The Women in the Castle (Compact Disc)
In this engaging novel with rich period details, three war widows and their children help each other survive at the end of WWII. Their husbands died as members of the resistance; aside from that common thread, Marianne, Benita, and Ania bring very varied backgrounds to their makeshift home in the castle's kitchen. They also bring lingering repercussions from past choices and current secrets. Jessica Shattuck brings us into that world, and shows us that the rules for love and loyalty are different in wartime.— Dawn
Summer 2018 Reading Group Indie Next List
“To a Bavarian palace, worn and collapsing like the rest of Germany at the end of the Second World War, a widow returns to honor a promise. Secrets, sacrifices, and the struggle to survive all make for a highly provocative read. Shattuck’s poignant and powerful story about these women and their children, thrown together by war and its aftermath, gave me a renewed respect and empathy for their contemporary counterparts caught in the conflict around today’s world. The first thing I wanted to do after finishing this book was talk about it!”
— Vivien Jennings, Rainy Day Books, Fairway, KS
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.