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The Women in the Castle {free Summary} AUTHOR Jessica Shattuck

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Rotect their wives her fellow resistance widowsFirst 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 uickly discovers that the black and white highly principled world of her privileged. For all the horror of the official reports she and Albrecht had seen with their language of extermination and elimination they could not come close to conjuring this How could they There was no point of reference Later such footage would come to be so familiar it became unseen a kind of placeholder for human evil The first black and white glimpse of barbed wire dirt and nakedness cautioned viewers look away But in this moment in the first unveiling it was nothing she or anyone else had ever seen And it was impossible to look away She looked and trembled in her seatI ve always heard it discussed on just how could the German people all condone what was going on in their country under Hitler s reign This book takes you there And sadly I m probably not going to be able to convey how powerful the book isIt starts in a Bavarian castle at a party Marianne and her husband Albrecht are hosting news comes to them of destruction taking place that will later be known as Kristallnacht Marianne is not a woman that lets things go on around her without knowing what is going on so she enters a room where her husband her best friend Connie and others are talking about how scared they are of what is becoming of their country They don t agree with Hitler s politics Connie who Marianne is secretly in love with introduces later his new fiance A poor girl named Benita He makes Marianne promise to him to always look after his wife and son should something happen to himThings do happen Connie and Albrecht join in on a plot to assassinate Hitler and it fails They are put to death and Benita is thrown into prison even though she was totally clueless Marianne fights to find their child and get Benita back so that she can fulfill her promise They make their way across a war torn Germany back to the castle which is now crumbling Along the way they pick up Ania and her two sons There is a whole lot of secrets bound by these women in that castle They know that the world around them is deeply changed forever but so have theyThis book isn t a pretty picture of anything It tells how each of these women faced what they were challenged with wide open eyes She felt the pulse of the lives lived inside the mean little houses she passed selfish or generous kind or unkind ugly or tolerable almost all of them sad And she saw the histories of the people passing by like x rays stamped on their faces ugly mutinous tracings of dark and light a woman who ratted out a neighbor a man who had shot children a soldier who had held his dying friend in his arms Yet here they were carrying groceries holding children s hands turning their collars up against the wind As if their moments of truth the decisions by which they would be judged and would judge themselves hadn t already come and passed What a sham this new German present was An irrelevant time a mad scramble to cast votes after the verdict had already been reachedSome of this sounds so familiar to me They say history repeats itself I hope this time in history stays never repeated forever Not forgotten though educate yourself Step back from your hate even though you don t see it as hate and educate yourselves You would hope that with all the ways to learn that are available today that people wouldButOn the news and my stupid Facebook feed though you would wonder I see hate from BOTH sides No one will admit that they have the wrong viewpoint They become keyboard commandos for their cause and never see that they might just be preaching some of that hate that they so strongly oppose What they are saying is right and nothing else will do Booksource I received a copy of this book from the publisher and then promptly lost it I m glad I found it again

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The Women in the Castle

Past has become infinitely 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 uniue 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 hardshi. NOW AVAILABLE The Women in the Castle begins with the Prologue at Burg Lingenfels site of a Bavarian Castle The year is 1938 setting a picture of the pre war days the Countess s famous harvest party is being assembled organized and hosting this party is Marianne von Lingelfels niece in law of the Countess accompanied by her husband Albrecht her once upon a time professor Hosting the party was like setting up a civilization on the moon But this was part of what kept people coming back despite yearly disasters minor fires and collapsed outhouses fancy touring cars stuck in the mud mice in the overnight guest beds The party had become famous for its anarchic un German atmosphere It was known as an outpost of liberal bohemian culture in the heart of the proper aristocracyAmong the guests are Connie Flederman and his betrothed Benita Gruber Connie has been Marianne s lifelong friend dear to her heart and she is just beginning to take in the reality of Benita when Connie extracts a promise from her to take care of Benita should plans go awry She gives her word In 1945 Marianne returns to Burg Lingenfels with Benita after Marianne has finally found and rescued her The castle is worse for the seven years that have passed since the night of the harvest party Her son Martin has been with Marianne ever since Marianne was able to locate him and bring him home Since that night of the party when Connie declared her commander of wives and children she has taken this role very seriously but her first duty was her promise to Connie to watch over Benita and Martin Still she drew up a list of names names taken from Albrect s journal checking everywhere she could to see if anyone on the list appeared giving names to Herr Peterman so she could be notified when they found anyone And so this is how Ania and her two sons come to join their mismatched family The wife of one of the men who attended the party Pietre Grabarek The one who brought the news of Kristallnacht that evening Their new lives are very different from their old ones much has changed aside from the destruction of the war They ve changed Endured much knowing those who endured worse Lost loved ones lost homes rebuilding lives Surrounded by a new morality the blaming the guilt Hanging onto or trying to hang onto what little is left of hope and belief in goodness and kindness It is heartbreaking but there is love and maybe even a flicker of faith Three women bonded by the place and time by their husbands friendships and eventually through their friendships with each other Friendships that are tested time and again and yet remain No one else could understand what they re endured who they ve become no one else knows their storiesJessica Shattuck s story is a gem a uniue perspective on a story which most of us feel we know fairly well There are so many variations on the theme of the Holocaust but this explores it from a perspective I ve not encountered before All through this narrative Shattuck manages to move effortlessly back and forth through time filling in details from an earlier time as they become relevant to the unfolding of this heartbreaking and heartwarming story Highly recommendedPub Date 28 Mar 2017Many thanks for the ARC provided by William Morrow

