The Women in the Castle
(OverDrive MP3 Audiobook, OverDrive Listen)

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HarperAudio 2017
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Description

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.

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Format:
OverDrive MP3 Audiobook, OverDrive Listen
Edition:
Unabridged
Street Date:
03/28/2017
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780062657381
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42
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Date Added:
Jun 12, 2018 18:20:36
Date Updated:
Jun 12, 2018 18:20:36
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Sep 21, 2019 14:01:47
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OverDrive Product Record

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        Jessica Shattuck is the New York Times bestselling author of The Women in the Castle, The Hazards of Good Breeding, a New York Times Notable Book and finalist for the PEN/Winship Award, and Perfect Life. Her writing has appeared in the New York Times, The New Yorker, Glamour, Mother Jones, and Wired, among other publications.

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edition
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shortDescription

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,...

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title
The Women in the Castle
fullDescription

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.

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Women in the Castle
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reviews
      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        February 27, 2017
        Shattuck (The Hazards of Good Breeding) explores the lives of three widows at the tail end of World War II in this redemptive tale. Marianne von Lingenfels, whose husband was one of many resisters murdered in a failed attempt to assassinate Hitler, returns to the beautiful but dilapidated Bavarian castle, Burg Lingenfels, as the war comes to an end. At the outset of the war she had promised her friend, another resister, that she would watch over his wife Benita and their child if anything happened to him. Seeking safety in numbers after the death of husbands, Marianne invites Benita to live with her—as well as another widow, Ania, and her two sons. As new chapters in their lives are written, the women come to rely on each other as a makeshift family—much as the entire country, reeling after the horrors of the war, must imagine a new future and forge a new identity. Shattuck’s latest has an intricately woven narrative with frequent plot twists that will shock and please. The quotidian focus of the story, falling on the period just after the war, provides a unique glimpse into what the average German was and was not aware of during World War II’s darkest months. Shattuck’s own German heritage and knack for historical details adds to the realism of the tale. A beautiful story of survival, love, and forgiveness. Agent: Eric Simonoff, WME Entertainment.

      • premium: True
      • source: AudioFile Magazine
      • content: Cassandra Campbell narrates the story of three German women whose lives have seemingly been destroyed by the Third Reich. Campbell depicts the protagonists' teen years in prewar Germany in a soft and lilting tone that evokes the joys of innocence and first romance. But as war seizes the nation, Campbell begins using a cold, didactic tone. At war's end, each woman is emotionally scarred, but Campbell's tone of bitter guilt gradually turns to one of self-reflection and forgiveness. Shattuck has written a beautiful, thought-provoking story, and Campbell's masterful reading strikes just the right chord in portraying each character's pain and joy. E.B. � AudioFile 2017, Portland, Maine
      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        December 1, 2016
        Drawing on her research regarding the widows of German resisters during World War II, plus the experiences of her grandparents, Shattuck explores the lives of ordinary Germans after World War II. Marianne von Lingenfels keeps a promise to her husband, who was among those plotting to assassinate Hitler in July 1944, by sheltering the widows and children of his fellow conspirators at her near-ruined Bavarian castle. But their suffering during the war does not necessarily hold them together, and each woman made painful choices that still resonate. With a 150,000-copy first printing.

        Copyright 2016 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        January 1, 2017

        Inspired by the Shattuck's (The Hazards of Good Breeding) own grandparents' experience during World War II, this novel follows three German women before, during, and after Hitler's rule. Marianne is the widow of a Resistance leader whose failed attempt to kill the Fuhrer leads her, as an act of personal atonement, to shelter the wives and children of his fellow conspirators within the walls of her family's Bavarian castle. Benita, one of those widows, reluctantly joins this refuge, silently suffering from her war experience until a new love interest ignites tension between her and Marianne. Their rift is amplified by the presence of Ania, the third widow in the castle, whose secrets unravel as she tries to remarry and protect her children. The story line continues through multiple decades, until a reunion forces the three women to reconcile their past behavior toward one another. There are too many ideas in this novel; as each emotional arc builds, the narrative abruptly switches to another character's voice, confusing the reader. Ania's story is most compelling, given her hidden identity, but readers will have to triangulate numerous characters and narrative devices before reaching her reckoning. VERDICT Fans of World War II fiction may want to consider. [See Prepub Alert, 10/31/16; library marketing.]--Tina Panik, Avon Free P.L., CT

        Copyright 2017 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        December 1, 2016

        Drawing on her research regarding the widows of German resisters during World War II, plus the experiences of her grandparents, Shattuck explores the lives of ordinary Germans after World War II. Marianne von Lingenfels keeps a promise to her husband, who was among those plotting to assassinate Hitler in July 1944, by sheltering the widows and children of his fellow conspirators at her near-ruined Bavarian castle. But their suffering during the war does not necessarily hold them together, and each woman made painful choices that still resonate. With a 150,000-copy first printing.

        Copyright 2016 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

      • premium: True
      • source: Kirkus
      • content:

        January 15, 2017
        Three German "widow[s] of the resistance," who spend time together at a run-down castle when World War II ends, embody aspects of the catastrophe that overcame their country.Germany, 1945: in this devastated landscape where "no one was innocent," there is misery for all and plenty to spare. Guilt, shame, suffering, and silence go hand in hand as the German people emerge from war and fascism, and Europe is awash with displaced persons. Shattuck's (Perfect Life, 2009, etc.) third novel centers on the von Lingenfels castle, a place of aristocratic indulgence in prewar years, now a ruined shell owned by Marianne von Lingenfels, the widow of Albrecht, one of a group of men who failed in an attempt to assassinate Hitler and were hanged. It's this group which links Marianne to the two other women and their children, whom she invites to the castle for shelter: Benita Fledermann, widow of the charismatic Constantine, who survived the Russian occupation of Berlin but paid a heavy price; and Ania Grabarek, who walked west, out of the wreckage of Poland, with her two sons and is also keeping secrets about what she has seen and done. In this primer about how evil invades then corrupts normal existence, Shattuck delivers simple, stark lessons on personal responsibility and morality. Inevitably, it makes for a dark tale, more a chronology of three overlapping, contaminated, emblematic lives than a plot. Some final uplift does arrive, however, via the views of the next generation, which apply a useful layer of distance and some hope on the sins of the fathers--and mothers. Neither romantic nor heroic, Shattuck's new novel seems atypical of current World War II fiction but makes sincere, evocative use of family history to explore complicity and the long arc of individual responses to a mass crime.

        COPYRIGHT(2017) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

popularity
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publisher
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