The Women in the Castle

The Women in the Castle

Book - 2017
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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.
Publisher: New York : William Morrow, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers, 2017
Edition: First edition
Copyright Date: ©2016
ISBN: 9780062563668
0062563661
9780062563675
006256367X
9780062644190
006264419X
Branch Call Number: F SHA
Characteristics: 356 pages ; 24 cm

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Inga57
Jun 16, 2019

Another interesting historical story of WWII in Germany.

What sets this book apart is the author's family stories from their lives as German citizens during Hitler's reign, and the seven years it took Shattuck to finish writing their personal history.

The Resistance Party was new to me and I would like to know more of the German people who worked against Hitler and his ideas paying the ultimate price to free a people from this mad man.

Otherwise everyday German citizens were assigned to do unthinkable acts for 'the cause' which drove me to pacing the floor . . . however does one continue with any sense of normality when the war was finally over?

Worthy questions provided by the publisher for book group discussion.

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nalahblueberry5
Mar 11, 2019

What's the point?

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Zoelexi777
Feb 27, 2019

I loved this story. It is about three German women with very different backgrounds who were brought together during WW11 and how they survived.

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mosermorse
Jan 20, 2019

I”ve read several WWII books about women during the war. I thought this one was very good to understand how a German woman could let the evil of Hitler and the Holocoust not only happen, but be actively a part of it. It is especially timely to see how HItler turned people against their neighbors and accepted horrible acts through touting make Germany great again and controlling the media/ press/ rallies. Some of it is very difficult to read as descriptions of atrocities are included in detail. Also learned about what happened after the Russians defeated the Germans- not good either.

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goddessbeth
Jan 17, 2019

I'm not usually a big fan of WWII-era historical fiction, mainly because it always leaves me feeling depressed. But this one was well worth the aftermath. It did a phenomenal job of establishing the environment in which Hitler rose to power and was able to implement such horrific acts. It's easy, from the perspective of the past, to assume everyone who believed in his rhetoric was racist, or ignorant, or just generally a bad person. But, of course, that's a gross oversimplification of a situation was *must* understand, lest we repeat it.

And you guys, reading some of the character musings on Hitler's programs, how he normalized horrible things...it hit pretty damned close to home. That wasn't even the focus of the book, it was just so powerful and well done that I fixated on it. This situation in which both ignorant peasants and educated elite agree with wonderful ideals that become darker and less idealistic over time. (Hitler's early toutings for landjahr, for instance, revolved around physical fitness, learning sustainable practices like farming, community, and music...that eventually clearly evolved into a more militaristic Hitler Youth situation, and his fixation on making children physically brutal)

So this is all reflected in the book, in the background. The primary story revolves around three widows, and their children, and a handful of years at the end and after WWII as they struggle to make their own community, survive, and essentially re-learn how to trust. The chief element is their humanity- all have regrets, impossible hopes, unrealistic standards, guilt and shame, etc. They are each incredibly relatable and real. And the story has enough bittersweet in it that for a time I wondered if it was partly based in the real life of someone the author knows.

If you can't tell from my rambling, I was impressed by the book and I recommend it to fans of fiction in general. Especially if you like historic fiction and/or bittersweet tales.

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MaryJoSchifsky
Nov 04, 2018

Nov 2018: BM Books; re-read, well-written, engaging, many unique turns of phrase, even better second time around.

r
Robin_55
Oct 21, 2018

A good look into life as a German during WWII

2
21221018293347
Oct 01, 2018

A look at WWII from a different perspective. Three widows and their children are sheltered at the castle belonging to Marianne. Each woman comes from a different background and experience. The story line follows each of the women' experience of the war given their background. A very good story. Well written, moving along at a good pace. I recommend this book.

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brangwinn
Aug 22, 2018

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.

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Memawrayne
Jul 18, 2018

BEAUTIFUL STORY. The author lets the reader see into the minds of women during a horrible time. But she also reveals their personal and emotional baggage that they bring with them. It affects their values and decision and other's lives.

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