Monday, March 6, 2017
The Women in the Castle
Well I was disappointed. Based on the rear cover's premise of what the novel, The Women in the Castle was promised to deliver and also based on the accolades from others on this novel I wanted so much more than it delivered. The first half of the novel was great, highlighting the stories of Marianne Von Lingenfels and Benita Fledermann, the wife of a childhood friend she promises to look after if anything should happen to her husband Connie. The stage is just before World War II when a group of resistors to Hitler's plan to take over Germany and eliminate those who stand against him. Her husband along with most of her friends have all been hanged for their crimes against Hitler and now she has lived up to her vow to protect their wives, fellow resistors like herself along with their children.
The novel showcases both of the women's lives in a toggling between chapters of their past and present lives while living in a Bavarian castle of her husbands ancestors even though it doesn't have much of the creature comforts it once did. They eventually take on another woman Ania and her two sons who are now refugees with no place to go. They all band together to try and make it to their futures despite the odds against them in a makeshift family of sorts. It is an interesting perspective on what life would have been life trying to survive against the odds in the midst of a world war and one I had anticipated I would have enjoyed until midway through the book where it seems to take on a darker worldly side of not only language but also subject matter you didn't experience until this far into the novel. For me, it wasn't needed to get into the particulars of such events and sexual encounters because up to this point the novel was moving along and conveying such events were possible without describing them and adding profanity to both the characters dialogue, which in my opinion, cheapened the storyline even if such things were probably said in real life.
I received The Women in the Castle by Jessica Shattuck compliments of William Morrow, a division of Harper Collins Publishers. It is for this very reason that reviews are needed. It prevents the reader from having to endure things they don't wish to read in novels while hoping for an enjoyable historical novel. That being said, most people will rave over the novel as other reviews will undoubtedly praise it for the historical details of what women might have had to endure when their husbands were killed for their beliefs against Hitler and even those who didn't know if their husbands were alive when they were shipped off to imprisonment camps of the SS Nazi's. I give this novel a 3 out of 5 stars.
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To read more reviews on The Women in the Castle, please visit Harper Collin's website.