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The Women in the Castle

by Jessica Shattuck

The Women in the Castle by Jessica Shattuck X
The Women in the Castle by Jessica Shattuck
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  • First Published:
    Mar 2017, 368 pages
    Jan 2018, 368 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Lisa Butts

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A Moving WWII Story
I loved this book. It is the story of three widows whose lives become intertwined during WWII in Germany. They are brought together as a result of the failed resistance plot to assassinate Hitler in July 1944. Marianne von Lingenfels promises one of the resisters that she will find and protect the other wives. She brings them together and from then on we learn about their joint and individual past and present struggles.

For me this book was deeply personal. My mother was a German war refugee and at so many points in the book I was reminded of her "story". Millions of Germans had similar stories and I was once again reminded of their suffering and the atrocities of war.

I also loved that this story was about and told by women. Their experiences and the ripple effects of war as well as their own actions and decisions makes this narrative even more compelling.

I do have some minor criticisms. The narrative goes back and forth in time and sometimes it is confusing to keep track of what has or has not happened as you read it. (Why are so many authors using this technique these days?) And there is a chapter after the book ends that the author did not include in the main narrative. I think it should have been included.

I highly recommend this book.

Women in WII
I loved this book. It represented three different viewpoints of this era. I found the characters were not stereotypes. The heroic woman who represented the Resistance in Germany did have some flaws. The one who had been at first a follower of Hitler made us see how ordinary Germans felt at the time and did a little bit to make me understand the "How did people let this happen." The book was well written and I highly recommend it.

This is not just another WWII story!
'Commander of wives and children" is the title given to Marianne when she makes a promise to her husband and other German conspirators that plan to assassinate Hitler. When their plot fails, the men are executed. Committed to her promise, Marianne finds two other resistance wives, Benita and Ania, and brings them and their children to live in her decaying family castle.

This is not just another WWII story as the perspective is of three very different German women with very different experiences of loss, guilt, survival and recovery before, during and decades after the war.
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