The Women In the Castle
Author: Jessica Shattuck
Publisher: William-Morrow, 2017
Genre: Historical Fiction
Hardcover Edition: 353 pages
Source: Library copy
This novel brings us a story of three women and their children during and after the war and is important for a number of reasons. Let’s highlight two. First it is a wonderful and compelling story. Second it brings the reader new perspectives: Germans from different experiential and cultural backgrounds and their lives during the years from 1938-1991.
For the first time, after many historical tales of World War II, this reader was in Germany with Germans during and after the war. What happened to these women? What did they do? What did they see? Who did they love? The story is mesmerizing. One is swept into their lives and the multiple viewpoints bring the story to life with a truth and understanding not often experienced in the plethora of World War II novels published over the last years. The pain, suffering, courage and difficult decisions are so very real. And then there is the romance of the castle!
Also fulfilling for the reader, is how this writer has taken her characters into the future. All is not gloom and doom. The relationships of all the characters are written with clarity, kindness and understanding, no matter the horror they stood next to, nor the acts they committed. In this story courage is not one-dimensional.
The writing is magnificent. This reader cannot praise the book highly enough. It is perhaps the best novel I have read thus far in 2017.