Review: Women in the Castle by Jessica Shattuck

This book set at the end of WWII and tells the stories of three women and their struggles to get back to normal lives. All of them carry a heavy baggage and go through different emotions; try to take responsibility and forgive, to move on and forget. They have different regrets and learned different lessons over the years of the war.

Marianne is a widow of a man who tried to assassinate Hitler. Her mission was to take care of the wives of other resists if their mission failed. She dedicated herself the promise she made but feels more and more disappointed in herself.

Benita disappointed of her marriage and her husband who put her in danger and kept her in the darkness not telling the truth about what he was doing. She feels lonely, lost and struggles to find her purpose in the new reality. Will be able to give herself a chance for a new beginning, leaving her past behind.

Ania is looks and acts as if nothing happened but no one knows her true story. And when a ghost from her past appears in her life, she’s reminded she’s not yet free.

The journey to rebuilding lives and finding the strength to move forward seems as difficult as surviving the war. The time after war really shows peoples colors; the collaborators, the resists, the traitors, the victims and how they take responsibility and answer for their actions.

Be prepared this novel is not overly romantic but rather very realistic. It really got me thinking about lots of things. Moreover, I really liked the author’s afterword and grateful to Jessica Shattuck for sharing the story of her family that inspired her to write this novel. It always feels more special when there is a personal story behind the book.

Now to the issues, I have with this novel;

Although I liked the idea behind the novel and the writing was good, I was quite slow. At times, I was very into it, and sometimes barely could continue reading. Eventually, I’ve lost my interest and struggled to get to the end.

Marianne. I’m sorry but she really annoyed me. I just cannot stand people who are so judgmental, cruel and intervene in other people’s lives! There were moments when I adored her but most of the time I hated her.


Rating: 3/5



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