wealth and class is against the Nazi regime. Her husband and his co-conspirators plan to murder Hitler and of course are all executed. She promises one of the men that she would take care of his wife. Her search for his wife and other women she meets along the way and their feelings toward each other are the meat of this book. Well done.
  • (3/5)
    Joy's Review: Widow whose husband was a part of the plot to kill Hitler finds widows of co-conspirators and shelters them in the family castle at the end of WWII. Only one of the widows stories was interesting to me and that was of the imposter whose husband had worked training Nazi youth. I found Shattuck's writing shallow, doing little to highlight and explore the moral, ethical, and survival dilemmas presented to Germans during and immediately after the war. In the hands of a better and more nuanced author, this story could have been worth telling. As is, it was a bit of a waste of time.
  • (4/5)
    This book was recommended to me by a friend who is very well read. I found the story about 3 women German women who survived World War II interesting. I have read many books about the war but what made this one unique for me was that it was told from the perspective of Germans. Their reactions to Hitler were each different and helped to give you an idea how it was for the German people during the war. The plot focuses around those impacted by the failed assassination attempt on Hitler on July 20, 1944. What I especially enjoyed was that Shattuck gave you a good idea what life was like during the war. The deprivations and their ultimate impact on all of Europe and specifically the German people were very stark in their protrayal. It was a good read and though the ending was a little bit flat, as a way to learn more about the war it was a worthwhile read. World War II books always make feel blessed to have not lived through this horrible time in the history of the World. Its impacts never stop.
  • (4/5)
    This book tells the stories of three women and their children living in Hitler's Germany. Their husbands were part of the resistance and were executed after being caught plotting to kill Hitler. The hard choices they made, some of which were purely for the sake of survival, still haunt them years later. The writing is intimate, compassionate and thought-provoking. I would recommend this book.
  • (4/5)
    Well written, enjoyed the dynamics of the human relationship post world war II Germany.
  • (4/5)
    There are so many WWII novels out there and so many being released all the time, that it seems as if there's no possible way that every aspect of the war hasn't already been covered and mined for stories. But then comes a novel like Jessica Shattuck's The Women in the Castle, where the focus is not only on the women and children left behind when the men fight the war but more specifically on the widows and children of a small portion of the conspirators who came so very close to assassinating Hitler that July of 1944 in Operation Valkyrie after the war is over. With this novel, another aspect of the war and life after it comes a little bit more into focus.Opening with the incongruity of a lavish party held at Burg Lingenfels, an impressive but crumbling castle in Bavaria, on the evening of what would come to be known as Kristallnacht, when Marianne von Lingenfels goes looking for her husband and her old friend, both missing from the party, she hears of the night's atrocities and the men's growing suspicion that assassinating Hitler is the only solution open to the resistance. And it is that night that, despite taking offence at the seemingly offhand and unimportant title of Commander of Wives and Children, laughingly bestowed on her by her husband, Marianne promises her best friend she will take care of his young fiance and their unborn child, come what may. After the war is over, Marianne works to honor her promise, finding six year old Martin in a children's re-education home and his mother Benita being used by the Russians in Berlin and takes the two of them to Burg Lingenfels where her own children are living. Eventually she finds another resister's widow, Ania, and her two children at a displaced persons camp and brings them to the castle as well. Life is not easy for anyone post-war and definitely not for the three women with their very different personalities and their secrets from each other. As the full truth of the Nazis' monstrousness comes out, Marianne, uncompromising and morally absolute, leans on the rightness of her husband and his friends' cause, even if they failed in the execution. Benita, pretty and young and sheltered from any knowledge of the work her husband was doing, just wants to move forward, to forget the past and make a new life with her precious son. Pragmatic Ania stays mostly quiet on the past, focused on day to day survival, unwilling to stir up the ghosts who always hover just over her shoulder.The women are very different, having different backgrounds and personalities, their only obvious commonality that of their husbands' participation in the attempt on Hitler. The narrative time line jumps back and forth from each woman's past to her life as it unfolds after the war in the company of the other two and the narrative focus also moves back and forth amongst the women as they grapple with what a life moving forward will look like. The differences in the women stand in for the larger idea of how to remember, honor, and mourn but also go forth and embrace the future. Can we forgive? Should we? What would either of those look like? And who decides which of these options is the right one? All of the women are pretty set in their individual characterizations and the conflicts that result are realistic and nuanced. The relationships between the women are tested and forged in shared hardship and these alliances are heavyweights, uneasy, and breakable, so very different from many tales of women's relationship. The jumping narrative and the dominant characterizations of the women might make this a harder read for some but those looking for a differently focused book set mostly in the aftermath of the war will find this novel of moral obligation, remembrance, guilt, betrayal, and rebuilding something worth reading.
