Mini Review: The Women in the Castle by Jessica Shattuck

TheWomenInTheCastleCoverOfficial Synopsis from Goodreads: The instant New York Times bestselling novel…

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 resistor 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 naïve Benita, has fallen into the hands of occupying Red Army soldiers. Then she locates Ania, another resistor’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.

Genre: Historical Fiction, WWII
Setting: 1938-1950 Germany
My copy came from: I borrowed this from the library.

***this post contains affiliate links***

My thoughts

I really loved this book! I hadn’t heard of this book, but I saw it on the library shelf and was immediately drawn to it for the mention of the occupation of Berlin by the Red Army after the war. I’ve always had an interest in this occupation, but haven’t read too many books that depict this. While this occupation is not a main focus of the book, I enjoyed all of the complex characters, and the writing was excellent. There were a lot of quotes I wrote down, and I loved how the characters were described. For example, one female character was described as “beautiful”, “painful”, and “trampled”. Another character was described as “he was a body washed up in her mind, dragging the tangle of her own bad choices like so much kelp”. This is definitely a book that I’d re-read at some point, and one that I’d like to have my own copy of. Since it’s a WWII book, there are some tough scenes, but I really loved the complexity of the characters and the story. I highly recommend this book to those who love historical fiction, especially stories set during WWII.

LINKS ***the Amazon link is an affiliate link which means I receive a small commission if you click the link and make a purchase***

Author Website

I wrote this spotlight instead of a full review due to my blog still being on somewhat of a hiatus right now. I’m back, looking at reviews and commenting on other posts, but due to unforeseen circumstances, I am unable to write full reviews at this time. I hope to be back to writing full reviews shortly!

Does this sound like a great read? Have you heard of this book?


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