Monday, 5 June 2017

The Women of the Castle by Jessica Shattuck

Synopsis (from Goodreads

Pages: 368 
Publisher: Bonnier Zaffre 
Released: 18th of May 2017 

A resistance widow. A silent co-conspirator. The only one who survived. 

The Third Reich has crumbled. The Russians are coming.
Can Marianne von Lingenfels and the women in her care survive and build their ravaged world anew?

Marianne - widow of a resistor to the Nazi regime - returns to the grand, crumbling castle where she once played host to all of German high society. She assembles a makeshift family from the ruins of her husband's movement, rescuing her dearest friend's widow, Benita, from sexual slavery to the Russian army, and Ania from a work camp for political prisoners. She is certain their shared past will bind them together.

But as Benita begins a clandestine relationship and Ania struggles to conceal her role in the Nazi regime, Marianne learns that her clear-cut, highly principled world view has no place in these new, frightening and emotionally-charged days.

All three women must grapple with the realities they now face, and the consequences of decisions each made in the darkest of times . . . 

What I Have to Say 

This book was interesting, but it frightened me a lot. I don't think I can read books about the lead up to the Second World Two and Nazi Germany for a while. It's just too close to what's happening politically in America right now and I'm not sure I can handle reading that. So much of the stuff that was shown in this book is so close to what's happening in America right now. The only comfort I can take is that I'm seeing a lot more resistance. 

The book itself though was pretty good. The characters and their different stories were really interesting and the way their personalities interacted showed how good characters they were and the way that their experiences defined their characters so much, both what they went through during the war and their interactions with the Nazi party before the war. 

Marianne's journey throughout the novel was really something as well. Her political opinions were so strong, whereas the other women didn't believe so strongly in things. It was interesting to see how that hardened her and how her pressure on the other characters to see things as black and white as she does effected them and her relationships with them. 

This is a novel about the shades of gray. This is a novel about the German people, how complicit they were, but also about how they were treated afterwards. It goes into morality and consequence and blame in a really fascinating way.

My thanks go to Bonnier Zaffre for providing me with this copy for review. 

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