Jessica Shattuck à 5 Summary

Three women haunted by the past and the secrets they holdSet 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 p. Suddenly she saw everything in its harsh naked state She felt the pulse of the lives lived inside the mean little house she passed selfish or generous kind or unkind ugly or tolerable almost all of them sad And she saw the histories of the people passing by like x rays stamped on their faces ugly mutinous tracings of dark and light a woman who had ratted out a neighbor a man who had shot children a soldier who had held his dying friend in his arms Yet here they were carrying groceries holding children s hands tuning their collars up against the wind As if their moments of truth the decisions by which they would be judged and would judge themselves hadn t already come and passed What a sham this new German present was An irrelevant time a mad scramble to cast votes after the verdict had already been reached What did you know and when did you know it And just as importantly what did you do once you knew We have seen umpteen films about World War II read a gazillion books But for most of us certainly in the English speaking world what we have seen and read is almost always from the perspective of the victor The Women in the Castle begins during the war but is mostly about the post war period for Germans particularly the three women of the title It is a new fascinating perspective that offers great insight into a subject that has received too little literary attention It is moving perceptive engaging and thought provoking Jessica Shattuck from her site Photo by Dorothea von HaeftenWe are introduced to two of the three central women in 1938 Burg Lingenfels is an old castle in poor repair The Bohemian countess whose digs it is hosts salons for a select set This group is none too happy with the turn being taken in the nation A handful decide to form a resistance One of the plotters is Connie Flederman a charming gentleman officer in the Abwehr and bff of Marianne von Lingelfels niece in law of the countess and actual hostess of the party She and Connie had been best buds since childhood and she had expected that they would be together forever so it had come as a huge shock when he married some sweet young fraulein Benita Gruber Marianne married her college professor Albrecht one of the plotters Marianne s promise to the men that the women will support them drives her to help those women later The activities of the resisters are not covered in detail but function to bring the women together Marianne is central the organizer Named by the conspirators commander of wives and children to see to the care of the widows and children of the resistors should the worst happen and charged in particular by Connie to take care of Benita and their son Martin Marianne takes her pledge very very seriously The women are gathered at the castle of the book s title She uses her connections to track down Benita and Martin after the war An American occupation officer finds the third woman Ania Grabanek from a list of women Marianne had given him Ania had not known Marianne prior to the American finding her but she and her children are brought in nonetheless From the 1948 Roberto Rossellini film Germany Year Zero from IndiewirecomThrough the interweaving of the women s stories we get a look at post War Germany We even get a taste of post WW I Germany in the recollections of one of the women As widows of men who had opposed Hitler they are in a better position with the occupation forces than many but there is plenty of hardship to go around And as opponents of Hitler some paid a price before the war ended Aspects of war time are related in retrospect including things like having to be particularly tight lipped around anyone not known to be part of the resistance We see a perspective from people who were influenced by Nazi fantasies of a bright future but on seeing enough of what was really going on bailed In one chilling scene a woman picks up goods from a reassignment store slowly realizing whose goods had been reassigned Orphaned children were given new last names if their own names were deemed insufficiently Germanic A prolonged period of deprivation impacts children s developmentThere were plenty of challenges in the immediate post war period Women were imprisoned by some occupation forces as sexual slaves People newly released from German camps were wandering the areas nearby desperate for food and willing to do whatever was necessary to get some The locals were reuired to watch documentary films showing the horrors of the concentration camps The sorts who then refused to believe what was shown echoes alarmingly today as truth continues to make little impact on closed minds As with most wars the supply of men is much reduced making it a challenge for many women to find suitable mates And even among the survivors the scars of war can make emotional intimacy problematic There is also considerable guilt to deal with And how is one to cope with a de Nazification program that leaves so many known Nazis in positions of power And later coping with the challenges of a new world resenting those who have never suffered Unlike her half brothers Mary had grown up without typhoid and diphtheria and rape She had not been pressed into overcrowded trains and transport vehicles and fetid swarming waterless DP camps full of war hardened souls She had always had school and clothing and medicine and a roof over her head And most of all she had never had to lie There is considerable guilt to deal with And sometimes it might be better not to know All a uestion gets is an answer and in her experience you don t always want those As a gardener she knows that if you turn over a rock you will find some worms and potato bugs Sometimes even a snake And as a German she knows that if you start poking through a shoebox of photographs you ll find Nazi uniforms and swastikas and children with their arms raised in Heil Hitler salutes There are also uplifting moments of beauty and hope A struggling mother finding warmth and joy in camaraderie with others in the same boat A Christmas celebration in a town summons the realization that music is essential to the human soul Families reuniteAllied posters in 1945 Germany These atrocities Your fault promoted collective guiltThere is much story telling talent here with a minimum of flashiness Cows are parted from their calves A damaged crow stands in for a harsh disappointment There is some chronological back and forth as each of the women recall their past There is the occasional flash forward that lets us know where this one or that one winds up The action begins in 1938 with the plot stays mostly with the immediate post war period then jumps ahead to 1991 to finish I was not smitten with the jump to the near contemporary And was not persuaded that the care given to a particular grave over a long period of time would have taken place It is a delicate balancing act engaging us in the stories of the three women while also showing what Germany was like in the years after the war Although the women definitely gain our interest and sympathy I felt distant from them at times Maybe that is what the author intends They are flawed and very human They are damaged and some have inflicted damage as well The Women in the Castle is a remarkable portrait of a beaten nation coping with its defeat It offers insight into what the survivors of the war in Germany faced how they coped and sometimes failed While there are moments of horror here the book is one of very human beings attempting to move on with life even to build new lives with and despite one another during a very trying time Physical survival is paramount of course but they also struggle with trying to gain or sustain emotional and moral lives battles with huge stakes How the relationships of the three women form grow and change is both heart warming and heart breaking They function as much than stand ins for German guiltYou will not only find an emotional journey here but will see a piece of history from a different and illuminating perspective You will not need a Marshall Plan to help you through this The Women in the Castle is a very satisfying unusual and worthwhile read all on its ownReview posted 10282016Publication date 442017 Trade Paperback publication 122018EXTRA STUFFLinks to the author s personal and FB pagesMarch 24 2017 NY Times Shattuck writes of a painful part of her history I Loved My Grandmother But She Was a NaziOther books by Jessica Shattuck A Perfect Life 2010 The Hazards of Good Breeding 2004A nifty list of indie Post War films


