The Women in the Castle The Women in the Castle

The Women in the Castle

A Novel

    • 4.2 • 665 Ratings
    • $13.99
    • $13.99

Publisher Description


GoodReads Choice Awards Semifinalist 

"Moving . . . a plot that surprises and devastates."—New York Times Book Review

"A masterful epic."—People magazine

"Mesmerizing . . . The Women in the Castle stands tall among the literature that reveals new truths about one of history’s most tragic eras."—USA Today

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 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.

Fiction & Literature
March 28
William Morrow

Customer Reviews

Spoilem ,

Women in the Castle

A good read!

MacieJayne ,

War, survival, and German women of WWII

I absolutely LOVED this perspective of German women trying to pick up the pieces of life after WWII. These women are such a mix of personalities and belief systems, they are survivors trying to move forward. Trauma is complex and I thought the writer portrayed that really well. I love that the writer had interviewed her grandmother, who was German and a Natzi, as well as family friends to understand this perspective of being a German in this time period. However, not every German was a Natzi and there were people that formed a “resistance” party to get rid of Hitler. Both of these point of views were given by different women in this book. Though the women in the castle were not real people they represent real women who had similar experiences. Their story is important to the bigger picture of trying to understand WWII. I really liked how one of the characters said they didn’t want forgiveness for the part they played but just wanted understood.

GVgGardenGirl ,

The Women in the Castle

Could only absorb the horrors in small doses and ended up skimming the last chapters until the end.

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