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Widowland #1

by C. J. Carey

Widowland by C. J. Carey X
Widowland by C. J. Carey
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  • Diane T. (Slingerlands, NY)
    Too close for comfort
    Widowland by C.J. Carey is the "what if" story of WWII had fascism won and took over the "Alliance". Alternative history paralleling current events? The "what if" premise eerily becoming "what is". The timing of this publication is eerily timed also.
    Alternative history paralleling current events. Instead of books being totally banned, they are subtly rewritten to reflect the reality that the "Alliance" decided is for the good of the children. They will believe the written word, a subtle brainwashing technique. Females are categorized by "childbearing" abilities and those who are not married or widowed are "put out to pasture" literally and figuratively. Women are not to use their brains until a certain age lest they believe that they have as much to offer society as men. Sounds familiar???
    The author lays out the plot convincingly, just enough mix of the reality of the older generation quietly leading the childbearing generation towards that reality. The question remains, will the younger generation pick up the gauntlet and pursue reality at whatever cost??
  • Lois K. (Marana, AZ)
    Dystopian Allegory
    "Widowland" is a powerful tale that presents an alternate history of the aftermath of the Nazi invasion of Europe and conquest of Europe and the UK. The main character, Rose, a young British woman initially accepts, like other countrymen, the "Alliance" (as the German control of UK is called). However, in her position in the Culture Ministry she becomes increasingly aware of horrors around her. In this world, women are classified by beauty and usefulness to the "Alliance." Living necessities (housing, jobs, and food) are dispensed by class with the lowest class of women receiving barely enough food to survive. Rose's view of her world and her purpose changes when she has connection with the lowest class of women. "Widowland" deals many of the same issues as "Handmaiden's Tale"--women's rights, racism, and a Fascist government. An important distinction between these books is that the oppressors in "Widowland" are Nazis, and their disregard for human rights is historically well known. That we are still today struggling with these same issues, the author presents us with frightening images of a world order that we may eventually be a part of.
  • Jean L. (Rogers, AR)
    The Beginning is Always Today
    The War in Europe ended in 1940 when the British surrendered to Germany. In defeat, the people in Great Britain suffered the loss of the rights that made the England english. Germany created a caste system that rated all people in the country according to the value to society and to men. At the top we're the Geli Girls whose job was to prepare to be the wives and mothers of the the officers. At the other end of the spectrum were the Freides who were passed the age of fifty. They were used up. They were the cemetery people. They lived under the most austere conditions in a place called Widowland.

    The book, WIDOWLAND, opens in 1953. There is excitement in the air. After 13 years, the powers that be, have granted everyone a day off from work so that everyone can watch the coronation of Edward VIII and Wallis as king and queen. Televisions are being set up all over the kingdom so everyone will be able to watch the festivities. Only later will Edward realize that he has no power. The leader from Germany plans to attend.

    The main character in the story is Rose Ransom. She is a Geli Girl. She has been involved romantically with a senior government official. This is not allowed but it is not a problem for her. She is beginning to question the relationship. One other thing she does that is illegal is she writes. The Alliance does not want people to write. They hope that with a little more time nobody will be able to write. Rose's job is to rewrite the classics so all examples of women in leadership roles will be eliminated.

    Rose's growing independence in dramatic fashion commits the ultimate crime against the Alliance.

    This book will stay in my mind for a long time. Though this was a fantasy, the thought of a world without an England is scary. Rose's story is about an awakening of independence. She gains courage through her contacts with Freides in widowland.
  • Christine B. (Lilydale, MN)
    Stars in the Past
    My goodness what a clever scenario! I loved this book from the very beginning. What a startling world view - no discussion or remembrance of the past. Our history is what makes us wise and able to confront our present and future. All this was taken and erased by the Protectorate. Even in their arranged "perfect" world citizens of every class were under scrutiny and threat of punishment. The Author's descriptions of the different classes of women was superb and certainly gave rise to thought. Widowland was certainly not a place to thrive but the human spirit even there was prevalent. This book was about a world of "selections" and I would without a doubt select this book for reading and discussion!! Please bring on the sequel quickly!!
  • Ted R. (Saint Paul, MN)
    The power of literature
    C. J. Carey has given us an extremely readable and entertaining book in Widowland. It is a unique look on the power of literature, fiction as well as nonfiction, and the impact it can have on public opinion and shaping the future. As historical fiction it paints a vivid and realistic vision of what censorship can bring. Most readers will enjoy the plot as well as the characters. The subject matter would provide opportunities for book clubs to discuss content as well as the underlying societal implications.
  • Vicki -
    Scary Alternative History
    What if England just gave up when Hitler's troops took over Czechoslovakia, Poland, France and other countries? What if Neville Chamberlain and Lord Halifax formed an alliance with Germany and England became a Protectorate of Germany? That is the world reality in Widowland.

    The year is 1953, the British Royal Family is "missing". England is awaiting the crowning of King Edward VIII and Queen Wallis. Women have been relegated to second class citizens and are being slotted into castes. History and literature are being changed to reflect Nazi ideology. Living in this dystopian mix is Rose Ransom, a member of the privileged class, who has a job in the Cultural Ministry rewriting classic works of literature.

    Rose is tasked to go into Widowland, a desolate place where widows who are deemed worthless to society live. She is sent to gather information on a potential rebellion. As she delves into the lives of the widows she meets, Rose uncovers truths about her work colleagues and her German lover.

    This book is a very engaging read and a wonderful speculation on what life in England might have been if history had turned out differently. More importantly it sheds light on the topic of rewriting history to support current ideologies as well as the concept of caste systems in society. The world depicted in Widowland would be an oppressive reality.

    Widowland is a must read for any student of history, current events, or dystopian fiction.
  • Nancy C. (The Villages, FL)
    This is a must read!!! It is so terrifying in today's world.
    I've been reading it during the leaked Supreme Court draft of Roe V Wade decision and I feel as though my reality is the book reality.
    Instead of banning books like in my state of Florida, they are rephrasing or editing books. Girls are not supposed to learn to read until they're eight years old because they may develop ideas. Just look at women in Afghanistan and the Taliban.
    This book is both horrifying and very easy to read.
    Anyone or cares about our world today, but especially a woman's place in the world should read this book.
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