10 thoughts on “The Women in the Castle

  1. says:

    Suddenly she saw everything in its harsh naked state She felt the pulse of the lives lived inside the mean little house she passed selfish or

  2. says:

    The storytelling grabs you IMMEDIATELY I LOVE ITThis tour de force of historical imagination is set primarily in G

  3. says:

    375 ish stars rounded up The Women in the Castle is a riveting novel that hits home with the notion that sometimes it’s our shared experiences—no matter how horrific—rather than our strongly held beliefs or common vie

  4. says:

    At the end of World War II Marianne von Lingenfels tracks down her childhood friend Connie Flederman's son Martin and his wife Benita Marianne had made Connie a promise to take care of his family if anything happened to him Her husband Albrecht and Connie as well as various others had been a part of a plot to try and assassinate Hitler that fell through leading to their execution Marianne feels responsible af

  5. says:

    For all the horror of the official reports she and Albrecht had seen with their language of extermination and elimination they could not come close to conjuring this How could they? There was no point of referen

  6. says:

    I started reading this a couple of days after Holocaust Remembrance Day and on that day I thought about how it should be remembered than on just one day each year This is why I really believe that reading books about WWII and the Holocaust is so important This book certainly made me remember the horrors of what happened during WWII but this was from a perspective that we are not used to reading from The war and

  7. says:

    Captivated initially by the premise and cover but disappointed in the historical detail delivered This book just wasn't what I was hoping for

  8. says:

    I found this to be a dramatic and an uniuely told story that gave me a new understanding and a different perspective on this time period of World War II that I have never experienced before while reading a Historical Fiction novelTHE WOMEN IN THE CASTLE by JESSICA SHATTUCK is an intriguing powerful difficult and

  9. says:

    NOW AVAILABLE The Women in the Castle begins with the Prologue at Burg Lingenfels site of a Bavarian Castle The year is 1938 setting a pictur

  10. says:

    Three women Marianne Benita and Ania from different walks of life but all have one thing in common They have survived the holocaust the plot to kill Hitler which took two of their husbands and for Ania the evil in which she found herself involved It is the immediate aftermath in Bavaria of this terrible and horrific time a promise made by Ma