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The Women in the Castle

By: Jessica Shattuck

Publisher: HarperCollins Trade

Imprint: Morrow

Format: Hardcover | ISBN: 9780062563668

Other Formats:

Electronic | Audio | Trade Paperback

On Sale: | Pages: 368

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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 women whose lives and fates become intertwinedAmid the ashes of Nazi Germany's defeat, Marianne von Lingenfels returns to the once-grand castle of her husband's ancestors. 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.As Marianne assembles this makeshift family from the ruins of her husband's resistance movement, she quickly discovers that the black-and-white, highly principled world of her privileged past has become infinitely more complicated, and filled with dark secrets that threaten to tear them apart.Written with devastating emotional power, 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, to love, and, ultimately, to forgive in the wake of unimaginable hardship.
This compelling novel is less a story with a dramatic arc than a tableau of how war and its aftermath affect ordinary people. While each woman is a vivid character, Shattuck also enables us to lift these women out of fiction and see them as representative of so many survivors who peered into the future with guilt and relief — and bewilderment at their role in history.
—Minneapolis Star Tribune
THE WOMEN IN THE CASTLE is thoroughly enjoyable. The plot moves along and propels you to keep reading. The narrative allows the reader to see things from the perspective of each of the women and spans the years of their lives so one gains complete pictures of the characters. The writing is clean, the storytelling is solid, and Shattuck paints a vivid portrait of a reeling, recovering Germany and the humanity contained within it.
World War II has inspired dozens of unforgettable novels, but Jessica Shattuck offers a mesmerizing new look at the aftermath of the war... Shattuck was inspired to write the book by her shame over her German heritage, and the wartime era's links to contemporary political issues. Her book answers the question “How do good people become Nazis?” with insight and empathy. The Women in the Castle stands tall among the literature that reveals new truths about one of history's most tragic eras.
—USA Today
Shattuck lets us see what Marianne too readily forgets: Her moral qualms are not just a mark of her often admirable and heroic character, but also a luxury made possible by wealth and status, protecting her during and after the war.... Shattuck is best in the second half of her book, as she turns her gaze on those immediate postwar years when lying in Germany was both survival tactic and way of life.... Even as “Castle” chronicles the guilt, shame and denial, Shattuck also credibly traces how the descent into madness could have happened, hardening good people one fatal misstep at a time... Shattuck's effective, cross-cutting temporal shifts...underscores the ongoing, nightmarish yesterday that Germany continued to live, long after the war ended.
—Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
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