The Women in the Castle

The Women in the Castle

Book - 2017
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Three German women's lives are abruptly changed when their husbands are executed for their part in an attempt to assassinate Hitler. They band together in a crumbling estate to raise their children and keep each other standing. This book is narrated by each of the women, giving us a clear understanding of their sense of loss, inner strength and the love they have for each other. This story examines the human side of war, where the lines are blurred between hero and victim.
Publisher: New York : William Morrow, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, ©2017.
Edition: First edition.
ISBN: 9780062563668
Characteristics: 356 pages ;,24 cm


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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.

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.

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.

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 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.

Nov 04, 2018

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

Oct 21, 2018

A good look into life as a German during WWII

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.

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.

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.

JCLAmandaW Mar 28, 2018

This story centers around three women who have survived World War II in very different ways. Each woman comes from very different backgrounds and had a different view of the rise and fall of Nazism and their place in Germany. It was difficult not to draw parallels between the views and actions of the women during this time period, and the complacency and activity occurring in populist movements in the world today. A fascinating story of a tragic period of history through the eyes of women.

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