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 her 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 forgive in the wake of unimaginable hardship.
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- Ciera Fisher
Great story, horrible accents!
I suppose you may not be bothered by pronunciation if you aren't also a German speaker, but as a bilingual listener, the pronunciation of German words (frei pronounced "free", "Lieder" pronounced Ly-der, just to name two of HUNDREDS of examples) made my ears absolutely bleed. Additionally, the "German" accent while speaking English for the characters was a strange morph of a French accent and who knows what else. 100% not a German accent. I have heard this narrator on The Lilac Girls where she performed a French accent and it wasn't this horrible. I just seriously advise doing your research and also maybe talk to a native speaker of the language you are attempting to imitate before doing so...it was seriously distracting from what could have otherwise been a great listening experience!
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