2017 Reviews · Book Broadcast · Germany · historical fiction · war · World War II

Book Broadcast: The Women of the Castle by Jessica Shattuck


Book Broadcast is a post I have created to help ease the load of the books I have for review. It is a great way to spread the word, providing recognition to an author or publisher for sending me a book to review. As my reviewing and blogging duties have stepped up a notch in the last year, I don’t often have the time to complete an in depth review. I hope you can discover some new titles to read through this regular book post.

Three German women are haunted by the past and their secrets, in the devastatingwomen of the castle small aftermath of WWII. A mesmerising story of resistance, forgiveness and the complexity of the human heart.

A resistance widow. A silent co-conspirator. The only one who survived.

Bavaria, Germany. June, 1945. The Third Reich has crumbled. The Russians are coming.

Can Marianne von Lingenfels and the women in her care survive and build their ravaged world anew?

Marianne – widow of a resistor to the Nazi regime – returns to the grand, crumbling castle where she once played host to all of German high society. She assembles a makeshift family from the ruins of her husband’s movement, rescuing her dearest friend’s widow, Benita, from sexual slavery to the Russian army, and Ania from a work camp for political prisoners. She is certain their shared past will bind them together.

But as Benita begins a clandestine relationship and Ania struggles to conceal her role in the Nazi regime, Marianne learns that her clear-cut, highly principled world view has no place in these new, frightening and emotionally-charged days.

All three women must grapple with the realities they now face, and the consequences of decisions each made in the darkest of times…

Deeply moving and compelling, The Women of the Castle is a heart-wrenching and hopeful novel of secrets and survival, a reckoning, and the astonishing power of forgiveness.

So many novels continue to rise out of the ashes of World War II and I am thankful for this as I never seen to quell my hunger for more tales based on this pivotal event in world history. Jessica Shattuck is a new novelist to my reading list. Shattuck presents The Women of the Castle, a haunting story of three women’s experiences in the aftermath of the war, shedding light on those families left behind during this horrific period in our history books. Initially, the setting of this novel, the Bavarian based castle, immediately compelled me to purchase this novel. Having visited Bavaria as a young girl, the opportunity to read a book set in an area of Germany I have had first hand experience in visiting, worked as an incentive to read The Women in the Castle. Shattuck does a very fine job of bringing this crumbling Bavarian castle to life, outlining its past, present and future, as well as its healing properties all within the novel. However, the structure Shattuck follows is quite expansive. A time period of around 50 years is covered in the novel, which can be a little overwhelming, as time seemed to simply come and go in the novel. The reader feels charged with the task of filling these details in.  However,  Shattuck is sincere and insightful in her approach to revealing the catastrophe that fell upon Germany, its citizens, their attempts to regroup after the war and the survivors of war. In zoning in on the experiences of three different women, she exposes the varying family stories, personal struggles, betrayals committed and the desperation that came after the war. She also shows us a how tragedy can help bind strangers together and help them to heal. The Women of the Castle is a book that I encourage those who have a vested interest in the effects of WWII, particularly the experience of German citizens, to embrace.

The Women of the Castle by Jessica Shattuck was published in June 2017 by Allen & Unwin. Details on how to purchase the book can be found here.


2 thoughts on “Book Broadcast: The Women of the Castle by Jessica Shattuck

  1. If my dad had of read these types of stories I think his crying would never have ceased. I’m definitely sure after going through what he did as a boy he wouldn’t want to be reminded of a past that was horrifying. Sometimes I think there are too many war stories written and from authors that have never experienced such horrors. Hmm, only my opinion, I know how much you love these stories, Amanda. They’re just so so sad, aren’t they?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh dear, yes I expect that may the reaction your dad would have had to these stories. Yes I agree somewhat… but we need these authors to continue to bring the horrors of the war to our attention especially young generations.


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