Tuesday, January 9, 2018

The Women in the Castle: A Novel by Jessica Shattuck

(Thank you to the publisher and TLC Book Tours for providing me with a copy of this book!)
about book:

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.

my thoughts:

I wanted to like this book so much.  I really did.  I love historical fiction, especially when set during/after WWII.  And, The Women in the Castle sounded so good - three widows uniting to lean on one another and move forward following the horrors and losses they recently endured in WWII.  Can you imagine the secrets? The drama? The history of it all?! OMG! I was so excited to pick up this book and dive right in.  Except, the more I read, the less I enjoyed what I was reading.  I just couldn't connect with the characters, which meant that I couldn't engage with their stories.  I found that I didn't care enough to find out what happened to them.  I feel like this is a book that sounds better than it actually reads.  I had to DNF it - my first in 2018! 

Now, I don't want to discourage anyone from reading it. After all, you may LOVE this book - it has received tons of rave reviews.  It just wasn't a book for me.  So, check out what the other bloggers on this tour have to say - they may just convince you to pick up a copy of The Women in the Castle.  
Here's the link to the TLC Book Tour schedule for: The Women in the Castle
Thank you to the publisher and TLC Book Tours for providing me with a copy of this book!


Terra said...

I've heard of this books and I do like historical fiction; thanks for your honest opinion of it.

Lark said...

Oh, no...your first DNF! That's too bad. I have this book on one of my many lists because I really like that time period, too. If I do end up reading it, I'll let you know if I manage to make it all the way through to the end. ;D

A Bookish Way of Life said...

Terra, thanks. I had to be honest, I couldn't help it. I was looking forward to it, but it turned out to be a fail for me. Oh well.

Lark, I know, right!? Such a disappointment. I like that time period, too. Oh well. Maybe you'll like it, seems like a lot of people do. I wonder if it was just my mood that clouded it for me. Let me know what you think of it :)

Heather J @ TLC Book Tours said...

Thanks for your honest review for the tour.