  • (4/5)
    Three women are bound together by fate and their husbands choices made during World War II. The husbands of Marianne von Lingenfels, Benita Fledermann and Ania Grabarek were all involved in the failed plot to assassinate Hitler in July of 1944. Appointed "the Commander of Wives and Children" by her husband, Marrianne takes her duties seriously and decides to round up those she can find in the aftermath of the War in the relative safety of her family castle, Burg Lingenfels. While Marianne succeeds at the impossible task of finding the dispersed women and children, her harsh steadfastness combined with Benita's gentle inward intuitiveness, Ania's survival drive and the children's collective shock makes for a difficult group to have under one roof. The secrets that each woman must keep combined with their sense of camaraderie creates a very different post war experience for Marianne, Benita and Ania.The Women in the Castle is an epic story that creates a great range of feelings and complicated and scenarios. It also shines a light on the role of women and children before and after the war, but more importantly, the resistors. In thinking of the heroes of World War II, I don't often think of the Germans who were strong enough to resist Hitler's pull, even in little ways. All of the women's characters were strongly developed and I enjoyed that they showed their strength in different ways. At first, I was pulled toward Marianne's conviction and dedication to her task, but as each woman's story unfolded and the layers peeled away, I felt more and more connected to their stories and understood their reasoning. The writing does jump back and forth through time and each woman's perspective. Keeping track of the time jumps and point of view can become a bit confusing; however, you do learn things at appropriate times instead of being bombarded with too much information at once. There are many, many more things I could say about this book, but most importantly, it provides a different perspective of World War II, and comments on the importance of friendship, compassion and resistance.
  • (3/5)
    Too many books covering WWII, but so many perspectives on that event. This story presents the story of three German women before, during, and after WWII. The reader meets Marianne, Benita, and Ania, and their children as Marianne attempts to hold this group together and survive the devastation during and after the war. This story reminds me of Motherland by Maria Hummel, which shows the hardships suffered by Germany after the war. Both expose that when the war ends, the suffering does not stop immediately. Jessica Shattuck creates Marianne, a woman enduring all to help everyone recover dignity.
  • (4/5)
    I believe this was the first novel I have read that gives the German point of view and, to its credit, three very different points of view with much angst over past actions. The three women from very different backgrounds go through difficult trials which are made a little easier when they come together in an uneasy friendship. some of the male/female relationships were a little fuzzy and difficult to understand and the female/female relationships were forged through necessity and broken through misunderstanding.The US has been trying to preserve WWII memories in recent years. I wonder if Germany has been doing the same.
  • (4/5)
    This is a story about three German women in Germany after WWII. Marianne, Benita, and Ania are widows of the men executed after the failed attempt to assassinate Hitler in 1944. Marianne promises her best friend to take care of the widows and orphans should the plot fail. She keeps her promise and locates first Benita's son, Martin in an orphanage then Benita in a Russian brothel, and brings them to her husband's family's castle, Berg Lingenfels. Although it's in pretty bad shape, with no running water or power, it's surrounded by land to grow food. Soon Marianne, her three children, Benita and Martin are joined by Ania and her two boys. There are so many secrets in this little group and as they come out, it tears the group apart. I found this book very interesting since it focuses on the Germans who didn't believe in Hitler and his beliefs and how they had to live in a Germany where they were in the minority.
  • (5/5)
    There is a lot of historic fiction that uses World War II as a backdrop and this book definitely belongs among the best. The perspective in this book is slightly different than other stories since it revolves around the lives of three German women who all had slightly different views and roles during the war. Their lives are brought together as these three widows take over a crumbling castle trying to survive the end of the war. Their struggle for survival creates a tight bond, but it isn't until many years later that some of their deep secrets are revealed. This is such a heartfelt story -- definitely one of my favorites of the year. A must for fans of The Nightingale or All the Light We Cannot See.
  • (4/5)
    Interesting perspective of WWII aftermath. This book tells the story of surviving wives whose husbands were in the Resistance Movement. The men were executed after a failed assassination attempt on Hitler. Three women with different backgrounds and different personalities. They did whatever it took to survive.
  • (4/5)
    This was a very well written story about three German women during and after WWII, all of them thru marriages connected to the resistance. It is a story of friendships and love across several years but it is mostly about how each of these German women reacted to what was going on in the Hitler Germany of their time. It is a loose historical fiction and a great read in my opinion.
  • (4/5)
    Brilliant book although it seemed to miss the point that the attempt on Hilter's life happened very late. He could easily have been killed early on but people wanted him. I sometimes think that people are attempting to re-write history. I think the German women had a terrible time after the war but not as bad as a Jewish women after the war.
  • (3/5)
    The thing I took away from this book was a comparison between the main character Marianne and Hitler. Both assured theirs was the correct and only way, those who don't measure up are removed from our lives, and in the end no regret. Not sure that was the authors point. I found it to be a slow, depressing read.