The Women Of The Castle Jessica Shuttack


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Bonnier Zaffre 18th May 2017

It is 1938 the Germans are about to invade Poland and Hitler’s promise of a prosperous and strong Germany is gaining him widespread popularity.throughout the country.

In Bavaria at the family castle, Burg Lingenfel, Marianne Van Lingenfel is preparing for their annual party. Husband, Albrecht, an ardent resister to Hitler and all he stands for is plotting Hitler’s assassination with Marianne’s close friend Connie and it is at the meeting that Marianne promises to look after his new wife Benita. Little does she know that this will have an impact on her life and those of others that she could never have imagined.

1945, and Marianne returns to the castle with Benita and her young son Martin, rescued from a run down flat in Berlin. They are soon joined by Ania and her two sons, more refugees from a war torn Germany.

Each have their scars, each have their own way of processing what they have seen, what they have done. Marianne is the lynch pin that holds them altogether. Benita, the dreamer,wanting the niceties in life, unable to think of the politics or nastiness of war. Finally there is Ania, solid, strong, practical, concealing the biggest darkest secret of all.

What I loved about this book is its uniqueness. There is or I have not read a lot of fiction that covers the impact Hitler and the war had on the women of Germany, particularly those whose husbands were closely involved either as a resister or member of the Third Reich.

The stoicism and the strength that the characters seem to find to survive for their children is wonderfully portrayed as to is the profound effect it had on how they lived their lives after the war.

By having three characters with differing social backgrounds who might not have come together in peace time gave the novel that extra dimension, adding drama intensity and emotion.

Ania, stood out for me, with her cold hard exterior, ever resourceful and practical, seeking the best outcome for her sons, whilst hiding a tumult of emotions and perhaps the most harrowing journey of them all. T

The story is well researched, and informative, with just enough factual information, that does not detract the reader from the main premise of the story.

My only criticism and hence a 3,5 star rather than a 4 is that I felt the last few chapters although necessary were a little too protracted.

Ultimately Women In The Castle is a novel of survival and hope, and one that I would highly recommend.

Thank you to Bonnier Zaffre Books for a copy of the book to read and review

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